Wellesley College Students To Demonstrate
Sweatshop Conditions Feb. 15

For immediate release:
February 1, 2006
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- The Wellesley Association of Labor Rights Activists (WALRA) will hold its fourth annual Sweatshop Simulation Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 7 am to 7 pm in the Student Resource Room on the second floor of the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The Sweatshop Simulation replicates many of the conditions of a sweatshop to raise awareness about labor rights issues. Eight to 10 student volunteers perform a task in an assembly-line fashion for 12 hours under fluorescent lighting, loud and constant factory noises and heat. They are allowed two short bathroom breaks and a lunch break, and the workers will actually receive wages in cash comparable to those of an overseas sweatshop worker. Professors and staff will volunteer as floor supervisors. The sweatshop product, bags stamped with the message, “This Bag Was Made in a Sweatshop,” will be sold during and after the simulation for $5.

"We do not expect that we will know what it is really like to work in a sweatshop by participating in a simulation for one day," said organizer Felice Espiritu, a senior at Wellesley College. "The sweatshop simulation is a way to raise awareness about sweatshops through powerful, concrete images. We want people to start thinking about labor issues, to which we are all connected to in some way. We are simply putting the indisputable facts out there, and people can form their own opinions based on what they see.”

WALRA hopes to build a movement in which schools across the country will have sweatshop simulations on the same day; they have posted a manual on organizing a simulation online and hold workshops for other schools. Simmons College, Northeastern University and University of California, Riverside, have also held sweatshop simulations in recent years. For more information, call Espiritu at 781-283-1277 or e-mail walramail@wellesley.edu.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.