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The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Students get personal with powerful portraits by Dear World

Angel Ulloa
Students wait to have their portraits taken by Dear World photographers. They write messages on their skin, the trademark of Dear World’s project.

A project called Dear World, which features a series of portraits and messages taken all over the world by New Orleans photographers, visited UTEP on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The Dear World team took hundreds of portraits on campus at the Union Building East, which featured UTEP students and staff who came prepared with a message written on their skin.

“Stronger than yesterday,” “Little but fierce,” “We are all chingones,” and many other life mottos were written in black ink on arms, faces, stomachs and chests, all in an effort to showcase individuality and humanity.

“You’re now part of the Dear World family,” said Jonah Evans, Dear World executive producer. Evans helped launch the project in 2009, and it has since been taken to New York, Jordan, Costa Rica and universities throughout the country.

The Dear World team gathered at the Union Building East on Tuesday evening to present a few of the most compelling stories they heard from students and staff.

Sandra Andres, sophomore psychology major, was chosen to speak at the event and to share her story.

She had “I believed I could, so I did,” written across her arms, and on her palms the word “Dreamer” was written. She shared her struggle with a teary-eyed audience—a story about her dream of attending college although she has been undocumented since she was a child.

“I woke up this morning and was not expecting this at all,” Andres said in an interview after her speech. “It’s such a good opportunity to express something that I wouldn’t usually have. It feels liberating.”

The entire Dear World UTEP series will be on display at the Union Gallery, located at room 201 in the Union Building East, in a few weeks.

More information on Dear World can be found at

Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jasmine Aguilera, Editor-in-chief
Jasmine is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in anthropology. She began practicing journalism as a high school student when she joined the Tejano Tribune, El Paso Community College’s student newspaper. During her senior year she became the first ever high school student to become editor-in-chief of the Tribune. She moved on to join The Prospector team in the fall of 2011. Jasmine has covered national politics, immigration, poverty, human trafficking, refugees and more in her time holding various editorial positions at The Prospector and as an intern reporter at the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire and Gannett News Service, both in Washington, D.C. She aspires to become an international reporter and tell stories that do not receive the attention they deserve. Until then, she spends her time following the news and guiding a very talented team in reporting for a student audience and the El Paso community. She also enjoys a good book, art, music and the occasional Netflix binge (House of Cards and Breaking Bad remain her favorite).
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Students get personal with powerful portraits by Dear World