By Megan McNally
The Social Workers and Advocates of KU (SWAK) club hosted the Red Sand Project on campus in an attempt to help raise awareness of human trafficking worldwide.
SWAK is comprised of social work majors looking to get involved and help others. The president of SWAK, Julia Laudadio, said, “We are working to become a social change agent at KU through advocacy efforts. We organize and facilitate events and projects centered around the values of equality and social justice.”
The event took place on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in three different locations on campus. One was outside the Cub Cafe by the MSU, the second was by the North Campus Bear Statue and the third was on the DMZ.
At each designated location, red sand was placed within the cracks on the sidewalks. The red sand was meant to represent those who have fallen victim to human trafficking or have fallen through the cracks of society.
At each location, SWAK offered information and knowledge on the topic of human trafficking, which those who have long been advocating for the cause have collected.
Laudadio added, “To me, the project is a powerful way to engage with a community to spread awareness about human trafficking and to provide an opportunity to learn, connect and take action. Human trafficking is not something that happens in a faraway land—it’s right here, in our communities everywhere, and we have an obligation to be aware of this issue.”
This event was a form of participatory artwork utilizing the concept of the experiential installation. It was sponsored by The Women’s Center and The Department of Social Work, along with SWAK.
This event is practiced across all 50 states and in over 70 countries around the globe. When the groups on campus looked into it, they thought it would be an impactful event to bring to campus.
The Red Sand Project is a global organization that provides groups, clubs and organizations with a physical kit full of the supplies necessary to successfully act out the project, which helps raise awareness for this detrimental cause that so many fall victim to.
All proceeds SWAK raises are then donated to organizations and causes currently in need or experiencing any crisis or dilemma.