Division of Student Affairs
Residence Life Hosts Tunnel of Oppression
On November 14th and 15th, the Office of Residence Life successfully presented the Tunnel of Oppression. This self-guided interactive event was open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public, and nearly 200 people attended over both days. With the tag line “come learn (and UNlearn) with us”, the Tunnel provided its visitors with both active and passive opportunities to explore issues of difference diversity, power, privilege, and social justice around the following topics: LGBTQ Issues, White Privilege, Size/Body Image, Gender and Media, [dis]Ability, Invisible Identities, and Othering. The Tunnel experience started with a matching game to introduce participants to terminology and ended with the proverbial “Light at the End of the Tunnel”, including exploration of the Bystander Effect, inspirational quotes, on-campus resources, and an area of debrief.
New additions to the tunnel this year included a blog site that remains live for students and staff to discuss issues of diversity, power, privilege, and social justice, a verbal debriefing session with staff from Residence Life, OMA, and the Counseling Center facilitating, and participation on the planning committee from both Residence Life and Fraternity & Sorority Life staff.
Nationally, the Tunnel of Oppression started in the early 1990s as a grassroots diversity program at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. Rooted in concepts from the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the program was designed to expose students to the realities of oppression with a full sensory experience. Prior to November, the Tunnel of Oppression was last staged at BGSU in the Spring of 2011.
At BGSU, our goal is to encourage our students to think critically about issues of diversity, power, privilege, and social justice. We want our students to look at the world through others’ lenses, attempt to understand their perspectives, and help us in building “an inclusive, safe, and respectful community” for all members of the BGSU Community. By encouraging “an awareness of diverse thoughts, ideas, and experiences on our campus in which our community members are empowered to use their voices and be heard,” we are better preparing our students for their roles in their future communities for generations to come.