Changing Heart of MSU’s Campus: End of the Year Update
This academic year has been enlightening and challenging for me. I dove into continuing a specific project that explores the heart of campus at MSU. I used archival evidence to glean the social, structural and spacial landscape of campus throughout the four time periods of the first 100 years of campus. Using scrapbooks, administration correspondence, and annual reports, I analyzed the changes in campus over time and how different buildings were used and how these buildings represent where MSU was developmentally and in social context with the rest of the state and country. For each time period, the spaces selected to represent the center of campus were: 1855-1870- College Hall and Saints’ Rest, 1870-1900- The Sacred Space, 1900-1925- Red Cedar River, and 1925-1955- Beaumont Tower.
I was able to work with Katy Meyers to create a poster that outlined the archaeological and archival evidence for these choices and presented it at the Graduate Academic Conference here at MSU. The poster gathered attention and praise from various graduate students and visitors, and was judged very highly. It was a great way to allow others to visualize the expansion of campus over time and what events propagated the growth. It also invited viewers to chime in on where they experience the heart of campus today, which gleaned a variety of results, perhaps demonstrating that the diversity on campus may allow for several “hearts” of campus.
My next task is to sort through all of the data I submerged myself in and try to make sense of what these spaces say about MSU in general and how they indicate who we are today and where we are going. I will continue working on my final report that supplements a previous paper written by a CAP student and will expand on the poster we presented. I will also input all of the scrapbook data into our database, which will hopefully allow for future CAP fellows to easily survey the types of evidence housed in the archives.
Participating in Science Festival was another big project this year; I was able to be an ambassador for the archaeology program and Campus Archaeology to some young and ambitious junior high school students. It was invaluable to utilize that avenue to reach the community and inform them of all the things CAP is involved in on our historic campus. Hopefully events like this will draw more involvement from future students and community organizations in all of the important work we do.
I was lucky to be able to participate in surveys on campus, something I may never have been able to take part in. These really grounded me in a sense of place on campus which often times felt enormous and contributed to my analysis in my project.
Though I am not an archaeologist, this year provided me with diverse experiences and methodology that I can perhaps utilize in my future research, and all of the projects enriched my learning and graduate experience. I want to thank Dr. Goldstein for her guidance and vision as well as Katy for all of her support and ideas. It was a pleasure to work with you and each of the CAP fellows this year.