For athletes, video gamers, and students in Greek Life alike, the general assumptions that surround certain campus activities can be barriers to meaningful connections. The Combatting Stereotypes campaign, a student-led movement on campus, strives to break these down and promote purposeful discussion among students.
“We want to challenge people to think outside of their general assumptions to the point where they could say ‘Oh I could see you doing all of these amazing things’ regardless of how someone may look,” suggested David Gabrielson, an organizer for the upcoming Combatting Stereotypes event.
The event is scheduled to happen next semester on Jan. 27, 2016 at the Periodic Table. The idea came as a response to a February 2015 documentary released about two former University of North Carolina students.
“The documentary that is going to be shown on campus, The Hunting Ground, is about sexual assault and rape on campus,” explained Gabrielson. “The film goes into depth targeting the administration, Greek Life, as well as athletics.”
However, this film covered some deeper ideas about stereotypes and perceptions that caught the attention of Mines students.
“Our response to that [the documentary] was let’s do something to show that our population is nothing like this,” asserted Gabrielson. “It’s only a minority of the students that commits these crimes.”
“From there, we really wanted to get everyone’s involvement to go after the stereotypes here at Mines,” said Gabrielson. The event is being hosted by Greek life.
“Last semester the main focus has been on more internal issues within Greek Life while this semester has been more focused on looking outward and planning this event,” Gabrielson explained.
“Combating Stereotypes is going to be an all day event where students can come and hang out to talk,” he illustrated.
“We are going to have a photo booth set up where students can come have their photo taken. The photos, which will have students write a stereotype they are associated with written on one hand, and on the other hand, we will have them write how they oppose the stereotype.”
The photos will then be compiled into a large collage designed to encourage other students to think about stereotypes.
“I think [stereotyping] is a national thing that’s part of our culture to kind of jump to conclusions about other people based on their appearance or their affiliation,” Gabrielson suggested. “If we can challenge people to think about these assumptions then that’s a good thing.”