As songs such as “Light My Fire” by The Doors played in the background, University of Indianapolis students explored the history and events of the 1960s in a sea of tie-dye and camouflage. “Trippin’ Through the 60s” was an event held on March 30 to inform UIndy students about the historical and cultural significance of the 60s in America. The event was a project in the Introduction to Experience Design course taught by Director of Experience Design Samantha Meigs.
“They [the students] first had to select a theme [for the event]. Then they came up with some interactive activities. They were all working very collaboratively. And then [they did] lots of research,” Meigs said. “We actually had students talk to relatives who had lived through this period. They [the students] have watched movies and have tried to kind of immerse themselves in the 60s, so they can then bring that to life for somebody else.”
Meigs’ students found the 60s to be a very important time in American history.
“It [the 1960s] was a real interest to the students,” Meigs said. “It is the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War, from ’66 through ’73, so they [the students] thought it was important to look at how that era shaped our world, because we are still reaping the effect of the 60s. It’s also just a cool way to get people interested in history, because there is a lot of pop culture involved.”
The event included many different stations and tables with activities or facts about the 60s. UIndy Hall A included a Vietnam boot camp training activity: Students had to do a ladder walk while carrying a 30-pound backpack, ladder drills, sit-ups and push-ups and target practice with Nerf guns. One of the stations was an LSD simulator, where students could stare at a screen for approximately 60 seconds, and the images displayed on the screen would cause distortion in their vision for several seconds. There also was a table that had various foods that were popular in the 60s, including Swedish Fish, potato chips and Starbursts.
In UIndy Hall B, there was a karaoke stations where students could pick an array of songs from the 60s to sing. One table had a 60s trivia game for students to test their knowledge of historical and cultural events that happened during the decade. Junior political science major Tanner Steele had brought his personal guitar and amplifier to play various 60s songs, including Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the National Anthem, played at Woodstock in 1969.
There was a station that had protest signs from both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests. Students could walk around holding the signs and chanting as if they were protestors. A timeline of historical events of the 60s hung on one of the walls, and a projector played videos of famous concerts during the 60s.
UIndy Hall C included a station where students could make bracelets and pick out headbands to wear. There was a green screen in front of which students could take photos, and they could pick out different props that suggested 60s culture along with a camouflaged, tie-dyed or moon-themed background. A student from Ivy Tech Indianapolis, Maggie Westrich, also had a face-painting station, where students could get different designs hand-painted onto their faces. There was also a projector playing famous movies from the 60s, including “To Kill A Mockingbird.” During the whole event a variety of music from the 60s played in the background as students went from station to station. Junior marketing major Whitney Whitehouse worked at the craft stations and found that the students who attended seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“My favorite part [of the event] is the music,” Whitehouse said. “For the bad weather the amount of people that came was a good turnout, and everyone I talked to had a smile on their face.”
Junior criminal justice major Taylor Kellam enjoyed her time at the “Trippin’ Through the 60s” event, having taken Introduction to Experience Design the previous semester.
“I liked watching all the people karaoke. I didn’t do it, but I love karaoke in general, so it was fun,” Keelam said. “I took this class last semester, and it is completely different than the event we did. So it was just cool to see that they pulled something together like that.”