Behind-the-Scenes, Tunnel of Oppression

Published on January 23rd, 2017

The annual Tunnel of Oppression has returned to campus; it tackles social issues in a multi-sensory way in order to adhere to different students and cater to their learning styles. The one hour experience is composed of a tour through eight rooms each of which tackles a different issue with different sights, sounds, smells and items to touch to make the Tunnel as interactive as possible.

This year, Tunnel will take place from Jan. 23-25 from 4-10 p.m., daily. The room topics include the environment, poverty, human trafficking, women’s issues, LGBTQ, racism, religion and mental health. This year’s theme is “Did You Hear?” which encompasses the commentary heard on campus that can spread like wildfire.

According to Tunnel of Oppression co-chair, Ja’Shondra Pouncy, the goal of the event is to change the way others rationalize a certain issue or group of people. As a result, Tunnel will impact different people in different ways “since we’re all different,” said Pouncy.

Each room in Tunnel is sponsored by different student organizations, creating a unique presentation every year. For example, SpectrUM is sponsoring the LGBTQ room, Planet Kreyol is in charge of the Environment room and the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO) put together the Racism room.

In Pouncy’s fifth year of being a part of Tunnel, she says the planning begins in September and comes together in just three days. Although the event is nation-wide, Pouncy credits the University of Miami for being different from other schools.

“Other schools will have an open room and show all the issues on the four walls, others are more theatrical and they’ll act out the issues,” she said. “Others only focus on three to four issues but because of how diverse UM is, we cover eight.”

Students who have never experienced Tunnel of Oppression will be given a disclaimer before going through it because some of the social issues are very personal and might be overwhelming for some students. For those who have been through Tunnel before, Pouncy says to return because even if someone is an expert on a certain issue, “there’s always work to be done to educate yourself.”

Alina Zerpa is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, a major Oreo enthusiast and spends way too much time on Tumblr. 

words. alina zerpa.

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