By: Laura Abraham
NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is happy to announce that the University Student Center Records are now processed and available for research. The collection contains files and other items related to the general administrative and departmental transactions of the Student Center, as well as materials from the production and promotion of its events, services, and activities.
One of the most interesting parts of the of the collection is the scrapbooks, made yearly between 1953 to 1964 to commemorate the events and activities related to and occurring at the Student Center, and are filled with newspaper clippings, programs from events, and promotional materials such as posters and flyers. However, as is the case with most scrapbooks their age, the adhesive has wasted away, so many of the items glued or taped to the pages have become loose. During the processing of the scrapbooks, an attempt was made to replicate the original layout of each page so they could be photographed before the loose items were filed separately.
The records range from 1941 to 2008 and reflect the history of the University Student Center, as well as how it functions today. The Student Center is a student organization established to give students and other community members a centralized location on campus which provides essential facilities, programs, and services. It was established with the purpose of enriching students’ lives by teaching them social and recreational skills, and to provide them with the opportunity of extracurricular activity without having to leave campus.
The earliest model of a student center on N C State’s (then, State College’s) campus was the King Religious Center (also called the YMCA Building), which opened in 1913. Taking note of the success of student unions on other college campuses, N C State took the initiative to create their own, starting in 1948. The first official student union was founded in 1951 and later named the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union. In 1972, the newly built Talley Student Union replaced the Erdahl-Cloyd Union. Today, the College’s student center is actually the University Student Centers, consisting of Talley, the Witherspoon Student Center, the Price Music Center, and Thompson Hall.
In addition to providing students with social and recreational opportunities on campus, the Student Center organization has always offered a number of other services. It is the host of programs for academic and professional development, as well as being renowned as a performance venue since it was established, providing theater and music showings, film screenings, and forum discussions.
The University Student Center Records show how the Center has changed, but it still provides the services for which it was established. For more information about the collection, please consult the collection guide.