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An Evening with SCoSAA

With the final weeks of the fall semester just around the corner, life has been a bit hectic around here. In between the reading, papers, and projects that I need to do for all three of my classes, finding time to relax has become somewhat of an afterthought, at least for me. However, every now and then, an event on campus catches my eye, something that despite how busy I am, I want to try and find time to attend. Well, last week, I found out from a classmate that SCoSSA (the Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists) was going to be hosting a panel discussion on the topic of community and social justice archives. With guest speakers from Northeastern, Brandeis, and Simmons, the event, which was held last night, would focus on discussing the challenges and considerations connected to community and social records and the responsibilities and decisions of the archives and archivists to handle them. Considering that  1). I only live about ten minutes away from campus, 2). this was a topic that I was genuinely interested in, and 3). there would be free food, I decided that this would be a perfect reason to take a break from my homework and other projects and come down to campus.
As mentioned, the event kicked off with a free meal in the Faculty and Staff Dining Room. Not only was the food delicious (the lasagna in particular was met with acclaim), but it was also a great chance to talk with fellow students and professors alike outside of the classroom. It was nice to actually be on campus and not be worried about writing a paper or finishing up an XML project. Sometimes, I forget about the many wonderful events and opportunities that the student groups in SLIS frequently offer throughout the year. At the same, I also forget that I can come over to campus for something other than class or homework. Yes, those are its main uses, but the campus is also a great place to meet and catch up with friends and often has multiple activities going on; you just need to know where to look. Last year when I lived further away, I would only come to Simmons if I absolutely had to; now I pop over frequently. Not only does the area serve as a nice change of scene for when I get sick of being inside my apartment, but it enables me to feel more connected to the student community that SLIS and Simmons is trying to foster. While this post wasn't meant to be a plug for coming to campus more often, I do suggest it if possible. There are a lot of opportunities and fun events there that are worth checking out. Anyway, back to SCoSAA...
 
After dinner, we all took a quick field trip to room C103 where the actual panel was taking place. For the next hour and a half, we, the audience, learned about social justice and community archives from the perspective of the guest speakers. Of the three speakers, my personal two favorites were the archivists from Northeastern and Brandeis. The archivist from Northeastern, Giordana Mecagni, started off the group by talking about a recently completed project that focused on creating a model of one of the first buildings related to Northeastern University. The model replica of the location, the YMCA, was created through the collaboration of various departments within Northeastern, including the archives. Her discussion of the entire process, which included examining historic blueprints and converting them into digital renderings, was fascinating. The building itself was important not just to Northeastern, but to the local community as well from both a social and historic perspective. The speaker from Brandeis, Maggie McNeely, spoke about the importance of ensuring that the archive is acting the same in both social justice and the community. At Brandeis, the academic curriculum is one that ensures such topics do not go un-addressed. That level of interest not only makes her job more fun, but also ensures that the archive remains a vital part of the university for generations to come.
 
Overall, this was a great event, and I'm happy that I was able to find time to attend. If you are interested in SCoSSA, check out their website: http://gslis.simmons.edu/blogs/scosaa/ and facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SCoSAA for more information. 
 
Well this was fun, but it looks like it's time to get back to work. After all, a month from now, the semester will be over!

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