Brooke Evans, a scholar-activist at UW-Madison who has dealt with homelessness on several occasions during her college career, will have her story, and ones like hers, recognized in a display on campus.
Evans, who is a sixth-year, non-traditional transfer student said she will “amplify the voices” of students like her. Her Glamour article will be displayed in College Library, where many students visit and where she spent much of her time.
For six years, the first generation student has dealt with being considered low income and sleeping in her car on numerous nights.
“I used to sleep in College Library, so it’s almost like College Library is putting this story up on its refrigerator much like families do at their homes,” Evans said in an email. “I feel like College Library is taking a stance and tackling these social issues head on, and I feel supported by the one place on campus where I sought the most refuge.”
Evans is working with Pamela O’Donnell, head of communications for College Library, to plan details for the exhibit, which will be displayed in early Spring 2017.
Evans said she noticed while flipping through Glamour, particularly the Glamour Magazine College Women of the Year contest, that homeless women and college dropouts were not represented. She was determined she and other similar women could also be role models.
“I think I realized that I had a kind of power inside me that couldn’t be taken from me—it didn’t matter if I didn’t have a degree or a family home or a coat or shoes,” Evans said in the. “I realized that’s something that money can’t buy and it’s invaluable to the work. Visibility is one thing, representation is another.”
According to the scholar-activist, stories of homeless students are often portrayed as sob stories. She wants to break that mold and recognize the strength that each individual similar to her possesses. She said the article gave her story a sense of credibility, and she will take advantage of the media attention she is receiving to legitimize homelessness among students.
“There have to be more pieces on Americans with this circumstance,” Evans said.“It needs to give them their autonomy, their agency, their decision-making, it needs to grant them their courage and their works and their heroism, too.”