New Collection – Volunteer Students Bureau

Newspaper Clipping

Walking around campus, it is easy to spot flyers advertising opportunities for students to volunteer their time at local Bloomington nonprofits.  It had always seemed to me that my high school and undergraduate years saw a sharp increase in volunteerism, but while processing the records of the Volunteer Students Bureau I learned that student volunteerism is nothing new here at the Bloomington campus.  The Volunteer Students Bureau (VSB) was established in 1969 as a way for IU students to connect to the community and learn about volunteer opportunities.  The organization’s first administrative coordinator, Rebecca Sandridge, used the term “communiversity” to describe the link between Bloomington and Indiana University.

The VSB has been involved in the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, Cans for a Cause, roadside cleanup, Children’s Holiday Wish Program, Meals on Wheels, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, and Hilltop Garden among many others.  In 1999, the VSB’s efforts were recognized when the organization was awarded the JCPenny Golden Rule Award.  The collection is largely made up of administrative files, although there is an assortment of newspaper clippings and yearly files.

Interested in finding out more? Contact the Archives!

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The Mysterious Board of Aeons

A box recently arrived at the University Archives with this t-shirt inside:

Aeons Shirt Front      Aeons Shirt Back

As the shirt suggests, students here at IU generally do not know much about the Board of Aeons.  I did not know anything about the group myself when I began processing this collection since I’m new here and I was a little afraid to ask when I saw this shirt! After a little research and some work in the existing Aeons collection, I am ready to give you an explanation that will not be as dangerous as one from a wearer of this shirt.

The Board of Aeons has quite a long history at Indiana University.  The group was established in 1921 under President William Lowe Bryan.  With a name inspired by the mythical Aeons placed between heaven and earth, they were charged with serving as liaison between university administration and the student body.  Although the group has never been truly secret, it does keep a low profile so that they can continue their work effectively without undue influence. The Aeons conduct research and create resulting recommendations on campus matters at the request of the administration but their role as active members of the campus community also give them the opportunity to address issues as they see them on campus.  As a result, in the course of its history, the Aeons have had significant impact on policies relating to major issues such racism and discrimination both on campus and in the community. Known to few, the Aeons have been quietly affecting big changes on campus for over 90 years.

Interested in learning more about the Aeons? Contact the Archives!

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Cold War Education – Howard D. Mehlinger

Mehlinger Main image

Howard Mehlinger began his life-long career in the Indiana University School of Education in 1965. With an eye to research, his academic career focused on investigating social studies education practices and curriculum, rather than serve as a full-time educator himself.  In addition, he served as Dean of the School of Education from 1981 to 1989 and helped to establish the Center for Excellence in Education, of which he served as director beginning in 1993 and well into his retirement.  Among the various projects and areas he focused on, two subjects dominated his career.

Mehlinger blog photo 3

“Lessons Learned for Global Education Collaboration: Practical Knowledge Acquired from the US/USSR Textbook Study Project”

From 1977 until 1989, Dr. Mehlinger was heavily involved in what was named the US/USSR Textbook Study Project.  This project looked to compare the two nations and their interpretation of history as it was affected by nationalist and political sentiments of the time period and to work towards creating a more uniform, globalized representation of history.  Well represented in his papers, this portion of the collection includes reports, trip itineraries, notes on meetings with Soviet officials and scholars, ample correspondence, and speeches.  The reports and findings touch on issues such as curriculum, Perestroika, and the Ministry of Education, which IU had a particularly favorable relationship with at the time.  For Mehlinger and other researchers, the project came to a head when United States and Soviet relations eventually became too marred by the Soviet-Afghan War and the slow collapse of the communist government in the Soviet Union. While Mehlinger did not end the project entirely, his involvement with it tapered off in the early-to-mid 1990s.  However, he continued to research Russian education throughout his remaining tenure at IU and into his retirement.

Another area of study Professor Mehlinger focused on was technology in education.  This area of research became a major interest of his in the late 1980s and continued throughout his retirement in the 2000s as he became a private consultant for various advisory groups and school districts.  Of particular interest to him were long distance education, instruction, and communication using computers and two-way audio-visual devices.  Mehlinger worked to make IU a forerunner in educational technology through the use of technology in the classroom.  Mehlinger’s papers include numerous articles he wrote on the subject and reports he generated for various consulting positions.

To access Dr. Mehlinger’s papers or for further information, contact the staff at the Archives!

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Throwback Thursday: A voice from 1939

In 2006, the Indiana Memorial Union gallery underwent major renovations, moving the IMU Outfitters and adding the Starbucks. In the midst of construction, workers came across a very interesting find inside one of the walls:

imu letter013

The mice enjoyed snacking on this letter found in the IMU walls during a 2006 renovation and addressed to the Director of the Union Building.

Student Emerson K. Elkins worked as a page at the IMU Hotel as a student in the 1930s. On the morning of January 15, 1939, he apparently had a bit of downtime and decided to make his mark by shooting off a quick a letter and depositing it, along with a Coke bottle, hotel keys, and a few other various items into an open wall where renovations were taking place.

His letter, written in a chatty tone “for no particular reason,” gives some indication of what was on the mind of college student in 1939, which included Hitler, the World’s Fair, and Hollywood’s big news that finally! Scarlett O’Hara has been found in a Miss Vivien Leigh!

imu letter012

imu letter011

When discovered, this local story generated interest throughout the country. Not much was known about Mr. Elkins until his niece stumbled across the story in the newspaper. She immediately contacted the University and filled in some gaps for her uncle’s alma mater (IDS story and here).

Before the walls closed, then-Public Relations Director for the Union Board, Emma Cullen, who had also served a page for the hotel, was asked to place her own time capsule for the next generation to uncover.

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Indiana University, close?

List updated January 13, 2014! 

On Twitter and Facebook I’m seeing lots of calls for the IUB campus to close but lots of doubts that it will happen because we “never” close. It’s true that it is not very common, but below are a list of closings we know about in the last hundred years or so:

  • February 3, 1908: No heat in the buildings.
  • February 5, 1908: Classes dismissed early due to heavy snow fall and rain.
  • Most of October, 1918: Due to the “Spanish Flu.”
  • November 25, 1963: Classes cancelled and offices closed due to Kennedy assassination.
  • January 26-27, 1978: Due to the Blizzard of ’78.
  • March 4-27, 1978: Due to coal shortage.
  • January 18-19, 1994: Due to record low temperatures (-34F).
  • March 20, 1996: Due to 10+ inches of wet, heavy snow.
  • February 14, 2007: Closed til noon due to heavy snow.
  • January 28, 2009: Closed due to snow.
  • December 26, 2012: Closed due to severe winter weather.
  • January 6-7, 2014: Closed due to “Polar Vortex
During the 1978 Blizzard, hearty IUB staff members who made their way in could be nominated for an “Icicle Award.”

1978 Icicle Award

1978 Icicle Award

Twenty two employees received this award, including 60 year old Willkie cafeteria employee Minnie Carmichael, who walked 20 blocks with a strained ankle so that “her students would be greeted with her smiling face.”

So, there you have it. If you are among those calling for a closure today, cross your fingers and toes and you may get your wish!
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