On August 24, 2018, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented) $92,096 under the National Leadership Grant for Libraries Program. Established in Fall 2016, Project STAND is a first of its kind collaborative effort among archival repositories within academic institutions across the country to create an online portal featuring analog and digital collections that document the student activism related to historically-marginalized communities. It is a nationwide consortium of more than 50 colleges and universities. The IMLS grant allows Project STAND to build additional partnerships through a series of national symposia that will solidify the goals, objectives, and status of Project STAND while providing a forum for discussion of best practices, challenges, and successes in documenting student activism. The Student Life and Culture (SLC) Archives, an early member of the initiative, serves as the grant host. The SLC Archives is an endowed program of the University Archives documenting both U of I student experience and the national history of fraternities and sororities. Ellen Swain, Stewart S. Howe Archivist for Student Life and Culture and director of the SLC Archives, serves as grant project manager.
The project’s objectives are national in scope and include engaging current student activists, encouraging student organizations to preserve and donate their records to archival repositories, strengthening discourse within academic institutions on the importance of recording student movements past and present (digital and analog), developing curriculum/lesson plans, and providing documentation on best archival practices for the collection development. The University of Illinois, in cooperation with Project STAND, supports the project’s objectives and appreciates the funding of the IMLS grant in the Curating Collections to carry this initiative into the next phase.
Swain is a Professor for Library Administration at the University Library, an archivist and former president of the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) (2011-2013), and a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA)(2013).
“By providing a resource network for archivists, activists, and researchers; an online roadmap for existing documentation; and forums focused on documentary strategies, Project STAND is ensuring that records of student activism among marginalized groups are widely documented on a national scale and readily accessible to the public. This work is central to the SLC Archives mission; we are extremely honored to be part of the Project STAND initiative and the IMLS grant,” said Swain.
In the FY18 cycle, IMLS received 113 proposals and ultimately selected 31 projects to receive funding totaling $4.9 million—one of the projects was Project STAND.
“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant, making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”