JHU Bicycle Club, 1983. Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives
JHU Bicycle Club, 1983. Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives

The number and variety of student organizations are a great part of student life at Hopkins. There’s something out there for everyone! Maybe you stopped by the Student Involvement Fair this month and discovered your kindred spirits in the Hopkins Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Would it surprise you to know it has been around since 1974? Or maybe you’re more of a music person and plan to join the Choral Society. It’s been part of Hopkins since 1883 (and count Woodrow Wilson among its alumni).

How do we know the histories of these groups? The job of the University Archives is to acquire, manage, and preserve records that document the functions of our university. Student life is an important part of Hopkins and we collect records from student organizations to help document them for future generations. Alumni, historians, family history researchers, current students — lots of people are interested in student life from years gone by. To see a list of our student life collections, visit this page on the University Archives website and scroll down to the “Student Publications, Clubs, and Organizations” section.

It can be difficult to collect student organization records, though. Offices move, new leadership is elected every year, sometimes things get forgotten or thrown away, or digital files are deleted. Without those records, though, the archives can’t document your group’s history and share it with the community. So, we need your help!

If your group has records that you are not actively using, donate them to the University Archives! We accept all sorts of material, including digital files. Take a look at our collecting policy to see what we are looking for, then contact hopkinsretro@jhu.edu to let us know what you have. YOU can be the one to secure your group’s place in Hopkins’ history. The photos you took at last year’s barbecue or poetry reading might not seem like valuable historical material to you. But 30, 50, or even 100 years from now, people will be looking at them with the same sense of wonder and nostalgia that we get today looking at Hopkins photos from the 1880s.

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