Not Otherwise Addressed
An ongoing series of cultural portraits exploring various spaces of Brown's campus. While these spaces have become very much integrated into campus life, the inherent issues regarding race, class, and gender experienced within these spaces often go unnoticed.
This project hopes to break that silence through a small collection of student stories, whose experiences speak to the larger college experience but often go unaddressed.
In the wake of recent events, I have grown more thankful of my surroundings in that Brown has allowed me to explore my passions and be blown away by the diversity and ambitions of my peers. However, it has also made me realize how the bubble of success and privilege that college has enveloped around me has shielded me from a lot reality, even when those hints of reality are right in front of me. This bubble has become so overwhelming that even spaces within College Hill that do represent the ongoing issues our society currently faces have been heavily buried into student life.
The spaces presented in this project are spaces that everyone on this campus knows. However, this project specifically highlights the underlying disparities of class, gender, and race within the experiences of students affected by not just these very spaces, but also the larger invisibility and silence these spaces are burdened by.
This project presents three short films, each one addressing a specific community affected by issues of class, race, and gender. Each film is a photo story accompanied by the voices of students identifying or associating with each community presented. Each film is not meant to criticize the community or even the university itself. It is meant to go deeper into the relationship between those spaces and the rest of campus in the context of the existing disparities of class, race, and gender. And ultimately, it hopes to deconstruct the privilege we received living in the bubble that has made us un-attuned to how the conflicts these spaces face that have become so normalized as to be invisible.
Students in Brown University
The student-worker experience and separations of class within college dining halls
This story addresses the disconnect between students who are required to work due to their financial-aid vs. students who don't have to, particularly in the strange dynamic in which these very students become "servers" to other students in the dining halls. Brown University Dining Services (BuDs) is the largest student employment program on campus, many of the students employed identifying as low-income. While we go to the dining halls every single day, the underlying socio-economic divisions within dining services, and the larger requirement of a federal work-study, are often left unnoticed when we order our food.
I interviewed a small group of students who work in the BuDs program. Students spoke highly of the BuDs program itself and the community it has provided them, but also spoke of the underlying social and economic disparities that the federal-work study implies on college campuses, especially at elite institutions such as Brown. While this only highlights a small part of the student-worker experience, this cultural portrait hopes to build a greater sense of awareness and for a part of college life that has become so normalized as to be taken for granted.
Disclaimer: This video is completely disaffiliated with the BuDs program itself. It is meant to focus on the relationship between student-workers and non-student-workers and does not represent the program in any way, shape, or form.
Gender Disparities in Brown's Greek Life and Hook-Up Culture
Taboos, stigmas, stereotypes, and expectations based on gender in the college party scene.
This story compares and contrasts the expectations of men and women participating in Brown's greek and social scene, particularly on perspectives of consent, agency in sexual activity and hook-up culture, and stereotypes of fraternities and sororities. The gender disparities within the college party scene are not just well known, but also many times, assumed.
The social scene at Brown is, to say the least, diverse. Greek life makes only a small portion of the student population, only 10%, and is not as traditional like in many other American colleges. However, Greek life participation has significantly increased in the past few years, indicating that greek life still plays a reasonable part of Brown's typical social scene.
This story seeks not to criticize Greek life itself, but to explore the underlying experiences of female and male students within the particular social scene that it implies and is also well known on any typical college campus. The suggested hook-up culture implied in this particular type of social scene has also been influential, but at the same very much silenced, both by its students and also by the university itself. In 2015, the university administration had announced sanctions on two Brown fraternities who were found responsible for creating environments that encouraged sexual misconduct. Phi Kappa Si was banned completely by the university for allegedly putting in the date-rape drug in their drinks for female party-goers, one girl affected by a spiked drink being assaulted that night. Despite the administration's sanction on permanently banning the fraternity where this incident took place, the university has been under criticism for it has handled the date-rape investigation and largely sexual assault cases that occur on campus.
Two years later, greek life participation at Brown has skyrocketed-the party scene surrounding greek life has continued on, and so has the same typical interactions between men and women.
I interviewed both female and male students who participate in the social scene surrounding Brown greek life, as well as the suggested hook-up culture within that scene. Students discuss the underlying expectations they carry going into the weekend based on stereotypes of their gender and how that transfers over into the double standard of sexual agency. Students also discuss the gray area that results from the mixing of alcohol and sex, the silent difficulty of concretely defining consent
All images were taken in the course of one typical night out both on and off Wriston Quad, the home of the Brown greek community.
This cultural portrait only touches on a wide range of ideas apparent in the college social scene and hook-up culture. The small group of men and women interviewed represent only a small grain of the college experience.
However, it hopes to shine light on the existing gender disparities within all of these topics and present a conversation between men and women that has otherwise been silenced.