First posted: May 27, 7:45 p.m. CST
Updated: May 28, 6:47 p.m. CST
From June 4-6, StNUdents (pronounced st-noo-dents) will be hosting a tour of the side of Northwestern student life that incoming freshman haven’t yet seen. The developers and producers Shannon Oliver-O’Neil and Evan Troost will not be answering questions like “What is a meal plan?” and “Where is the student center?” The Communication juniors hope that their brainchild, “StNUdents On Display,” will get people talking about how majors, Greek affiliations and other campus-dividing factors affect how students see themselves.
“StNUdents is an exhibit: a theatre piece with a fun-house, circus-type feel simulating the Northwestern experience,” says Publicity Chair Tania Murillo. The Weinberg freshman added, “the idea is to stimulate discussion on forming identity on campus.”
StNUdents began when Troost and Oliver-O’Neil wanted to address what they saw as a problem at Northwestern. Since Northwestern is split geographically as well as by race and Greek affiliations, they wanted to solve the problem of a campus that appears divided into factions.
They put on a student-organized seminar during Winter quarter called “Uncovering Communities” in which they did sociological reading and interviewed students to try and get inside how communities like Northwestern work. Their research had them challenging and expanding their initial ideas.
“Communities are more complicated than you think,” Murillo says. “People need smaller families and communities although they sometimes keep us from reaching out and noticing other people on campus.”
The event will take place in Kresge Centennial Hall on the second floor. As people arrive, they will be divided into groups of about ten, so there will be a few tours going on at once, each lasting about 45 minutes. The tours will go into different rooms which explore various aspects of Northwestern’s communities. The exploration will be resemble an interactive installation art piece rather than the standard lecture format. Several faculty advisors and theatre majors are on board to create this representation of student life.
StNUdents serves as an example of how smaller groups can work together as a larger community. The organization has partnerships with groups such as WAVE Productions, the African American Theater Ensemble, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Center for Student Involvement, A&O Productions and more.
They also have the support of President Morton Schapiro. “StNUdents On Display” is a complicated idea that can be difficult to explain, but they talked to him about the questions they were asking and the project they were taking on. “We hoped he would come, but he’s booked solid that weekend,” Oliver-O’Neil says. “Still, it was good to get his approval.”
Tour times have been corrected. Thanks to commenter David Griffin for pointing out the mistake. North by Northwestern regrets the error.