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Archiving OSU's student groups

Best practices guide for student organizations

Keep track, it's worth it


archival box

archival records

Preserving Your Organization's History

  • Document the activities of your group. This might mean keeping minutes of meetings, saving copies of publications and flyers, or archiving your web and social media sites (yes, we have tools for that). 
  • Develop a straightforward filing system that works for you. Have a strategy for organizing paper and electronic records. It can be as simple as starting putting things in file folders. 
  • Label your materials/folders with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances. 
  • Use good naming conventions for electronic records -- we avoid "IMAGE0001.JPG" and so should you. 
  • Keep records together in one central place. Back-up your files and talk about off-site server storage.
  • Keep records safe. Store them away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun.
  • Remember your non-paper documents. Electronic records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save compact discs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, and tapes, as well as traditional paper documents. Contact an Archivist for help an advice with maintaining and transferring electronic files.
  • Get to know the SCARC staff. Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to SCARC at the end of the semester, year, or leader's term of office.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T THROW IT OUT! Our job is to help you decide what to keep and what to toss, so ask for guidance.

Archiving and maintaining memory

  • Maintain your website or other public pages. Most new and potential members start online, so keep information current. It's a great place to post important documents you want to publicly share, such as the group constitution or charter, club history, and meeting minutes. 
  • Use Google. Drive, Calendar, and Groups are perfect for collaboration and maintaining electronic archives. 
  • A photo is worth a thousand words, right? Take pictures of your group, members, and events. If you produce other materials like programs, publications, or videos save copies and transfer them to SCARC.  
  • Maintain and update your group constitution.This document will outline your mission, as well as procedures or other important information.
  • Keep an up-to-date master binder to pass to the next set of officers. It can be physical or virtual with things like officer job descriptions, important contacts, information on how to maintain your web site, event summaries, budgets, social media or outreach strategies, and more. 
    • Have each officer write down their job description (and how much work it requires). This is handy during election time and helps new officers get oriented quickly.
    • Most groups hold similar events each year, so keep event summaries and budgets. Summaries will help for future planning and budgets for applying for funding. Be sure to also include what funding sources you applied to, their contact information, and how much you received.
  • While paper and electronic archives can be extremely helpful, it is often passing on that personal archive that is most effective when transitioning to new officers. Make sure that the new and old officers meet and discuss officer responsibilities, goals, and procedures for transferring materials to SCARC. 

Remember to check out the Student Organization Support Policies and Procedures page for more about your role as an active member of our educational community.  

Ideas from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students at Princeton.