Now that spring is hopefully around the corner and the academic year is slowly wrapping up, it’s fun to look back at past student experiences. One of my favorite collections is RS 21/7/288 Sylvia Flogstad Student Life Scrapbook. I processed this collection in 2020 and enjoyed how it provided a glimpse into the female undergraduate student experience in 1918.
Below is a selection of photographs from the scrapbook.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Iowa State community! This holiday has a historically special place in Iowa State’s early traditions. Starting in 1910, the engineering students held a celebration that included a parade that led them to downtown Ames (see picture below). In later years, the day also became an open house for engineering. In 1922, this celebration, along with several others, were wrapped together to become the VEISHEA celebration.
There are several other blog posts you can explore to learn more about this tradition.
The Architecture Wives Club is a newly processed collection now available to researchers. This club is exactly what it sounds like – the wives of ISU students in the Architecture program. They would hold get togethers, host speakers, and had “club projects” each year, which were philanthropic in nature. As you can see below, the club was not just social but also academic as well.
The collection is small, only spanning 1952-1971, and I am not sure if it continued on after 1971. However the illustrations are beautiful and the records shine a light on family structures during the 1950’s – 1970’s. More information about the Architecture Wives club can be found by viewing the collection description here.
To view the collection in person, please visit the Special Collections and University Archives department, which is open Monday – Thursday, between 9am – 5pm.
On April 11th, 1987 Iowa State Students gathered in an attempt to break the Guinness world record for largest game of Twister. The effort required 4,037 participants to be successful but Iowa weather got involved and turned many of the expected participants away. However, 1500 students still showed up to play Twister despite the cold and the rain. Not quite what they needed to break the record but still a massive effort – and from the pictures it looks like everyone had a great time.
Read more about this story on pages 56-57 in the 1988 Bomb.
Happy National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month!
As mentioned in previous posts, our collections currently hold far less information on the experiences of the ISU Latinx community than we would like, though we are working to correct that. Everything we do have, however, clearly indicates that ISU students with Hispanic and Latinx heritage have long led rich social lives and contributed greatly to campus culture during their time in college.
I have included here a sampling (NOT comprehensive) of current and historical Latinx student organizations whose records are represented in the archives, along with a handful of documents to illustrate their activities. Some of these materials are already digitized and available online, but, if you would like to explore any analog collections mentioned in this post, you can request materials through our new Aeon system and make an appointment to view them in our reading room.
International Student Organizations
Organizations supporting international students were among the earliest student organizations (along with Greek and very early literary societies) to form on campus, and many contemporary off-shoots can trace their roots back the 1920s Cosmopolitan Club. You can find photos and documents from this elsewhere on our blog and website.
Mexican Student Association
Puerto Rican Student Association
Greek organizations which highlight or support a particular racial or ethnic heritage (though most of these do not discriminate against potential members from other racial or ethnic backgrounds, unlike earlier white Greek organizations) have historically, and continue to this day, to play a crucial role in providing community for individuals whose identities are underrepresented elsewhere at the university.
Lambda Theta Nu Sorority
Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority
A handful of LTA members were kind enough to share some stories with us via oral history interviews for the #VoicesinColor project. You can stream these interviews on Aviary to learn more about these students’ experiences within their sorority, via their extensive campus involvement, and as members of the Latinx community attending a predominantly white institution during politically turbulent times.
Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity
The gentlemen of Lambda Theta Phi, like many contemporary student organizations, maintain an online presence apart from the Student Activities Center’s database of officially-recognized organizations. And they were gracious enough to allow us to web archive the public version of their Facebook page. You can find access and, to a limited extend, interact with the archived copies of this page in our Archive-It account.
Multicultural Student Organizations
This broad category technically encompasses all previously-listed organizations as well but is here used to refer specifically to organizations created to center American students from Hispanic and/or Latinx backgrounds.
Latin American Student Union (LASU)
Hispanic American Student Union (HASU)
Without more documentation, it is not clear to me whether LASU and HASU were two distinct organizations that existed simultaneously, a single organization that changed its name at some point, or two interchangeable names for the same organization. However, given the use of a similar logo/face on publications for both, my guess is that one of the latter options is more likely. Regardless, both seem to have been extremely active on campus for well over a decade.
Mexican-American Young Achievers Society (MAYAS)
Political Activism Student Organizations
In my observation, the membership, and often leadership, of political activism groups and of the more social groups listed above tends to overlap significantly. Many social Latinx organizations also engage in political activism or advocacy at one time or another, either as part of their stated purpose or as an extension of members’ interests. Regardless, there is no doubt that the Latinx community at Iowa State has been and continues to be a passionate voice for change, both locally and on a national level.
It is sometimes possible to find mentions in The Tribune and other local papers of the activities of politically-minded student groups, even when we do not have these groups’ records in the archives.
Students Against Bigotry
This organization grew out of a 2015 Latinx-led campus response to national sociopolitical issues like the Mizzou protests and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It was originally referred to as Latinos United for a Change (LUCHA), though the name changed as interest and participation broadened to include more of the student body.
And, again, that is only a small sampling of the Latinx student organizations that have been active on campus, or even that are mentioned, however briefly, in ISU archival records. That said, if you or someone you know was involved with one of these organizations while a student at ISU, please do get in touch and share what you remember! We are always looking for ways to tell fuller stories about students’ lives and experiences at ISU.
This past week I celebrated my 22nd birthday, which was something I have been looking forward to since our world was thrust into this pandemic. While restaurants and retail locations have been open here in Minnesota since the beginning of June, I decided to spend that day outdoors and ordering takeout for dinner. I always make sure to wear my mask and respect social distancing guidelines, but something about wearing a mask on my birthday just didn’t seem ideal, so I decided to stay home and enjoy the comfort of my family! I went for a walk around the Minneapolis Rose Gardens, where a plethora of roses, peonies, and other gorgeous plants were blooming. It was a friendly reminder that there are still beautiful aspects of life in a time of such stress and unease. Spending my birthday this year with my close family and boyfriend reminded me to be grateful for the people I have in my life, and to appreciate everything that I have.
I have been on a bit of a nature kick recently, and traveled to Willow Falls State Park in Wisconsin to go for a hike. I am still living at home with my parents, and still deem gathering in large areas/indoor spaces a risk as my father is immune-compromised. Finding new spots to explore outdoors has been great for my mental and physical health, and I have gotten to see some pretty amazing places I would have never visited before because of the COVID-19 outbreak. I have been able to stay on track with my fitness goals, and have come a far way in terms of strength since the beginning of ‘quarantine’, and I am very proud of that. My experience with weight training and eating healthy has made me a much more disciplined and motivated person, and I am thankful for the time that quarantine has given me to reach these goals.
I woke up on Saturday mid-morning. My sister and I went to our parents’ house to continue working on the records. After lunch with our dad, we finished getting the rest of the records that we had sorted into letter-based piles filed into the proper boxes. After that, I worked on last week’s blog post. After a while, I took a break for supper. After supper, my sister and I went home, and I got back to work. After I finished working, I continued watching that TV show. I went to bed a little before nine in the morning.
On Sunday, I woke up at three in the afternoon. I spent the whole day watching that TV show. I went to bed a little before four in the morning.
I woke up at noon on Monday. I continued watching the TV show until a little after six at night. That is when my parents showed up. My sister and I invited them over for supper. They left around ten, and I went back to watching that TV show. I went to bed just before one in the morning. I tossed and turned most of the night and barely got any sleep.
I got up on Tuesday at six in the morning. I did this because I am starting a new job on Wednesday and my shift starts at seven, and I wanted to try and get in the groove of getting up that early. I watched the TV show until ten in the morning. After that, my sister and I got ready to go back to our parents’ house to continue to work on the records. After lunch with our dad, we sorted the rest of the unsorted records into letter-based piles. When that was done, we took a nap. Once our parents’ both got home from work, we had supper and then went home. Once I got home, I started working on this blog post. After I finish this, I plan on watching more of that TV show until I go to bed around ten or eleven.
This experience has been unforgettable. Both going to school and working during this pandemic has been a unique and incredible experience. As a history major, it was fascinating to be able to live during this worldwide catastrophe. Doing this blog has also been an unforgettable experience. Having to pick apart everything that I did every day was both challenging and interesting. At first, I dreaded having to do this, but after a while, I started to enjoy it. Doing this kept me alert and attentive during a time where I probably would have just sunk into an endless expanse of doing nothing otherwise. This was an amazing experience. For the last time, that is all for today.
Today’s post in the “Tell Your Story” project comes from Taylor. This is the fourteenth and final post in his series.
This is the last time I will be writing this little COVID thing. It was an interesting experience and I know a lot of it wasn’t directly about the virus, but you can get that stuff from the news. I figure it was supposed to be about my experiences during the pandemic and I tried to be as transparent and true to reality as I could. My camping trip starts tomorrow and if everything goes according to plan, it should be really fun, but I doubt nothing will go wrong.
I am mostly worried about camping spots, since we are doing walk in camping, we cannot reserve it online nor see if there’s anyone there already, and the campground we are going to only has 6 walk in spots. Not to mention that all reservations for every campground in the area are taken for at least one of the days we are going to be out there, so it is proving to be a pretty popular spot. I think our saving grace is going to be that it’s supposed to rain a lot which I’m hoping will deter people from coming. I do wish we could go when there was no rain but more than a couple months in the making and we really don’t have another option now. Here’s to hoping that, even with the rain, it will be a fun trip and that there won’t be too many people nearby. I’m not sure how close the reservable spots are to the non-reservable, but I personally think it kind of defeats the purpose of camping to have a little camping community. There’s something fun about being isolated. Also, while we are opening up, we are still in a pandemic and while I have gone out often, I’ve been trying my best to stay away from people and wear my mask, though I’ll be the first to admit I forget to wear it sometimes. I need to be like my friends and just keep it in my wallet. Speaking of contact with others, I’m getting my first haircut today. I was really pushing it back, but it’s pretty bad and no one at my house will do it so I’m just going to bite the bullet and get it done. Perhaps while I’m out I can get some last-minute supplies as well. Also, I think sometime today we should formulate a backup plan, since a lot of things will have to go right for the trip to work. Though, everyone’s schedules are just different enough that we probably won’t have everyone to plan with until tomorrow. I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, I am going to go for a walk. I’ve been seeing a lot less people out lately, I wonder what changed that caused them all to leave. Less than two weeks ago, it was another person every minute or two, but now I can finish the entire walk and not see a single person. I am glad I’ve made a habit of walking every day. It’s a dull way to stay active but it’s more than nothing. It’s also just a good way to think and get away from the screen.
I’m not sure what else to talk about. I know this wasn’t that great of a finale, so I suppose I will talk about my plans for the future. After I’m done writing this, starting next year, I plan to declare my major in English, possibly with a minor in linguistics since I’m kind of on my way there already. It has taken me awhile to find a major and at this point, I think I should just pick something I like and if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out. After I graduate, I am planning on moving out of Iowa. I don’t really want to say where to because everyone I’ve told just makes fun of me or tells me I’m not actually going to do it, so I just won’t even say. I’m not really sure what job I want exactly, I have some ideas, but my parents seem to be disapproving of every single idea I’ve talked about, and I’ve been talking about possible jobs for a long time. Maybe there’s a reason I’m so indecisive about declaring a major and finding a job. I don’t know, whatever happens, happens. I’m sure I will accomplish some things and fail at others.
Anyway, I think that’s all from me. I hope these have been at least halfway interesting to read if nothing else. I hope that COVID starts to die off, though now that we’re reopening, I think we are going to see a huge resurgence in cases, which is already seeming to take place. Finally, I hope that the world becomes a better place. A lot of terrible things seem to be happening lately that have got me really bummed. A lot of stuff just feels pointless; hopeless. So, I hope against hope that things will get better.
On Saturday, my sister and I met my parents at my grandparents’ house to celebrate Father’s Day. We had lunch and then opened presents. The party got over around two in the afternoon. After that, my sister and I walked around Target for a while. After we left Target, we went to Petco, didn’t find anything, and then decided to go to Game Stop. At Game Stop, we found a few cheep games for our Xboxes. After that, we went home. Around five, I started working on last weeks blog post. I finished that around ten or eleven at night. Then I got on Netflix and watched that until I went to bed around three or four in the morning.
On Sunday, my sister and I came over to our parents’ house to celebrate Father’s Day with our dad. We watched TV and played board games. He opened a few more presents and we had supper. Then we went home. I stayed up until noon the next day watching TV.
I woke up on Tuesday at like four in the afternoon to a text from my sister saying that we need to stop using as much internet because we were only a third of the way through the pay period and had used two thirds of our data for that period, so I turned off the Wi-Fi on my phone and spent the whole day on TikTok. At some point that night, my sister came to my room and told me that her pet dwarf hamster had died. After that happened, she decided to just go over to our parents’ house after our parents get off of work to bury her hamster in our parents’ pet cemetery in the front yard instead of going over before lunch to spend the day working on my dad’s record collection on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I got up around four in the afternoon and then my sister and I went over to our parents’ house to bury her hamster and to celebrate our parents’ anniversary. After that, we went home, and I started watching a TV series that I have on DVD. I went to bed around ten thirty in the morning.
On Thursday, I got up at two thirty in the afternoon and watched that TV show the whole day. I went to bed around nine in the morning.
I woke up Friday at two thirty in the afternoon to a text from my sister telling me to help her boyfriend rearrange the apartment so that some of my sister’s friends could come over and we could all have a board game night. We got the apartment rearranged. I also took a shower. After my sister got home from work, the three of us went to the store to get stuff for supper and snacks for game night. A few minutes after we got back, my sister’s friends got there. My sister’s boyfriend cooked supper while my sister and her friends picked out some board games to play. After supper, we played board games until ten at night, and then my sister’s friends left. I watched a few more episodes of that TV show before going to bed around three in the morning.
In today’s post we hear from Taylor in the “Tell Your Story” project. This is the thirteenth post in his series.
The last week has been a lot of waiting. Waiting to go camping, waiting for people, waiting for repairs and packages. A lot of waiting means a lot of downtime, and to try and keep myself entertained, I have consumed so much media, or at least, so much more than I usually would. I don’t know what changed exactly, but my motivational rut has seemingly been reversed, now I want to do everything, instead of nothing at all. I picked up a new book and I’m more than halfway done, though it is not very long. The one thing I will say is that, though I think the author is really good at character dialogue and thoughts, the setting is usually briefly described if at all and she will transition from one area to the next without explicitly stating that the setting has changed. Also, some of the pacing is weird, but I like it. I’ve watched a handful of movies, some were surprisingly good and some I thought went in one direction and as it turned out, they went in the exact opposite. Rocketman for example, I knew it had music in it but I thought it was sort of grounded in reality, where they would only sing when they were singing on stage, but then it turned out to be a musical. Not knowing that beforehand, it was a little jarring when the characters stopped talking and started a little dance routine. I did like the central story behind Rocketman, with Elton John and his fame and struggles, but I don’t think the movie was for me. Not to say it was a bad movie though. Side note, I really liked the costume designs and the way the story was structured. Another movie I watched was Baby Driver. Now, I went into it expecting to just be a time waster, but it was a lot more interesting than I had expected. It was a lot goofier than I had anticipated, which isn’t a bad thing, and the characters were very enjoyable.
The ending was silly, but it was also the only conceivable way to get the characters out of the situation they were in I suppose. All in all, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Kevin Spacey’s character was by far my favorite, which is sad knowing what we know now. The last movie I’d like to talk about was Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was the weirdest movie I watched and was pretty much exactly how I had imagined it. Tim Curry as Frank N Furter is one of the best casting decisions I have ever seen. Some things I will say are that the story is very broken and things happen that are very random, including some plot points that feel like they were put in at the last second to pad the running time. However, the nature of the movie is so silly that it does work most of the time. The way my friend described it, it’s a very enjoyable movie, though not necessarily a good movie. I could agree with that. Somewhere, there’s a picture of me and friends with Barry Bostwick, who plays Brad in the movie, though I don’t know where it is, or if anyone still has it. The package I mentioned last time showed up, it is a VR headset. So far, it has been very enjoyable, though my brother and sister seem to agree, so I haven’t been able to use it nearly as much as I’d like. I think it’s kind of funny that my sister’s favorite thing to do with it is to watch YouTube, just regular YouTube. I think the biggest problem I have is that it starts to hurt your face after a while, and sometimes you can get really motion sick, but it is really fun to just mess around with stuff. I tried VRChat with a friend and we walked around and listened to people talk to each other. It was kind of hard to find each other sometimes and the game kept breaking, but when it did work, it was fun. I am eager to get some more games for it. This is probably my second to last entry since I will be going out of town soon. Hopefully,I will have something interesting to end it off on. Anyway, hopefully everyone is staying safe and informed as we transition back into society. If anyone was interested, I’ve been listening to a lot of Joan Jett and Skating Polly this last week Tomlinson 2The ending was silly, but it was also the only conceivable way to get the characters out of the situation they were in I suppose. All in all, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Kevin Spacey’s character was by far my favorite, which is sad knowing what we know now. The last movie I’d like to talk about was Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was the weirdest movie I watched and was pretty much exactly how I had imagined it. Tim Curry as Frank N Furter is one of the best castingdecisions I have ever seen. Some things I will say are that the story is very broken and things happen that are very random, including some plot points that feel like they were put in at the last second to pad the running time. However, the nature of the movie is so silly that it does work most of the time. The way my friend described it, it’s a very enjoyable movie, though not necessarily a good movie. I could agreewith that. Somewhere, there’s a picture of me and friends with Barry Bostwick, who plays Brad in the movie, though I don’t know where it is, or if anyone still has it.The package I mentioned last time showed up, it is a VR headset. So far, it has been very enjoyable, though my brother and sister seem to agree, so I haven’t been able to use it nearly as much as I’d like. I think it’s kind of funny that my sister’s favorite thing to do with it is to watch YouTube, just regular YouTube. I think the biggest problem I have is that it starts to hurt your face after a while, and sometimes you can get really motion sick, but it is really fun to just mess around with stuff. I tried VRChat with a friend and we walked around and listened to people talk to each other. It was kind of hard to find each other sometimes and the game kept breaking, but when it did work, it was fun. I am eager to get some more games for it. This is probably my second to last entry sinceI will be going out of town soon. Hopefully,I will have something interesting to end it off on. Anyway, hopefully everyone is staying safe and informed as we transition back into society. If anyone was interested, I’ve been listening to a lot of Joan Jett and Skating Polly this last week.