The journey that led to the exhibit: Past, Present, and Future of Activism in Higher Education

Written by Amanda Martinez, ESLLC 2017-2018

Our project was assigned

Our exhibit is finally coming together! The project was introduced to us shortly after the start of Winter Quarter that we had been given the task to construct some sort of exhibit that tackled the past, present, and future of higher education while displaying its connections to the goals of both the Center for Sustainability and the Anderson Academic Commons. I won’t lie, it was daunting at first. Most of us have a relatively full schedule outside of the living learning community (LLC) so when we were given the task of creating an exhibit that holds this much breadth we all kind of looked in disbelief.

Time to get to work

To start our creative venture, we brainstormed ideas and split into groups that held like-minded ideas. My group started out with the broad concept of popular culture. From there we ranged from ideas surrounding documentaries, political campaigns, children’s programs, and many others. Most of the ideas we came up with were worthy but it really came down to what was readily available in special collections and what would fit with the goals for the exhibit.

So, what did we decide?

Activism! One of the first class activities we did in the winter was a reading on activism and how it can range in appearance. Well, we took that idea and decided we wanted to literally show some of the ways students have reacted to movements in the past. As a way to concentrate this so that we wouldn’t be forced to figure out how to add more hours to the day (that’ll have to take the back-burner for now) we narrowed in on the Women’s Rights movement, Black American Rights journey, Native American Rights, and the Environmental movement and how they looked in the past and what they look like today.

Through conferences and countless team meetings we finally committed to an idea that will not only create something we’re all proud of but will also encourage a cross-discipline approach to sustainability (one of our personal goals).

You’re probably wondering: What’s it going to look like?

Our vision is to create an image based exhibit with little text to really show the intense impact unity can look like – especially with our age group. Our hope is that the images will really speak for themselves and invoke response within our audience. To the side of the images we will be providing a work table with sheets of paper and markers that will act as a starting place for conversation surrounding the topics addressed in our exhibit as well as providing a space where we can share our thoughts on topics we’re passionate about and want to see discussed on campus.

It comes together

We’re finalizing our exhibits and things are finally starting to come together! In the entire process we have added, adjusted, and evolved. Activism on and off-campus is ever changing. Our voices come in all different forms, but one thing remains – we can make a difference and that’s amazing. If we’ve discovered anything from this project, it’s that college students are a force to be reckoned with. Yes, there’s still some traces of immaturity and sometimes we spend way too much money on a concert ticket when we should really be filling up that tank of gas that’s been keeping the E company; however, with all of that and more we still manage to find time and energy to go out and fight for what we believe is right. There is a fiery passion inside of us that no other age group can replicate. We are the ones that challenge norms, the ones that start conversations, the ones that go out and make change.

Can you think of anything more deserving of an exhibit?












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