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Lost? build your path...
project one // dening clubs and organizations at
Connecticut College and giving voice to a community
design public practice + gws research methods
5 Introduction
9 The Research Process
10 A snapshot of the campus climate
11 Research Methods
12 Findings
15 The Design Process
16 Building the design
17 Site: Crozier Williams Student Center
18 Installation
26 Acknowledgements
Table of Contents
Build your path....
The “Lost? Build your path...” project is
a public installation on the Connecticut
College campus that seeks to display the
variety of clubs at the college, as well as
the connections between organizations.
The project was a collaboration between
Public Practice, a design class in the art
department, and Feminist Social Research
methods, in the Gender and Womens Studies
department. The GWS class took charge of
the research and the design class created
the visual installation using this research.
The purpose of our research was to gain
insight into the patterns of representation
and intersections of identity in clubs at the
college, and display this research in a visually
engaging way.
Through our research and design processes
we considered the question: What are
the patterns of representation and
intersections of identity in clubs at
Connecticut College and how do these
encourage or discourage collaboration?
Feminist Social Research Methods (GWS
324) is an upper-level Gender and Women’s
Studies course at Connecticut College
that involves an in-depth exploration of
interdisciplinary approaches to feminist
research methods as a way to uncover,
synthesize, and engineer social change. In this
class, students study theories, methods, and
practices of social research under a feminist
lens. In order to undertake research from a
feminist perspective, the goal of this project
was to examine trends of representation in
extra-curricular activities at a predominantly
white and predominantly female school.
Design: Public Practice (ART 310), is an
upper-level art course that examines the
means and processes of public-based design
to introduce students to creating social
change through design thinking. In this
project, students explored human-centered
design as an approach and method to problem
solving and innovation, and attempted
to present a thoughtful and meaningful
Who are we?
Introduction 5
visual representation of the Connecticut
College club community. Overall, the nal
result was an interdisciplinary approach to
understanding patterns of representation and
how to construct a meaningful, impactful, and
accessible visual.
Design Team
Greg Montenegro
Major: Art
Class of 2018
Ammerman Center
Lacey Hale
Major: Psychology
Minor: Art
Class of 2017
Molli Udis
Major: Art & EAS
Class of 2017
Mei Resin
Major: Art
Class of 2017
Goodwin-Niering Center
Arianna Wendt
Major: Architecture
Class of 2017
Alana Wimer
Major: Art &
American Studies
Class of 2017
Ammerman Center
Charlotte Hecht
Major: American Studies
Minor: Art
Class of 2016
Museum Studies
Anna Peterson
Major: Art & French
Class of 2017
Research Team & Faculty
Sophia Liebman
Major: East Asian
Minor: Gender &
Womens Studies
Class of 2016
Kori Rimany
Major: English,
Gender & Women’s
Minor: Mathematics
Class of 2018
Ariella Rotramell
Vandana Shiva
Assistant Professor
of Gender & Women’s
Joey Mercado
Major: Gender &
Women’s Studies
Class of 2016
Ammerman Center
Hayley Smith
Major: Film Studies
Minor: Gender &
Women’s Studies
Maggie Donahue
Major: Gender &
Womens Studies,
Behavioral Neuroscience
Class of 2016
Andrea Wollensak
Professor of Art
Judith Ammerman ‘60
Director, Ammerman
Center for Arts and
Brynne MacDonnell
Major: English
Minor: Gender &
Women’s Studies
Class of 2018
The Research Process
Feminist Social Research Methods (GWS 324)
took charge of the research for this project,
investigating the relationships between clubs
and the demographics of club members in
order to provide a better understanding of
how students in the Connecticut College
community are interacting with each
other through these organizations. Their
research was inuenced by considerations
of their own identity as Connecticut College
students, the current climate of the college,
and historical and survey-based research
about clubs at the college.
Who are we as
Connecticut College
Community Members?
the demographic survey using questions we
thought students would be most comfortable
answering and that would yield the most
responses. For instance, the general sense
on campus is that asking students to share
their sexuality is more accepted than asking
students to share their class or ability. We
recognize the limitations of not asking about
class and ability within our survey, however
we also recognize that these questions within
the context of our campus culture would
not necessarily yield the most accurate and
bountiful responses.
Research Process 9
As Connecticut College students, our
approach to studying this community is one
from both the perspective of researchers and
research subjects. Many of us are involved in
these clubs ourselves and therefore the line
between researcher and research subject is
blurred. The identity that we have as both
researchers and research subjects allows
us to move away from a method that treats
research subjects as scientic objects.
As members of this community, we have
more insight into the general comfort level
on campus regarding imparting demographic
information such as sexuality, ability, gender,
race and ethnicity. Therefore, we wrote
Connecticut College is a private liberal
arts institution located in New London,
Connecticut. The college was founded in 1911
as a women’s college and transitioned into
a co-education institution in 1969. Today,
there is still a majority of female students. 60
percent of undergraduates are women, while
40 percent are men.
There is a total undergraduate enrollment
of 1,922 students with 19% of domestic
students of color and 6.3% international
students. In the United States, 35% percent
of undergraduates are students of color,
illuminating Connecticut College’s lack of
diversity. In the United States, the national
percentage of domestic faculty of color is
17.3%, while 5% is international faculty or race/
ethnicity unknown. While this percentage is in
fact lower than Connecticut College’s 23.9%
faculty of color, it does show the continued
shortage of faculty of color within higher
education. As clubs and organizations on
campus often rely on the involvement of
professors and sta, a more diverse faculty
oers students of all backgrounds the
opportunity to create a more welcoming
and intersectional environment within their
respective clubs.
The most accurate measure of ability/disability
on campus is the number of registered
students with the Oice of Accessibility
Services. This oice documents and aids
students with physical and/or mental, visible
and invisible, disabilities. In the spring of 2016,
267 students registered with Accessibility
Services. While these numbers do not
account for those students who have not
registered, they do provide some insight into
the amount of disability present on campus.
It is diicult to collect socioeconomic
demographics for a variety of reasons. The
College itself lacks data regarding students’
economic data due to condentiality law.
Additionally, it would be impractical to ask
students to self-report this information,
given that students may be unaware of their
family’s household income and/or may not be
able to accurately and objectively describe
their socioeconomic status as this can be
inuenced relative to the income of their home
A Snapshot of the
Campus Climate
Demographics of the
Connecticut College student body.
10 Research Process
Research Methods
Prior to developing a design for the
installation, the GWS class researched
historical data, took demographic surveys
of clubs (including race, gender identity,
sexuality, class year, and club participation),
and looked at the college’s web and print
archives. During this research, we identied
potential shortfalls in club collaborations.
Therefore, the goal was to present
information in a manner that highlighted
these shortcomings and encouraged
partnership between clubs, organizations,
and oices on campus.
We reorganized and identied ve initial
categorizations for campus club and
organizational groupings:
1. Culture & Identity
2. Leadership & Development
3. Creative Groups
4. Issue-Oriented
5. Sports
Accounting for this categorical process, we
talked with club leaders to ensure that these
identications accurately reected the way
each group viewed themselves.
A mixed-methods approach was employed.
The quantitative research from the survey
was supplemented with qualitative research
from the college archives as well as informal
interviews with club leadership. First, we
designated ve sample organizations under
each category to ask in-depth demographic
survey questions. Next, we reached out to all
remaining clubs for broader details about their
history, such as year of origin, key historical
moments, annual events, and location of
meetings. In addition, we used archival
research to add depth to our knowledge of
today’s clubs. This multi-faceted research
provided us with rich information that could
be included in the nal installation
and pamphlet.
Research Process 11
Even with many clubs, gaps within our
campus community still exist.
Furthermore, we looked closely at which
clubs collaborate most with other clubs, and
in gathering this information we noticed
that there was only a small group of clubs
consistently collaborating with each other.
Clubs that reported commonly collaborating
together include SOAR, Umoja, La Unidad,
Asian & Asian American Student Association,
SGA, and acapella groups. Interestingly, the
bulk of these clubs belong to the Culture
and Identity category and are somehow
associated with Unity House. Unity House is
the multicultural center on campus that was
centrally relocated in 1989 and is a physical
space dedicated to the academic, cultural,
and personal support of students of color and
other underrepresented students on campus.
We attribute the high rate of collaboration
between clubs associated with Unity House to
the existence of this physical space.
In addition to looking at the existence of
physical spaces dedicated to club meetings,
we also looked to see which physical spaces
are handicap accessible. We found that over
25 percent of clubs meet in spaces that are
not handicap accessible. Our hope is that this
research will make such an oversight more
visible, and thus make clubs more accessible
to the entire community.
When we started this research we knew that
Connecticut College is limited in its diversity,
and the participation of club members in this
Collecting quantitative research through
the survey proved some diiculty to us as
researchers, as it was challenging to collect
responses from all of the seventy-seven
total registered clubs. However, we believe
that response rate indicates involvement on
campus. For example, we found that of the
101 students who responded to the survey,
thirty-eight respondants were members of
clubs in the Culture and Identity category and
another thirty-eight were students involved
with clubs in the Issue Oriented category.
We argue that this nding shows that clubs
concerning culture and identity, and oriented
around issues, are generally more involved
and active on campus than clubs in other
categories. We noticed that the clubs in the
Sports category were the least responsive
to our outreach, suggesting less activity and
involvement on campus at the particular time
we were collecting data. We had to use several
modes of communication such as email, text,
and person-to-person contact, in order to
gather basic qualitative research from these
less responsive groups.
12 Research Process
research reiterated this fact. The survey
required participants to write-in their race/
ethnicity, rather than choose from a list
of given options. This choice in survey
procedure was intentional on our part,
so that we were able to see the range in
responses according to category. For
instance, while the Culture & Identity
category included responses from
participants identifying with six dierent
races/ethnicities, the Creative category
garnered responses from only one race --
Caucasian. However, we must consider that
the participation in this survey was limited,
and not all club members participated.
Our hope is that through this installation
and informational pamphlet, students,
faculty, and sta become aware of the
gaps within our campus community, such
as the lack of physical and accessible club
meeting places and the lack of diverse
representation within the club community.
We hope that in drawing attention to
particular issues such as accessibility,
diversity, and lack of consistent
collaboration, we can help to increase the
amount of voices heard throughout
the club community.
Research Process 13
The Design Process
Building on the information and data
collected by the GWS researchers, the design
team strove to nd a form that would provide
information about clubs on campus, as well
as create visual impact.
Design Inspiration
Design Process 15
In thinking about visualizing connections,
we were inspired by branching forms found
in nature, such as trees and honeycombs. We
wanted to build the installation using a simple,
geometric form that could stand alone, but
also become a small part of a larger whole.
We ultimately decided to use hexagons as
the building blocks of our installation, as they
can be arranged in never-ending interlocking
combinations, and are ideal for creating a
visual representation of connectivity.
16 Design Process
Building the Design
The installation is made up of more than
70 separate hexagons. Each individual
hex-form contains the name of the club and
a short statement describing the club. To
dierentiate the categories of clubs, ve
colors of similar value were chosen so as not
to create a hierarchy.
Site: Crozier Williams
Student Center
The goal for this installation was to reach
as many people in the Connecticut College
community as possible. We chose the Crozier-
Williams Student Center for the site of the
installation because it is a central location, and
a place where many clubs and organizations
gather. In addition, many prospective
students pass through Cro during tours of
campus. The wall across from the bookstore
proved to be the ideal location for our
installation because of its size, color, shape,
and accessibility.
Design Process 17
Crozier Williams
Student Center
The installation style was chosen to mimic
natural and organic growth. The clubs were
placed on the wall based on their reported
connections with other organizations. This
was done to create a visual representation
that would show specic groups connecting
with one another.
18 Design Process
Design Process 19
Key for Wall Installation
The clubs and organizations included in this
installation are organizations that are oicially
registered with the college and listed on the
college website as of 2015. The outward
reaching pieces of the installation are meant
to encourage the addition of existing clubs
and organizations, as well as the creation of
new ones.
The dierent colored hexagons represent
ve categories we have sorted the clubs and
organizations into -- Culture & Identity,
Leadership & Development, Creative
Groups, Issue Oriented, and Sports. We
asked club leadership which category best
identied them, and labeled them accordingly.
22 Installation Components
Installation Components 23
Pamphlet for
Wall Installation
In addition to the wall installation, we created
an informational pamphlet that would go
next to the installation and give details about
the information on the wall. The pamphlet
includes background information on the
project and a complete list of clubs included
in the installation.
26 Acknowledgments
We would like to collectively thank all of the
club and organization leaders and members
for participating, as weithout their assitance
this project would not have been possible.
Additionally, we would like to thank Becky
Parmer in the College Archives, and John
Nugent, who helped us collect information
regarding Unity House clubs and college
Colophon 27
© 2016, All reserved by respective owners
Produced and Printed in Spring 2016 for the
Design: Public Practice class at
Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06329
Typeset in Calibre by Kris Sowersby