Title

Shaping the Future by Engaging the Past: Preserving the Stories of a Discarded Symbol

Item Type

Presentation

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Center Room

Session

#s3b: Archiving Collective Memory, moderator John Hunter

Start Date

29-10-2016 3:30 PM

End Date

29-10-2016 5:00 PM

Description

If history is written by the victors, what can students learn from hearing the stories of the other side? When an institution changes its identity to reflect contemporary values, how does a community preserve its discarded traditions? In 2015, Susquehanna University’s Board of Trustees decided to replace the ‘Crusader’ mascot and nickname, which had been used since 1924. Explaining the rationale for the change, SU President Jay Lemons noted that a university mascot and nickname “should be beloved and unifying symbols,” which the Crusader was not. While some members of the SU community saw the changes as an opportunity to create a more inspiring and unifying iconography, others passionately disagreed with the decision. Susquehanna students negotiated this divide between administration and alumni/ae through the Crusader History Harvest. This Harvest, modeled on the History Harvests of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was a one-day event, held during homecoming weekend, that invited alumni/ae to bring their Crusader memorabilia back to campus. Students digitized those objects and interviewed the alums, asking about the objects’ meaning to their owners. Presenting the digitized objects and the interviews in an open access online archive offers a glimpse of the power of digital storytelling to bridge the divide between tradition and progress. In this presentation, Susquehanna students and librarians will address some of the issues raised by the Crusader History Harvest such as how students learn by documenting history as it is being made and how a community preserves its traditions while managing necessary change.

Language

eng

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Oct 29th, 3:30 PM Oct 29th, 5:00 PM

Shaping the Future by Engaging the Past: Preserving the Stories of a Discarded Symbol

Elaine Langone Center, Center Room

If history is written by the victors, what can students learn from hearing the stories of the other side? When an institution changes its identity to reflect contemporary values, how does a community preserve its discarded traditions? In 2015, Susquehanna University’s Board of Trustees decided to replace the ‘Crusader’ mascot and nickname, which had been used since 1924. Explaining the rationale for the change, SU President Jay Lemons noted that a university mascot and nickname “should be beloved and unifying symbols,” which the Crusader was not. While some members of the SU community saw the changes as an opportunity to create a more inspiring and unifying iconography, others passionately disagreed with the decision. Susquehanna students negotiated this divide between administration and alumni/ae through the Crusader History Harvest. This Harvest, modeled on the History Harvests of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was a one-day event, held during homecoming weekend, that invited alumni/ae to bring their Crusader memorabilia back to campus. Students digitized those objects and interviewed the alums, asking about the objects’ meaning to their owners. Presenting the digitized objects and the interviews in an open access online archive offers a glimpse of the power of digital storytelling to bridge the divide between tradition and progress. In this presentation, Susquehanna students and librarians will address some of the issues raised by the Crusader History Harvest such as how students learn by documenting history as it is being made and how a community preserves its traditions while managing necessary change.