Roles Un-Defined: Student Initiative


Image Courtesy of Dr. Jan Hoistad Partners

Anushka Elavia , Staff Writer

In modern-day society, we often subconsciously promote stereotypes to the credible position of truth. We tend to define people on the basis of their superficial, external identities, instead of through the content of their character.

In order to challenge traditional perspectives and bring authenticity to the table, students Erica Niehoff and Anushka Elavia designed the initiative, “Roles UN-Defined”, a filmed discussion in which an assortment of individuals who are commonly defined by their ‘societal role’ are enabled to openly explore their authentic selves. The focus is intended to voice the probing questions people have about certain people, and bring a close, connected, and mutual understanding between those individuals and the perspective of the public. Amidst the polarizing political climate, the students decided to interview Officer Boll, a police officer of the Mendham community who has experience working in Newark. They brought attention to the multitudes of misleading assumptions targeted towards the police force during this challenging time while addressing the systemic flaws ingrained in the system itself. Moving forward, the students plan to interview diverse individuals from the medical field, the business industry, the educational district, and other professional specialties. In filming these discussions, Niehoff and Elavia intend to bring awareness to the prevalence of open discussion and unfiltered narratives.

The students hope the completed initiative will be featured in the school-sponsored Speaker Series towards the end of the year, in order for the discussion to attract local publicity and student awareness.