After hearing Donald Trump's recently-released comments about women, the female students at his alma mater knew they had to do something.
"We saw these comments and we said, 'We have to say something about Trump as a Penn alumni,'" University of Pennsylvania student Syra Ortiz-Blanes told Revelist. "This is exactly the kind of behavior that we are condemning and trying to eradicate."
Several women had already formed a strong cohort when they rallied against a sexist email sent out by an off-campus fraternity. After getting a positive response to the protest, the students created an official organization to protest rape culture on their campus.
They call themselves the "We Are Watching" Artist Collective—and now they're watching the Republican nominee for president.
The day after Trump's infamous "grab 'em by the pussy" comments were released by The Washington Post, the collective gathered in an off-campus apartment to plan their response.
They wanted to design a protest that grabbed attention and effectively transmitted their message: "Presidential candidate Donald Trump is not only complicit, but also an active advocate of rape culture through actions and words such as these."
They also wanted to capitalize on the combined artist talents of the group.
"We talked about using banners and we talked about doing chalk," Ortiz-Blanes told Revelist, "but we realized what would be most eye-popping is a series of cut-outs."
The group recruited fine arts major Isabel Kim to design a series of cardboard cutouts to place around campus.
The illustrations depict six different women, emblazoned with the message "we are watching." Each woman also carries a unique message of her own: "We will not be silent" or "Your body, your ballot."
The organizers said they wanted to convey the danger that a Trump presidency poses to women. They also wanted to make sure no woman felt left out.
"We were definitely trying to think about who we were representing and tried to get a wide spectrum of women," Kim told Revelist.
The next night, they gathered for what organizer Amanda Silberling called an "art-in"—a 12-hour-long crafting session to create the cut-outs.
Women flowed in and out of Silberling's apartment from five in the evening to five in the morning, bringing with them donations of cardboard, paint and paintbrushes. Other students volunteered to make stickers out of the illustrations. Dozens of women participated throughout the night.
On Tuesday, October 11—the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania—the women posted the cardboard cutouts all over campus.
At least two volunteers stood watch over the artwork all day, answering questions and passing out voter registration forms as they went. The organizers said they wanted the art to be interactive and serve as part of the campus landscape.
"Instead of exclusively dwelling on the issues that create an unsafe environment, we also want to make a safe environment," Silberling said.
The reaction to the art has been largely positive—one professor even asked to buy a print. Of course, a few Trump supporters dropped by though.
"One guy came up to us when we were out there giving out flyers … and started questioning us," Kim said. "We were like, 'Dude, if you want to stage a protest, you can stage a protest.'"
While they seemed satisfied with their protest, the organizers emphasized that their work is far from done.
"This protest was about Donald Trump's comments, but it was also was about rape culture at our institution, and the fact that elite universities can produce people like that," Ortiz-Blanes told Revelist. "It's because of, in part, attitudes that are learned at institutions like this one."
The organizers plan to continue fighting rape culture on their campus by staging more "art-ins."