Month: November 2018


Diversity Program of the Month
Boxes & Walls

School: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Region: GLACURH
Person in charge: Thomas Garcia Nominator: Alyssa Landenberger

Target Population: 500 Time Needed to Organize: 20 (planning) 4 (setup)
Number of People in Attendance: 120 Date(s) of Program: November 13 and 14th
Number of People Needed to Organize: 20 Cost of Program: $0 (this semester!)
On-Campus Population: 4200 Chapter Size: 42

Origin of Program:

Boxes and Walls, put on by the Social Justice Committee, was designed to allow students to engage with underrepresented identities that they may not have interacted with previously. It was located in the Green Room at Sandburg Residence Hall at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM). The event took place on two days, Tuesday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 14th from 6pm-8pm. The Social Justice Committee put on Boxes and Walls during the Spring 2018 semester as well as this semester! This event has taken place in even prior semester than Spring 2018 but the structure and capacity of the event has only grown each time it is put on.

Word Count: 112

Please give a short description of the program:

Boxes and Walls had several different rooms, each being a different obstacle students are challenged with, especially on the UWM campus. The first room was about physical and mental disabilities. Participants were challenged to ride a wheelchair through rocks/gravel, write their name using the reflection of a mirror in awareness of dyslexia, maneuver their way onto a toilet from a wheelchair without any railing to hold, and lastly wear several pairs of goggles while writing and in awareness of eye diseases.

The second room was about socioeconomic status and was set up as a game called “Walk to Graduation”. Each member started in a square that was taped off on the floor along with a folder with some background information about their game identity. The moderator of the game listed a college expense and if you had enough money in your folder you could move forward one square, some cases you had to move backwards if you couldn’t afford the expense. The goal of the game was to get to the last square. This taught participants how students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds may finance their college careers.

The third room was about gender identity along with pronouns. Using a projector, an image of a male wearing feminist clothing was shown and participants answered poll questions on their phones. Questions included sex, gender, identity, pronouns, etc. Next a video was shown of a transgender individual riding the subway in New York and a female harassing the individual. Without saying a single word, the transgender individual was attacked and bystanders completely ignored the situation. This video was shown to show the participants that hate crimes are a real thing and can happen at any time and any place. When transitioning into the final room, there were statistics on the walls of how many transgender people have been killed in 2018.

The final room was centered towards Black Lives Matter. On the walls were images of black victims killed by law enforcement when completely innocent. For example, a man was shot and killed when followed by law enforcement after investigating a robbery and the victim’s iced tea can in his hand was mistaken for a weapon. At the end, a black student read a speech accompanied by music that was written about the importance of Black Lives, this allowed participants to connect on a personal level.

Word Count: 395

Goals of the program:

Six professional staff and student staff members at UWM make up the Social Justice Committee, Josh Greenwald (Assistant Residence Life Coordinator (ARLC)- South Tower), Tom Garcia (ARLC- North Tower), Kari Dawson (Assistant Director of University Housing), Markie Hopkins (Residence Life Coordinator- Riverview and Cambridge Commons), Rachael Amick (Area Coordinator for Academic and Community Engagement), Lizzie Allen (Student Housing Administrative Council - Engagement Coordinator) and Maggie Babcock (Senior Resident Assistant- Purin Hall). This committee started planning in August meeting 1 hour weekly, roughly 20 hours of planning, in addition to individual task times. The committee wanted to put emphasis on ways to better understand ways that underrepresented identities face marginalization and discrimination daily. This was the opportunity to show residents in participation that there are so many different things that happen on the UWM campus on a regular basis and we need to be available to understand and accept while trying to help.

Word Count: 153

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Boxes and Walls ended with a debriefing room where participants were able to talk about their experiences participating in the event as well as thoughts about the campus community. This last part was crucial for the residents who participated because it allowed them to voice their opinions and open up about their lives and/or experiences. Many residence were unfamiliar with some of the challenges that individuals face on our campus. This event allowed the participants the opportunity to look through the lenses of an individual that faces marginalization, discrimination, and disability on a daily basis. For the residents that were able to participate in this event, they were able to get a small glimpse of our campus from a very different perspective than maybe their own. Moving forward, the participants will better understand other individuals and their struggles and how we can try and help break some of the barriers that have been created.

Word Count: 155

Short evaluation of the program:

Overall, there were roughly 120 attendees that experienced several real-life situations that individuals everyday experience. Participants who completed a survey about how familiar they were with the identities, how comfortable they felt going through the rooms, and what they learned at the event, received a shirt that says “Boxes and Walls, Change Begins with Me”. This event was successful because it provided several different learning opportunities for residents and an overall eye-opening experience. Most of these issues that were addressed are not on our minds on a daily basis if we personally are not the ones experiencing the challenge. Each group of residents that entered the event had different backgrounds and it made each tour through each simulation unique. The world continues to change faster than we know it and it is important that we embrace it and are ready to accept those changes!

Word Count: 144

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Boxes and Walls can very easily be adapted for any other campus! The Social Justice Committee worked closely with the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) here at UWM in preparation for this event last year. It would be great for other campuses to learn some of challenges that students face on their college campus. In addition, the other component that should be adapted by others is the “Walk to Graduation” portion. The information (incomes, graduation rates, socioeconomic status, etc.) should be gathered from the area of the campus. This even is all about giving residents a new pair of lenses to look through for the duration of the event. If you can make the event as specific to your own communities, the more impact there will be on the residents that participate.

Word Count: 132

Date of entry into database: 2018-11-26 18:40:18

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