Digital History at Ursinus

Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Bears Make GSA History

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About

Welcome to Bears Make GSA History! Our exhibit examines the history of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (formerly known as GALA) at Ursinus College, (located in southeastern Pennsylvania) from 1991 to 2000. Join us as we examine the discussions about, representations of, and controversies surrounding the formation and first ten years of the GSA, as seen in articles published in the school newspaper, The Grizzly.

Our project asks the question: "How did the GSA handle conflict and controversies in its first ten years of existence?" Our major subsections are as follows:

Genesis: GALA, 1991. Explore the formation and first semester of the Ursinus College GSA as it weathered visceral public defamation at the hands of a small but vocal group of students and professors. 

Conflict and Conversation: 1995. Examine continued debate about GALA, sexuality, and the LGBTQ+ community at Ursinus College. Several articles condemn the group, while many other voices advocate. 

LGBTQ+ Identities in Media, 2000: Explore representations of the LGBTQ+ community in popular culture in the New Millennium. 

Global: Connect the microhistory of local events with national trends. 

We would like to thank Ms. Carolyn Weigel, Mr. Andy Prock, Ms. Christine Ianicelli, and Drs. Throop and McShane for making this project possible. Ms. Weigel opened the Ursinusiana archives for our research, guiding our research processes by directing us to resources and contacts. Mr. Prock's expertise on scanning made the digitization of our project possible, while Ms. Ianicelli's technical knowledge gave us confidence in navigating Omeka.

 

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Reading Between the Letters: Inclusivity of Marginalized Groups in Ursinus College's Greek Life

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Reading Between the Letters is an Ursinus digital history project that records the inclusion of marginalized groups within Greek Life from the 1970s to present day. During this time frame, values of diversity and inclusion began to gain momentum on a national scale with the civil rights and feminist movements. Our research seeks to understand how Ursinus was affected by and responded to the national discourse on diversity and Greek life.

Our research question is: How inclusive has Greek life on campus been of marginalized groups, including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community?

Our primary sources include Ursinus' newspaper articles, especially opinions and editorial pieces, to understand overall inter-fraternity and sorority policies and broader student body responses. We also use photos from the yearbooks of Greek organizations to complement our findings from the newspapers. Our exhibit presents and compares articles about greeks, faculty, and the student body as a whole to gage the way racial and gender inclusivity has played a role in Greek life. 

The sections of this project include:

The History of Ursinus' Greek Life: a timeline of the complete history of Greek organizations at Ursinus and overview of the past conflicts about pledging between administration and Greek life.

Gender Segregation and Inclusion in Greek Life: a discussion on critiques of Greek life's gender segregation and information about the four gender-inclusive Greek organizations in Ursinus' history.

Racial Diversity and Inclusion in Greek Life: Ursinus has had Greek organizations on campus for the past 110 years, but the campus only saw organizations focused on racial diversity and inclusion starting 25 years ago. This section will focus on why these racially diverse organizations were present and how Ursinus responded to this. 

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The Curtain Club's Closing Curtain

The Curtain Club was Ursinus' student theater organization that definitively originated in 1930, but it disappeared in 1968. During the same year, the club changed its name to "ProTheatre." By analyzing past articles from the Ursinus Weekly, Ruby yearbooks, diversity ratios among students, performances, and campus trends from the 1950s until 1968, we demonstrate that the name signifies Ursinus' focus on the transition into a more inclusive and democratic environment. Reorganizing the "Curtain Club" into "ProTheatre" signifies Ursinus' shift into being "pro-change."

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