When I was little, I used to draw maps of my neighborhood. Once I was done with my neighborhood, I’d move onto creating maps for make believe neighborhoods including everything I thought a community should have – homes, trees, a playground and hospital, a library.
When the Critical Social Justice planning team picked the theme of Home this year, just a few short weeks later, the City Paper published its “Maps” issue. The front cover immediately caught my attention and took me back to my childhood of my own map making days.
As our intro blog post to this year’s theme states: “In honor of UMBC’s 50th Anniversary, this year’s CSJ theme of Home recognizes UMBC as a home to many of us. As we celebrate and contemplate UMBC as a home for learning, activism, and social change, we embrace the opportunity to invest ourselves in creating meaningful change here on campus in addition to taking our newly gained insights and knowledge with us back home, wherever that may be.” With this in mind, as we read through the City Paper maps issue, we wondered what it would be like to create our own maps of UMBC.
Since the fall semester began, the Women’s Center Advisory Board and student staff have all made their own campus maps. This week all of the Women’s Center discussion groups will also be creating their campus maps. When creating our maps, we asked each person to consider specific prompts such as: What is your favorite place on campus? Where can you can find others in your community or get your needs met? What is something you want to change?
It’s been fascinating to see the ways in which home has shown up in each of our maps and the ways in which challenges and complexities of home present themselves as well. Each person’s map tells a different story about who they are and what their experience is like at UMBC. It had allowed for us to have conversations of belonging and mattering, discussions of accessibility, environmental justice, and activism, as well as reflections on ways to bridge our home at UMBC with our other homes to include Baltimore.
What would your campus map look like?
Stop by Main Street this Wednesday, October 19th from 11:30-1:30pm to create your UMBC map and pick up a Critical Social Justice: Home events calendar.
Campus maps will be displayed at the “Who Gets a Home on College” CSJ event on Thursday, October 27th which will take place on Main Street from 11:30-1:30pm.