The Tunnel, an interactive event designed to address topics of oppression among college students, will return to Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) on Friday, Mar. 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The event encourages students “to think about the topics in a different way and allows them to view these issues from a different point of view.” The topics covered by The Tunnel include sexuality, depression, self-harm, body image, and bullying. There will also be a panel of faculty members discussing the topics of classism, racism, and sexual harassment.
The Tunnel is organized by two senior communications students at MSMC, Colleen Jones and Russell Pagano. Jones and Pagano are also resident assistants (RA) at MSMC.
The Tunnel was brought to MSMC by former resident director Paul Habernig and was very aggressive to show participants what it was like to be oppressed and discriminated against. This year, however, The Tunnel will feature personal stories from students at MSMC. These students will speak about their experiences in order to illustrate to the college community what students deal with on a daily basis.
“As an RA on campus, I see a lot of issues pertaining to what The Tunnel covers,” said Pagano. “I feel that exposing our students to these issues will hopefully have a positive impact on them whether they are directly involved or are just a bystander.”
In previous years, The Tunnel was known as “The Tunnel of Intolerance” and “The Tunnel of Oppression.” This year, however, Jones and Pagano chose to change the name yet again.
“Since The Tunnel has been done the past two years Colleen and I felt that changing the event will give anyone who has attended before a new experience,” said Pagano. “With changing the event completely, we felt a new title was deserved. We feel ‘The Tunnel’ adds a little mystery to those who may not know what it is and, hopefully, [provokes] them to explore.”
The Tunnel started as a grassroots diversity program at Western Illinois University to give students a sense of awareness about what happens on college campuses. Jones and Pagano believe “being placed in a situation that one may never have experienced before allows one to obtain a sense of how it feels to be oppressed or discriminated against.”
“We really hope that students are able to take away something positive from The Tunnel and think about their daily actions and how [they] may affect others around them,” said Jones.
Tunnel participants will be given tours on a first come first serve basis. Tours will go through as groups of five to 10 people. If a group would like to reserve a time slot, they may do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reserved tours will receive precedence.