The University Archives preserves the institutional memory of Columbia University from its founding in 1754 to the present day. While the University has been well documented through the records of the administration, faculty, schools and academic departments, records that capture the Columbia student experience are underrepresented. To ensure that the history of student life as seen through the eyes of students is sufficiently documented, student groups are encouraged to donate the inactive records of their organizations to the University Archives. These records are essential to fully documenting and understanding of Columbia’s history because they tell a story of the University that is missing from the official records. The University Archives is an option that is available to your organization for the long-term storage and preservation of your records but it is not mandatory.
The University Archives can assist student organizations in developing their recordkeeping practices to preserve their group’s history. Because students spend a limited amount of time on campus, we hope to share some solutions for how to maintain your organization’s history in a way that can be passed down to future members. We can help you sort significant records from those that can be safely discarded and offer best practices for storing, organizing and making your records accessible, whether or not you choose to donate your organization’s records to the University Archives.
In addition to the student organization records, the University Archives actively collects student publications such as the student newspaper, the Spectator, the literary magazine The Blue and the White, the humor magazine The Jester, and the political magazine The Columbia Political Review. Other publications can be found as part of the Historical Subject Files. There is advice in this guide that will help you store paper copies of publications for long-term preservation as well as information on how to manage electronic records and how to archive websites and social media accounts. If you would like to know about our current holdings of your student publication, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about which records to keep and which to discard, how to store archival materials, how to archive digital records and websites, how to donate materials or any related matters, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
Left - Jewish Students Society, 1932 Columbian. Scan 0814; center - Model U.N., 2011 Columbian, Scan 5028; right - Banjo Club, 1896-1897. Scan 3374, Historical Photograph Collection.