photo by Michaela Flonard

Students uncover cultural identity through masks

Student Association, the Association of International Students and the Multicultural Resource Center collaborated to show off students’ complex identities.

If you happen to stop into the Multicultural Resource Center soon, you’ll see a scattering of masks lining the walls. These masks were produced for the Multicultural Identity Mask Project, in collaboration between SA, MRC and the Association of International Students.

Megan Lowry, the intern for the Multicultural Resource Center, initially started the project with another intern. Dana Thomas, a member of SA’s committee for diversity and multiculturalism, said initially, it was oriented towards the English Institute. Lowry reached out to Evelin Lopez, the executive director of SA’s diversity and multiculturalism committee, and the group began working on the project. They expanded the idea to become “Humans of TU,” where they would get masks and stories from TU students.

According to Nevin Subramanian, a member of the diversity and multiculturalism committee, the mask project “show that TU has all this diversity and we’re here to support anyone, and here to learn from anyone because even though we’re here because of our academics, there’s so much to a person than academics.”

“This mask project is to show you as a person, and what you can show and teach others,” Subramanian said. “People all struggle together. There’s not one culture that doesn’t have a problem…in the end together, we’re able to overcome it and see ourselves,” Thomas added. While several masks were made, some students wanted to remain anonymous. Even so, their masks tell a story, Thomas said. Subramanian referenced a mask where a student had a hijab that said “not oppressed” and “not a terrorist.” “Her story is to show that yes, she’s a Muslim, but she’s still a good person,” he said.

So far, SA has only interviewed one person for “Humans of TU,” but hopes to continue their work. They plan to have another mask decorating event next semester.

Post Author: Michaela Flonard