Shippensburg University Residence Hall History Project
Over the past fifty years, tens of thousands of Shippensburg students have called the Shippensburg’s residence halls home. Beginning in 2012, Shippensburg University will begin demolishing some of the older residence halls to make way for new university housing.
The Shippensburg residence halls are not only brick and mortar—they were the spaces where students lived, studied, socialized, dreamed, loved, played, and learned. Most Shippensburg students spent more time in their residence halls than any other building on campus. The communities that flourished in these structures are a critical part of the Shippensburg story—a history that should be remembered and preserved long after the buildings have vanished into rubble.
To document and preserve that history, History professors Dr. Steven Burg and Dr. David Godshalk in cooperation with librarian Karen Daniel of the Shippensburg University Archives have launched the Shippensburg Residence Hall History Project. This effort seeks to document, preserve, and share the experiences of Shippensburg students who lived in the on-campus residence halls. We are particularly interested in documenting the history of the halls facing imminent demolition-- Lackhove Hall, Kieffer Hall, McCune Hall, the Seavers Apartments—but we would also welcome memories of life in other residence halls. In the spring of 2011, students in Godshalk and Burg’s research methods classes, History 203: Theory and Practice of History, are beginning the work of researching and writing historical studies about life in Shippensburg’s residence halls and the men and women who called them home.
Alumni: We need your help!
While the Shippensburg University Archives contains a wealth of historical documents, those sources contain little information about the day to day life of students who lived in the residence halls. In order to tell those stories, we are asking Shippensburg graduates to share their stories. We would love for you to dig deep both into your memories, and perhaps memorabilia tucked into your closet or attic, to share your experiences while you were at Shippensburg. We are particularly interested in the early history of the post-World War II residence halls and student life in the 1960s and 1970s, but our goal is to document the entire span of residential life on campus. Our students will use your stories as part of their research projects, and then your materials and the students’ research papers will be donated so that they can become a permanent part of the collections of the Shippensburg University Archive.
Three Ways Shippensburg Alumni Can Contribute to This Project:
IMPORTANT: Due to confidentiality and copyright consideration, we are only able to accept materials that are accompanied by a signed release form. We ask that individuals only submit information if they are willing to share that information with the public, and if they are comfortable with the conditions described within the release form. Unfortunately, we will need to destroy all materials not accompanied by a signed release form.
By U.S. Mail:
- Print out and complete the Background Information and Release Form, and then mail it with your recollections to us at the following address: Shippensburg Residence Hall History Project, c/o Dr. Steven Burg, Department of History, Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257.
Electronically Via Email:
- Download the Background Information and Release Form, and then attach them to an email containing your recollections. Or, type your recollections into the body of an email and then cut and paste the forms into the email. Send the complete email message to firstname.lastname@example.org , and please place “Residence Hall History Project” in the message line.
Oral Interview with a Current Shippensburg Student:
- If you would be willing to have students interview you (by telephone or in person) to learn more about your experiences, please complete the Background Information and Release Form and then send it to us by U.S. Mail or by email. Send the email to email@example.com , and please place “Oral History--Residence Hall History Project” in the message line. By U.S. Mail, send the Information Sheet and Release Form to Shippensburg Residence Hall History Project, c/o Dr. Steven Burg, Department of History, Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257. Note: We are only planning to do 10-20 interviews, so interviewees will be selected based on their availability, and so as to reflect diverse experiences and time periods of campus residential life.
Consider sharing your recollections on one or more of the following topics:
- Residence Life—What was it like living in each of the dorms or apartments where you resided? What were the rules in the dorms? How were these rules enforced? How did you choose to live there? Did you know other people before you moved in, or did you meet other people? How did it compare to what you were used to back home? What was it like having a roommate? How and where did the students living in the dorms interact with each other? Did you have more or less freedom in the dorms that you had at home? Are there any events or incidents that you remember as being especially striking or noteworthy during your time in the dorms or your time on campus? What memories, if any, do you have of saying goodbye to family members when you first arrived
- Going Co-Ed: Do you remember when the dorms changed from single sex to co-ed? Was that a big deal? Did you prefer to remain in a single-sex dorm, or did you want to be in a co-ed dorm? Why? Was the change controversial? Was there any prestige or stigma attached to the co-ed dorms? How did the university handle the change? What did parents think of co-ed dorms?
- Campus Social Life—What did you do for fun? Where did students “hang out” on campus? What kinds of off-campus social activities existed? What were the big social events on campus? Did many students work? What role, if any, did alcohol and/or drugs appear to play in the social lives of students?
- Clubs, Organizations, and Greek Life—Were you involved in any organizations, clubs, or groups when you were on campus? What kinds of activities did they do? Were you active in a fraternity or sorority? If so, why did you join? How did being in a Greek organization influence your time at Shippensburg? What role did Student Government play on campus? What impact did extracurricular activities have on your social and academic life?
- Veterans and Active Military Personnel on Campus—What was it like to be a military veteran on campus? What were the challenges that veterans faced? What type of support or organizations were there for veterans?
- Campus Athletics—What was it like to be a student-athlete on campus? How did you balance athletics and academics? Who was your coach? What was he or she like? Were there any interesting stories, events, or competitions that you can recall? What role did collegiate athletics and athletic-associated activities such as Homecoming play in the social life of campus?
- Impact of Wars and National and World Events on Campus—How did major national or international events impact your time on campus (Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, 9/11, etc.)? Do you remember the impact of things like the draft, campus protests, or speakers who came to campus to talk about world events? Did you participate in any events (such as campus protests), or have feelings about events taking place on campus or in the world? Did you discuss such events in the dorms?
- Race Relations and Civil Rights: What were race relations like during your time in the campus? In the residence hall? Did white and African-American students socialize together? What activities and organizations do you think played an important role in supporting students of color on campus? What organizations, activities, and resources encouraged interracial understanding and encouraged interracial interactions? Did white and African-American students date? For students on campus during the 1960s, to what extent did the events of the Civil Rights movement impact campus? What differences, if any, did you notice in the experiences of different racial or ethnic groups?
- Women on Campus: Did you notice any differences between the experiences of men and women on campus? Any differences in their treatment? Were there any significant changes in the role of women during your time on campus? Since you left campus? Do you remember the role of any particular women on campus—staff, faculty, or administrators? What role did women’s organizations or the Women’s Center play in your campus experience?
- The Town of Shippensburg: What are your memories of the town of Shippensburg? What was the relationship between students and the local community like? What places off campus played important roles in the social and professional lives of students?
- Interaction of Student and Professors—Were there any professors who were particularly memorable? What role did professors and administrators play in your social life and in your development as a person? Did students and professors interact outside of class? Were there any classes that were particularly memorable?
- Technology on Campus--What technology did you use when you were a student on campus? How did the technology change while you were on campus—electric typewriters, telephones, computers, pagers, cell phones. Do you remember any big changes or new changes that occurred while you were a student? How did you schedule for classes? Did you feel that Shippensburg was technologically advanced, or behind the times?
- Relations with Parents and Family: How often did you communicate or see your family? How did you communicate? What did you talk about? Do you remember any interesting conversations with your parents? What concerns did they have about your life at college?
- Your Experience: What was the college experience like for you? Did any big changes take place in your life? What do you remember most vividly about your time at Shippensburg? Your life in the residence halls? Any interesting events during your time at Shippensburg?
- Friends: Who were your friends? How did you meet them? What did you do together? Did you keep in touch after college?
- Romance: What was dating like on campus? Where did people go for dates? Did you know anyone who was having a long-distance relationship, or had a boyfriend or girlfriend back home? Do you remember any interesting stories about romance or dating in the dorms?
- Residential Life Staff (Resident Assistants): Why did you choose to become an Resident Assistant? What did you like best about your work as a resident assistant? What was the hardest part about being a resident assistant? Do you remember any interesting stories from your time as a resident assistant?
- What do you think are the greatest differences in your life as a student and the lives of current students at Shippensburg University?
Thank you for your interest in the Shippensburg Residence Hall History Project!
Dr. Steven Burg, Professor of History, firstname.lastname@example.org, (717-477-1189)
Dr. David Godshalk, Professor of History
Karen Daniel, Librarian, Shippensburg University Archives
*All photos courtesy of the Shippensburg University Archives and Cumberland yearbooks.