May 21, 2018 | ° F

EDITORIAL: UNherD gives recognition to U. women

Exhibit showcased 24 female activist students, inspires others


Students at the University are constantly learning new things in their classes. That is why a majority of students attend college — to get an education. But more important than learning facts, figures and theories is learning how to apply them to enchance one's  life, and especially the lives of those around them. This is exactly what 24 women that were featured in “UNherD” are receiving recognition for.

"UNherD" is a project created and released by Rutgers students that consists of 24 portrait photographs of female students at the University that are involved in social activism. This display, set up by students Monica Torres, Jeremy Berkowitz and Isabella Sehringer, also included poems written by each woman featured in the photographs. The poems were used as ways of introducing the identities of the women, and how their activism has helped others. The exhibit screened a 12-minute video as well.

The project began as a way of its creators recognizing the political events of last year and paying homage to the women who took the lead in efforts to combat some of the negative occurrences around the nation and the world.

But the project also worked to shine a light on aspects of the University apart from the women who worked hard to become activists on its campus. 

"UNherD" was created to provide reflection on the role that Rutgers has played in social oppression. This history of oppression includes research conducted by the University itself that revealed that Rutgers has historical ties to slavery. In fact, the research revealed the story of a slave who assisted in building the University’s Old Queens administration building. Historical information such as this was presented in order to show how far we have come as a University, and yet how much farther we have yet to go as a University, city and even nation. And the women whose photographs are showcased are some of the many that can work to achieve this progress. There was also a 25th canvas that was blank and was used to represent the young women who come to the exhibit and can picture their own portrait on the blank canvas.

Although the women who are featured in "UNherD" do not do the activism work that they do for recognition, that does not mean that they should not be given it. Showcasing members of the Rutgers community who are making honest efforts to make a difference in the community is great for the University and community

By highlighting women of different identities and backgrounds, "UNherD" is essentially giving voices to those, as the name suggest, that often go unheard. And by doing this, Rutgers and "UNherdD" are paving the way for future women to get involved in the world of social activism. Women of Rutgers will be inspired to see themselves in that blank canvas.

What "UNherD" and Rutgers should do now, is to take the art that these inspiring women have done and show other students how they can get involved as well. Showcasing acts of social activism is great, but providing opportunities for more students to become involved in these acts of social activism is even greater. Rutgers students are headed in the right direction with this initiative. Now all we have to do is come together as a University and a community to spread awareness of social issues and how we can help. And hopefully, after this, many more portraits will join the 24 in the exhibit. 

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