Campus Archaeology at GAC

This Friday, Sabrina Perlman and Katy Meyers will be presenting a poster on behalf of Campus Archaeology at the Graduate Academic Conference hosted by the Council of Graduate Students here at MSU’s Kellogg Hotel Conference Center. This is the fifth year of the GAC, a cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional conference that promotes innovation, collaboration, and professionalization.  Over the past four years, the GAC has provided a great great opportunity for graduate and professional students to come together, share research, and initiate discussion and feedback. It also provides a space for networking, recognizing outstanding achievements, and receiving critique of ideas in a constructive environment. It allows for collaborative work between students and faculty and between research institutions. The keynote speaker is Michael Sharber from Western Michigan University, co-founder of GreenLancer Energy Inc. The presentation schedule and more information about the GAC is located here.

This conference is the perfect opportunity for Sabrina to introduce the Heart of Campus project she has been working on since last semester. The poster being presented is entitled, “The Heart of Michigan State University’s Campus: Investigation of MSU’s Changing Landscape, Identity and Priorities.” It essentially asks the question, “Where is the Heart of Campus?” both today and throughout history. Campus Archaeology Program has divided the first 100 years of MSU’s campus into four thematic time periods using archaeological and archival evidence. These time periods represent different stages of campus development in relation to the shifting focus of the college and greater social processes. The purpose of these groupings is to demonstrate shifts in foci and development into MSU. For each period, there is a central location that represents the Heart of Campus, the space where students and faculty convened together, reflecting their sense of place and their identity as a college. As we examine the previous centers of campus and how they reveal the different focal points of MSU’s evolving landscape which correlate with the historical, educational, and regional realities of each period, we are interested in what current students consider the Heart of Campus today and what that means for our collective identity.

Each time period and respective Heart of Campus is determined by archival and archaeological resources that demonstrate what people were experiencing in the greater world and on campus and how these shaped interactions with the MSU landscape and buildings. These centers are as follows: 1855-1870- College Hall and Saints’ Rest, 1870-1900- The Sacred Space, 1900-1925- Red Cedar River, and 1925-1955- Beaumont Tower. Where is the Heart of Campus today? Students will be asked to pinpoint with a sticker on a current map of MSU which location or space on campus represents their collective identity and the interactions of the college with the greater world. If you are interested to see why these locations were the Heart of Campus for these periods and the shifts in identity that the campus was undergoing at each time, come visit the poster on Friday, February 15 from 1-3 pm. We would love to hear your feedback on our categorizations and your perspectives on today’s Heart of Campus and the future trajectory of our institution.

With the help of director Dr. Goldstein and Campus Archaeologist Katy Meyers, working on this poster presentation has been a focusing force for Sabrina in her project and has enabled her to look at the data concisely and categorize the information thematically. This will be invaluable to the completion of her collaborative paper on the Heart of Campus for Campus Archaeology Program and hopefully demonstrate the importance of our work at MSU.

Author: Sabrina

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