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UCM Feature Stories

Tunnel of Oppression Educates About Privilege, Race, Class and Gender

The harmfulness of judging others based on their race is one of the tough topics addressed in the Tunnel of Oppression.

A long but somber and respectful line stood outside the Elliott Student Union ballroom. Students, faculty and staff were waiting to tour the Tunnel of Oppression to understand social justice issues and modern forms of oppression affecting their community.

As part of Unity Week, tour groups were taken through various rooms built in the ballroom, each room addressed a specific issue. Presentations conducted by on-campus groups such as the Association of Black Collegians and Students Advocating Gender Equality educated participants on ways oppression occurs and how to become more conscious of others' experiences because of their race, class or gender.

"I wanted to get a broader understanding of injustices that still happen," says Bobby Jackson, a senior Social Work major. "Whether it's race or sexuality, these forms of oppression need to be addressed."

The Tunnel of Oppression was just one part of Unity Week, Feb. 23 - 26, which also featured a panel on sexuality entitled "Guess Who’s Straight," "The Pocketbook Monologues" and a performance by poet Carlos Andrés Gómez.

"Unity Week highlights different identities to bring awareness to the UCM community," adds Brianna Nesbitt, graduate assistant for diversity education.

By touring the Tunnel of Oppression, UCM's community members became more mindful of the experiences of others and experienced learning to a greater degree.

Adaptive Physical Education Program Offers Unique Learning Experience

Students Samantha Wheeler (left) and Jacob DeClue (right), instruct THRIVE student Anna McDaniel on a weight machine in UCM's Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

UCM's THRIVE program students are helping to enhance a Physical Education course to create a unique, hands-on learning environment.

The Adaptive Field Education course was designed to instruct Education and Exercise Science majors on how to teach individuals with disabilities. Now, students are assigned a THRIVE student to work with as a personal trainer. The THRIVE program at UCM provides intellectually challenged young adults with a two-year residential college experience, transitioning them from home to independence.

"As they work one-on-one or with a partner and their THRIVE student, they really start to develop a camaraderie and the class becomes even more enjoyable," says Kenneth Bias, associate professor of Physical Education.

Through exercise activities, sports and games, the THRIVE students learn the habits of a healthy lifestyle while developing a positive sense of self worth.

"We get to have our own personal trainers who help teach us the basics of exercising," says Anna McDaniel, a THRIVE student in the class.

DK Barr, a previous student of the class is now a teaching assistant for Bias.

"It's definitely an eye-opener to see their passion," say Barr. "They'll come clear across campus to give you a hug."

By furthering their physical education knowledge and gaining first-hand experience working with individuals with disabilities, Physical Education students are learning to a greater degree.

Course Challenges Student Perspectives, Empowers Those in Need

Assistant Professor Katie Jacobs leads her class through a discussion to help them prepare to make a difference for people living in poverty in the area.

When assistant professor Katie Jacobs began designing courses for the Honors College, she wanted to create a course that gave students the opportunity to make an impact. Students have that opportunity through Understanding Poverty in Modern Society.

The course offers a holistic approach to understanding the issues surrounding poverty. Students research legislation that affects those living in poverty, and evaluate local organizations dedicated to helping those in need. In addition to learning the causes and effects of poverty, students create projects that are relevant to their majors to empower those in need.

"We wanted to create an experience that goes through the university's four pillars - engaged learning, future-focused academics, a worldly perspective and a culture of service," says Jacobs.

Through creating and executing projects focused on sustainable solutions, Jacobs hopes that students will learn how to address and understand social issues. Examples of student projects include a letter-writing campaign to influence legislation and a program providing elementary students supplies and knowledge for proper hygiene.

"My perception of poverty has already changed," says Claire Richards, a junior Biology and Modern Languages major. "Dr. Jacobs has a unique and passionate way of making us aware and provides us new understandings of poverty."

By designing a course that emphasizes a culture of service, Jacobs cultivates learning to a greater degree.

UCM Students Give Mo a Birthday Makeover

Assistant professor of Fashion and Apparel Merchandising Melissa Abner (left) works with fashion majors to measure Mo the Mule for his student-designed makeover.

UCM's beloved mascot, Mo the Mule, is turning 93 years old and in celebration of his birthday, UCM fashion majors designed a mule makeover for Mo.

Melissa Abner, assistant professor of Fashion and Apparel Merchandising, coordinated the design project with her students. The top three designs were voted on by more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni.

"Fashion majors were able to use their knowledge of trends, body types, clothing styles, branding and retail to style Mo in a current, but classic style," says Abner. "This is a great way for students to apply what they learn in the classroom and showcase their skills."

Jessica Williams, a senior fashion major submitted three designs. "The fact that the school let the student body make the final decision on the outfit shows that the students' voices matter," says Williams.

While Mo will still wear his basketball and football jerseys at athletic events, the new design will serve as his casual wear around campus and the community.

Mo's birthday celebration will be held from 2-4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, lower courts. The celebration will feature games, food, cake and the winning outfit will be revealed.

By creating a new look for UCM's mascot, fashion students are learning to a greater degree.

Digital Plan Station Donated to Enhance Construction Management Program

Representatives from McCownGordon Construction (left) and UCM School of Technology faculty (right) unveiled McCownGordon's donation of a digital plan station at a construction seminar.

UCM's Construction Management program has received a state-of-the-art donation from McCownGordon Construction to help prepare students for the real world.

The digital plan station consists of a 60-inch flat-screen monitor connected to an iPad and mounted to an adjustable workstation. Digital plan stations are used on-site in the construction industry for reviewing plans and specifications.

"The donation will help prepare students for the advances currently taking place in our industry," says Dave McCandless, Construction Management program coordinator.

In addition to providing a digital plan station, the Kansas City based firm is partnering with the Construction Management program to provide training and technical support. McCownGordon serves on the Construction Management advisory board, employs many UCM Construction and Safety Management graduates, and is serving as the design builder for the construction of UCM's new mixed-use facility, the Crossing - South at Holden.

"If we can get these students trained on the same technology we are using on-site, they are more prepared for the working landscape," says Brian Roth, project manager at McCownGordon.

Last week, McCownGordon joined students and faculty in a construction seminar class to officially unveil the new technology and its demonstrate uses.

By working with real-world technology, Construction Management students are benefiting from business partnerships and learning to a greater degree.

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