Friday, 1 November 2013

Breaking Stereotypes In Our Community

#breakingstereotypes - SU President
"The best way to overcome a stereotype is by simply being yourself." Photo courtesy of the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights.
Stereotypes - we may not like to admit it but we all subscribe to them. We make snap judgements about people as soon as we meet them and although the act of making an assumption might be a natural one, the choice to hold on to a stereotype is not.

As we learned in the blog post 21 Days to Break a Habit with One Simple Act breaking a routine can be done... it just takes a little practice. Acknowledging the action that you want to change is the first step and providing an alternative means of approaching it is the second. And the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights is providing students at the U of A with a chance to do both through their new photo contest #breakingstereotypes

#breakingstereotypes - SU VP (Academic)
Photo courtesy of the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights

Before we dive into the photo contest, I should provide a little more information about what I discovered to be a very important resource on campus. The Office of Safe Disclosure & Human Rights (OSDHR) exists to provide a confidential and neutral space for U of A students and staff to speak in confidence about the University's policies, procedures, and ethical standard while also serving as a first contact point for advice on contacting other services. The OSDHR staff are trained to offer strategic advice regarding harassment, discrimination, and the U of A's duty to accommodate and they can help answer any human rights questions you might have. More colloquially, the OSDHR can serve as a whistleblower if you find yourself unsatisfied with the University's policies and a source of expert advice that can direct you to the more specific services you may require. 

And with that out of the way, let’s get to the contest!

breaking stereotypes photo contest

The #breakingstereotypes photo contest that the OSDHR is running aims to help identify commonly held stereotypes while also looking at ways of overcoming them. The competition is looking to raise the visibility of the OSDHR on campus while provoking a thoughtful discussion of stereotypes, drawing attention to human rights, and informing students, staff, and faculty about safe disclosure. “We hope the contest will encourage people to be more thoughtful about their interactions,” explains Marjorie Henderson, Communications and Intake Coordinator for the office.

As busy students stereotypes likely don't cross our minds often. In the heat of midterms, we don't always have the spare time or brain power to think about how we interact with others, what stereotypes we may hold or have experienced, or what human rights mean to us on. Nonetheless, the OSDHR's contest is trying to change this. It's really not very hard to consider stereotypes and to enter the contest. 

The YouAlberta team took on the #breakingstereotypes challenge to look at the stereotypes we face as individuals and ones that we see on campus. Here's what we came up with:

#breakingstereotypes - Yasir

#breakingstereotypes - Erin

#breakingstereotypes - Trenton

Stereotypes can take a wide variety of forms that both visible and easily hidden. With this in mind, the OSDHR is encouraging us to be more thoughtful in our interactions and is available to anyone who needs strategic advice or who wants a place to talk in confidentiality about the University's policies. 

The #breakingstereotypes photo contest is an exciting way to take a shot at some great prizes and to learn more about this important resource. To enter the contest, submit a photo of yourself with a poster demonstrating the way you are breaking a stereotype. Email the Office of Human Rights and Safe Disclosure and tweet your picture with the hashtag #breakingstereotypes to spread the word and try to win some nifty prizes. Throughout the rest of November, the Office will be sharing pictures they receive on their photo blog to inspire more students.

For more information about the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights or the #breakingstereotypes photo contest visit or follow them on Twitter at @uofahumanrights. The contest ends November 15 so take some shots and let's see what you can come up with. The winning photos will be displayed December 10th from 12-1:30 at the Timms Centre so try your best to make yours one of them!

So what stereotypes would you like to break? 


About the Author

Hello there! I'm Trenton and I'm super excited to be a YouAlberta Student Communicator. Though I spend a staggering amount of my time thinking about a syllabus for an imaginary Batman 101 class, my major is actually Political Science. I love to read, eat, and play around in Photoshop (sometimes all at once). If you're ever looking for someone to debate about a variety of nerdy topics, I'm your man.

It is my hope to tell a wide array of stories about the sides of campus life and student life that may not be immediately apparent. In doing this, I want to showcase the diversity, passion, and community at the U of A that constantly inspires me. My time at the U of A has been truly trans-formative and, as I enter my final year here, I can't wait to listen to and tell stories about the University and its students.


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