The following is written by Community and Student Life Archivist Aiden Bettine
The University Archives is embarking on a new, hands-on project to collect the history of student organizations on our campus, Student Organizations Archiving their Records or SOAR. The Purpose of SOAR is to ensure that the legacy of each student organization on the University of Iowa campus is being actively preserved. This project provides student organizations with archiving kits for their materials so they can engage in the archival process. Involving students in the organization, description, and care for their organization’s archival collection is an integral part of making the history of student organizations visible on our campus. Organization leaders will work closely with our Community & Student Life Archivist, Aiden Bettine, to ensure their collections move into the University Archives.
Students are an integral part of our campus history. One of the primary ways that students make an impact on our campus is through student organizations whether as founders, members, or leaders. Yet a challenge with collecting this history is the reality that leadership and organizational records change hands every couple of years. Through SOAR, our goal is that when a student organization has a leadership change, the awareness of being able to work closely with the University Archives is passed down.
Although the organizational records will vary from group to group, there are some consistent types of materials we collect to capture the history of an organization:
- Meeting minutes/notes
- Event flyers/posters
- Marketing materials
- Annual financial budgets
- T-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.
Whether physical or digital versions of materials, the University Archives is ready to help preserve your organization’s history on our campus.
For student organizations that are affiliated with a center, office, or department on campus, SOAR offers the opportunity for archival storage outside of the University Archives in another campus space. This affords students the opportunity to keep their records close to where they gather regularly for ease of access and use. Storing materials on campus but outside of the Main Library also invites library patrons to learn more about an organization in context, to understand how institutional spaces for student organizations function on campus.
The University Archives is here to support the preservation and accessibility of each student organization’s history, regardless of where the materials are stored on our campus. We will work directly with each group to ensure the best decisions are made for the preservation and use of their collection. We want all our Hawkeyes to SOAR! To learn more about SOAR visit here.
Are you part of a student org and want to get involved in preserving your org’s history? Fill out the SOAR participation survey to tell us more about the materials you have.