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Lied Library Exhibit: Student Activism at UNLV

By BTL on September 19, 2016 1:22 PM | Permalink
  • Photograph of Tumbleweed Tech, Rebel Yell, November 20, 1968 By constructing Tumbleweed Tech (also called Education City), students demonstrated against the lack of state funding for the NSU campus.

  • Photograph of a student with “Please I’d Like to Grow” sign, Epilogue 1968 (student yearbook)

  • Photograph of protester holding sign “UNLV is More Than a Sport,” late 1980s, UNLV Special Collections

  • Jorge Labrador and Haley Etchison, “Thousands Rally Against Budget Cuts,” Rebel Yell, January 26, 2009

"Please I’d Like to Grow," a new exhibit on the first floor of Lied Library, highlights student activism at UNLV from its founding through the present day. Rebel Yell articles as well as ephemera, including posters, t-shirts, fliers, and other documents from UNLV University Archives, provide evidence of student-led social and political activism around issues such as education, racism and civil rights, war, gender and sexuality, immigration, and the environment. The exhibit, curated by social sciences librarian Heidi Johnson, highlights the voices of students and administrators alike, with their unique perspectives on student activism at UNLV.

The exhibit explores the activism that has been a part of student life since the campus’s days as Tumbleweed Tech, the nickname the University earned when students constructed a mock campus out of shipping crates and plywood as a protest against inadequate funding and the desolation of the campus. UNLV University Archives documents demonstrate students working with administrators to help meet the needs of minority students through changes in curriculum and programming. Yearbooks and student newspapers also illustrate student opposition to national events such as the Vietnam War.

The title of the exhibit, "Please I’d Like to Grow," is intended to evoke the idea that the growth of the University has mirrored the growth of individual student activists, with quotes highlighting how their activism has impacted their lives and careers beyond their time at UNLV. As students address issues of immediate concern and look inward to discover themselves, they also look outward to the causes of others, including more local, national, and global concerns. So too, the University has grown from a fledging commuter campus in which budget issues were the primary concern and minority groups advocated for support for their unique identities, to a premier research University with a very diverse student body.

"Please I’d Like to Grow" will be on display through the fall semester.

For more information about the exhibit contact curator Heidi Johnson.