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Media Studies
Completed Project

Documenting Social Justice Issues with Interactive Digital Media

Kate Spence ’18 and Tom Ellman (Computer Science/Media Studies)

This summer I worked alongside Professor Ellman to create a website that would allow POC students at Vassar to post about their experiences as they attend an elite institution that has historically marginalized their voices & perspectives.

After the events of last school year, with the election of Trump, and the series of bias incidents that occurred on campus, Vassar saw students come together and present a united front against ignorance, hatred & bigotry. There was also quite a bit of talk about transparency and the need for institutional memory. We felt the construction of a digital space meant to reflect the experiences of POC students could act as an institutional memory for these students. A digital space that would exist beyond the 4-year lifespan of an undergrad student, giving incoming students a concrete resource to rely on and to inform them on how to navigate Vassar.

So we spent the summer researching, interviewing & recording. We spent a lot of time compiling resources that would be available on the website in order to help to educate those who utilize the site. These were mostly books, and academic journals that shed light on the issues at hand, giving people a sort of syllabus to follow.

In conjunction with this, we conducted a couple of interviews with students. The purposes of these interviews were to post a series of experiences from the perspective of students, as they navigate Vassar. The questions focused around the microaggressions they’ve experienced on campus, how they’ve dealt with these issues and the resources and support systems they have sought out/created in order to take care of themselves.