Illinois State University Is hoping to create a more inclusive campus through a new program Tunnel of Oppression.
Sophomore Bethany Gildemesteir didn’t expect to find herself learning about social issues on Tuesday, but a new program at ISU is trying to do just that.
“I definitely felt kind of their pain and their feelings when they talked and through the posters,” she said. “Some of those you never really encounter or ever realize you’re encountering.”
The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive theater program that addresses issues like racism, classism, and transphobia. Students watch videos and look at posters from the perspective of minority groups.
“That’s the whole point, is that once you go through this, you kind of reality check yourself,” explained organizer Jade Triplett. Triplett is the Graduate Assistant for Educational Programing, with ISU’s Diversity Advocacy Office.
The idea came after a campus survey showed that many students feel like, although ISU is diverse, it’s not always inclusive for other identities.
“Diversity is one of ISU’s core values,” said Triplett “It’s not only important to advocate for yourself, but people who are not like you as well.”
Triplett is hoping students will take the message from the program and share it with others.
“Take it back to Chicago or St. Louis,” she said. “Now you can actually use what you learned and put it to work.”
The Tunnel of Oppression program also runs Thursday, starting at noon, at ISU’s Bowling and Billiards Center