History reflected through bedazzling student projects

by Erin Madsen

Eight University students showcased their freshman seminar final projects to historians and librarians on Tuesday.
Students first presented their historical perspective projects on the University to their instructor, Tim Hoogland at the McNamara Alumni Center, and then to Wilson Archive librarians and University Historian Ann Pflaum.
College of Liberal Arts freshman Sarah Johnson said Hoogland was testing how well they could present their projects, and the librarians came by to browse and see how the archive materials were used.
“We used the archives a lot, so they know us well,” Johnson said.
The seminar, called Making History Public, focused on the history of the University. The seminar was also offered last year.
“(The course encourages students) to do in-depth archival research,” Hoogland said. “It’s the second year (the class has) turned out to use the U’s history for content and structure for projects.”
Students were able to choose projects they were interested in but had to find substantial evidence in University archives and libraries that their topic was important to the University, Hoogland added.
Jill Sorensen, CLA freshman, said she chose to research University women in the Depression era. She said she was surprised by the information her research yielded.
“President Coffman had fired married women because he figured that their husbands could support them,” Sorensen said.
Hoogland said the seminar’s theme was directly related to the University’s sesquicentennial and the research allowed the students to learn beyond the classroom.
“The University archives is such an untapped treasure,” Hoogland added. “And it gets students involved in the sesquicentennial.”
The students were also required to maintain a personal journal as part of their fall semester course work.
Hoogland said the students created something they will refer to in the future by keeping a journal.
“They’re creating their own historical record,” he said.
As for the library and history enthusiasts, they were there to express encouragement and appreciation of the finished projects.
University historian, Ann Pflaum, said she was simply there as “a dazzled admirer.”

Erin Madsen welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3233