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 [email protected].
To Share Your Story
This project is creating a holistic understanding of student activism. Anyone with knowledge of student activism at GVSU who is welcome to share their story. Individuals may include current and former students involved in activist movements across campus as well as current and former administrators, faculty, or staff. Please contact Kimberly McKee ([email protected]; (616) 331-8196) if you’re interested in scheduling a time for an interview.
Participants will receive no compensation for their participation. Participants will receive a copy of their recorded oral history. These oral histories will be permanently archives in GVSU Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.
Voices of GVSU: Activism through the Decades
In February 2017, the Kutsche Office of Local History in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship and Special Collections & Archives hosted an exhibit highlighting student activism at the university form its founding until 1979. Featuring university photographs and articles in The Lanthorn, the exhibit underscored students’ social justice efforts. The exhibit also included more recent examples of student activism on campus, inviting viewers to consider the question “How do you define activism?” Special thanks to Andrew Collier, who served as the OURS Undergraduate Research Assistant on this project, and undergraduate student Courtney Wagasky, who designed the exhibit posters.