Stepping outside the box: exhibit explores new views



By Fink Densford

Campus groups are giving UK students an opportunity to experience what it is like to stand in someone else’s shoes.

As the multicultural affairs programming director for the Student Activity Board, Jasmine Whitlow has put together Boxes and Walls, an interactive diversity museum for UK students.

The Boxes and Walls project will give UK students a chance to experience life from a different perspective for fifteen minutes at a time, Whitlow said.

“Diversity is a big thing here at UK,” Whitlow said.  “Boxes and Walls is the perfect project to let the campus know how students feel, a perspective that many think they know but don’t.”

Whitlow wanted the project to happen for a few years but hadn’t found the funding or support in the past.

“The support was there this year,” Whitlow said.  “Organizations came to me saying they wanted to be a part of it — ‘If you plan it, we’ll fund it.’ ”

The museum is broken up into five different rooms, each representing different cultural experiences and organized by a different organization on campus.

The rooms’ themes represent the African-American experience, Latinos, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and social change and activism.

“Each room will be full of information that gives people a different perspective on diversity issues and equality,” she said.

The last room will be a unity room, where members of each organization come together to express their feelings about the project and changes they would like to see.

The project was important because it gives students a chance to express how they feel about diversity on campus, Whitlow said.

“It gives students a chance to say ‘this is how I feel,’ with no strings attached,” she said.  “It’s the perfect opportunity for students to step up and say ‘I’m passionate about this.’ ”

Working with the project has been bittersweet, she said.

“Diversity is such a big issue,” Whitlow said.  “It’s so big you can’t tackle it all at once.  There’s so much stuff that needs to be done. We have to take baby steps to try and change the campus.”

The Boxes and Walls exhibit is being sponsored by the CATalyst Coalition, the Student Activities Board and Student Government. Other organizations involved are the Black Student Union, Latin American Student Organization, Delta Phi Mu, Gay Straight Alliance, OUTSource, Feminist Alliance and the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center.

Boxes and Walls will take place March 26-27 and April 23-24 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Center for Student Involvement in the basement of Student Center. It is free and open to the public