Documenting Student Organizations


Ella Massaquoi ’23

Like most on campus, I know the value of getting a good on-campus job. Not only are we college students, we’re college students with dreams! And what better way to fulfill those dreams than by applying for a job that will contribute to your success later on? Speaking for myself, my career goals situate me anywhere near books, so of course, an opportunity to work at Special Collections一where all the rare, undiscovered, and really, really old books are一I leaped at the chance.  

Working through the I-CORPS Program, I’ve been working with Megan Firestone, Head of Special Collections and Archives, as the University Archives Student Ambassador to inventory, research, and document Southwestern’s past and present student organizations. Already, I’ve found some一let’s just say一interesting organizations that are no longer active today but might add an unexplored perspective to Southwestern’s history. 

The Talking Club  The Talking Club

One project, in particular, we will work on is developing a way for current student organizations to document their own activities through an “Archivist in-a-bag” in order to stay updated on what students orgs are up to these days. Our motto, “we keep it safe, not secret!” has never not played out in this way as we hope to pull in more awareness for Special Collections and Archives, making it more accessible and noticeable for students, staff, faculty, and even visitors. 

As a writer myself, I know the value of getting your works out there so it can be一not to be dramatic一immortalized forever. Working at Special Collections has shown me how Southwestern’s history has already been in the process of doing that. I’ve only been here for 3 weeks, yet I can see how past events have given life to what we (current students) take for granted. There are fascinating stories to be learned here and I have the chance to share that with any and all who are willing to listen. 

Continuing in this blog, I will be posting my findings on organizations I find interesting throughout the school year to update my progress because…we keep it safe, not secret!

Special Collections Blog: