Created in the early 1990s at Western Illinois University, Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive tool that seeks to creatively address social injustice. Participants are taken on guided tours of various exhibits that depict issues of oppression in society. In 2009, The dCenter, Student Involvement and Leadership, and Residential Life sponsored PLU’s first Tunnel event. Tunnel is made possible by a team of 50 student volunteers who take responsibility for creating and facilitating Tunnel exhibits. Exhibits focus on a variety of systematic oppression, such as heterosexism, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and torture.
The goal of the PLU Tunnel of Oppression is to raise awareness of issues of privilege and oppression by presenting scenes grounded in real-world, lived experiences and to provide space for dialogue and reflection on social justice issues.
The Tunnel of Oppression planning team invites students to help shape the scenes and topics within Tunnel each year. In this way, the Tunnel of Oppression provides student leaders with an opportunity to take action by raising awareness of social justice issues.
Tunnel promotes self-directed learning by supporting students in identification of issues they care about and strategies to effectively research and portray those issues within Tunnel.