Emporia State’s history is under attack.
Some of ESU’s Archives, containing over a hundred years’ worth of archived materials are infested with active mold bloom.
These include historical photographs, academic journals, archived issues of The Bulletin and bound issues of The Sunflower, ESU’s yearbook.
The documents are stored in a building that by many standards should be condemned. If we wanted to keep these documents safe, it would follow that we would keep them in a location that would lend its self to being safe, not in a building in such poor condition.
These documents are records of where we’ve been. Our roots. They tell us what we’ve done right, so we can do it again, and what we’ve done wrong, so we can avoid it. This mold problem is a devaluation of the importance of our history and makes it look as though ESU does not care about maintaining these archives.
Not only that, but it’s proof that ESU isn’t just a lifeless, sterile, newfangled boarding school, but rather, an institution that people have dedicated their livelihoods to in order to make it a better place for us.
The archives staff does all they can to maintain these documents. Unfortunately, they are fighting a losing battle and potentially risking their own health in an attempt to save these documents.
The entire ESU community must work together to eradicate the mold problem so that archive employees can return to their regular duties and helping researchers search the archives and preserving the documents under normal conditions.
These archives were placed on the C of E campus in the mid-1990s. Most of the administrators who made the decision to move them there are no longer at ESU, so it is difficult if not impossible to determine why exactly the decision was made. It is also important to point out that because the decision was made by a previous administration, the blame does not rest on the current administration.
Nevertheless, the administration must act. No matter what the costs, these archives mean more than just some papers stuffed in a basement. They symbolize what made ESU what it is today. Without them, future generations will have no idea of the history and heritage that ESU is founded on and research on the history of the university will become nearly impossible.
As students we must urge the administration to combat this mold problem by whatever means possible. More funds must be allocated to the cause and the outsourcing of the clean-up process should be looked into so that the Archive Staff can return to their normal jobs. If we do not ignore the problem, and put it in the forefront of campus conversation, the administration will act accordingly.
It is vital in a university setting to appreciate those people who have taken the time to recognize the efforts of Emporia State’s lineage. It is also important to understand the history of this place we call home.
Now, it will be a team effort to preserve the archives so they can continue to be a testament to the rich history of ESU.
For more information on the mold infestation, refer page 1 and The Bulletin in the coming weeks.