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Histories of Student Activism at GVSU

The Histories of Student Activism at GVSU highlights and examines the past and present organizing work conducted by graduate and undergraduate students at Grand Valley State University since it’s founding. This project documents the organizing work of students from underrepresented groups throughout the university’s history. Consequently, this research traces the genealogy of contemporary examples of activism on campus to their predecessors. As campuses across the nation become involved in movements, a new student-activist has emerged. Activism has become part of the university experience for students committed to social justice, which is why this project historicizes campus activism to broader events occurring across the U.S.

The initial phase of this project launched in Fall 2016. Focused on archival research, we are working with University Special Collections and Archives as we review news articles, posters, photographs, correspondence, among other materials to better understand the various issues that sparked student engagement. We are paying careful attention to how student organizations and student leaders discussed their work as well as how faculty, staff , and administration characterized student activism.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project or getting involved, please email