Literature for Change

Bachelor of social work students Ash Moyano-Villa and Tyson Sommer’s “Little Free Library” sits on the first floor of the social work building, with a bright red backdrop silhouetting it. It feels cozy and intimate, its own little world, with a sign that reads, “Take a book, leave a book. Decolonize your bookshelf.” The Little Free Library is a historic nonprofit promoting book exchanges through a public bookcase, altered in this case by being a specialized little free library that only features underrepresented communities and authors.

The idea for this project came from the lack of literary diversity the students experienced during their formative years combined with their love of literature. They see literature as both a transformative tool for change and a medium that needs more diverse perspectives.

“Representation and varied perspectives paired with great writing awoke me to great possibilities,” Sommer said.

They wanted to bring a new perspective to the university community. “We wanted to make a difference within the individual and the community, but also to provide entertainment where anyone could find themselves represented,” Moyano-Villa said. The responsibility of representing diverse and historically silenced communities is not an easy task, but the project is making a difference.

In the future, Moyano-Villa sees herself working in social work for children, while Sommer wants to tie social work with HR in an interdisciplinary approach.

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2023 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author:

David Wimert David is currently attending the University of Utah, studying game design in the EAE program, with an emphasis on developing 3D video game art. He was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before moving to Miami at 14. There, he discovered film and photography, which he does to this day.

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