Although the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s sesquicentennial celebration is five years away, preparations are already underway as students in a University Studies Program Quest III course seek to collect the memories of UWO alumni, faculty and staff.
The multi-year UW Oshkosh Campus Stories Oral History Project launches this spring semester as students in UWO lecturer Jeffrey Pickron’s History 210 course set out to interview dozens of members of the campus community. The University Studies Program, or USP, is UW Oshkosh’s general education program.
“By conducting oral history interviews, we are able to engage the past by tapping the unique and very personal perspectives of people who experienced it,” said University Archivist Joshua Ranger.
Historians use original records created by individuals from earlier times when interpreting events, lives and ideas of the past.
“Conducing oral history interviews allows us to go beyond these records and ask new questions, discover new interpretive angles and recover fascinating untold stories,” he said.
Students in the class will conduct one-on-one recorded interviews with former students, faculty and staff who are willing to share their stories about attending or working at UWO from 1950 to 2015. The interviews will likely take 45 to 60 minutes to complete
Project coordinators hope to collect stories related to a wide variety of experiences on campus from dorm and Greek life to the experience of student nurses and the impact of Title IX on athletics.
“This work will help us fill in the holes of our institutional history and, equally important, allow individuals tied to the campus to get their perspectives recorded in their own words,” Ranger explained.
The students will hone their critical-thinking skills and take part in a lasting addition to the campus’ historical record.
Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, UW Oshkosh will celebrate its place as one of the oldest institutions in Oshkosh as well as one of the five oldest “master’s universities” in the state.
To learn more about the project or to volunteer to share your story, visit oralhistory.uwosh.edu/