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A walk through the Tunnel of Oppression

Depression, sexism and obesity — these are only a few of the issues college students are faced with on a daily basis.

Although these are common issues, many students are not aware of their severity, which is why the 13th Annual Tunnel of Oppression is an eye-opener for many. The event is meant to bring awareness to social issues and encourage students to stand up against oppression.

The exhibit opens Friday at Juniper Poplar Hall.

Students make their way through the tunnel, stopping in different classrooms with student volunteers preforming skits that cover an array of subjects relating to issues such as homophobia, racism and suicide.

Simone Campbell, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, participated in a skit at last year’s Tunnel of Oppression. The theme of Campbell’s skit was depression.

“Our skit was about a male student named Harrison. His mother wanted him to be a doctor, but he wanted to be an artist,” Campbell said. “He contemplated suicide.”

Another skit from last year’s tunnel involved a girl bullied because of her appearance. The bullying led her to anorexia.

Campbell said the skits are based on real situations.

“I have spoken to many students that are unhappy with their majors,” Campbell said. “They are following the orders of their parents and they don't know what to do about it. Depression is not widely recognized as a medical disease among college students, especially among male students.”

After students have seen the skits, they are able to share and discuss their thoughts with fellow observers. The skits are meant to encourage students to view issues differently and enlighten those who were unaware of these problems.

Caylie Rowe, a senior majoring in advertising, went through the Tunnel of Oppression last year.

“Your viewpoints on certain issues change after going through,” Rowe said. “Not only was I surprised by the ways issues were presented in the skits, I was also surprised to hear how many people didn’t realize the problems even existed.”

The Tunnel of Oppression aims to help students facing oppression, raise awareness and influence others to stand up against these issues. The exhibit opens at 6 p.m. on Friday and will continue until Sunday.