Students take a look at life with Privilege Walk


Students participate in an activity where they step forward or backward if certain statements apply to them. 

Shippensburg University students participated in a Privilege Walk on Tuesday in the McLean Hall Multi-purpose Room, an activity designed to make you think about the advantages and disadvantages in life you may not have realized you had.

Roger Serr, vice president of student affairs, talked briefly about his experiences dealing with privileges in his own life, and in his students’ lives.

Jen Milburn, assistant director of residence rife, also spoke. She challenged students to have conversations, and learn about themselves and others.

To start the activity off, all the participants stood in a line.

Then, based on statements that were read aloud, a participant would take a step forward or backward. At the end, each participant was instructed to take a look at where they started and where they ended.

Afterward, students broke off into groups to discuss their thoughts.

Questions were hard hitting, “Does your family have healthcare? Take a step forward,” “Did your parents go to college? Take a step forward,” “Were you raised in a single parent household? Take a step backward.”

They asked participants to take a look at parts of their lives that were usually hidden away.

While at the end, students were spread across the room, it was obvious that everyone experienced some degree of disadvantage.

Most students took steps backward for statements involving the fear of sexual assault and the fear of being judged by their gender. Several of the participants also took steps backward for statements that involved being judged by their race and ethnicity.

Discussion in groups brought students together. Many realized that while everyone is different, they are not alone. Someone is always there to understand what another is going through. While some things might seem bad, one can always look at the bright side.

SU junior, Desiree Stevens discussed her racial disadvantages with her peers. Despite having disadvantages, she said, “I was enlightened by my own privileges.”

Victoria Campbell, a sophomore resident assistant in Seavers Hall, said “It felt nice that we were together. It’s nice to feel you’re not alone.”

Miranda White, resident assistant in Seavers Hall and Co-Chair of Diversity and Culture Affairs, closed the event with a pep talk. She encouraged students to always believe in themselves, and that they can do anything they set their minds to.

“I wanted to encourage everyone that no matter who you are, what you look like or where you come from, you can be anything you put your mind to,” White said.

White expressed her love for helping students.

“I have a passion for making people feel welcome on this campus.”    

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