Washburn’s history not to be forgotten

Julie Knapp

Alumni Weekend at Washburn is often a time for different organizations to have reunions, as well as meet people who have gone before them at this university.

About two years ago, I became very interested in the history of Washburn, and I’ve spent some time looking into the past to see where Washburn has been and how it has gotten to where we are today.

While the stories of the 1966 tornado or the three people that are buried in Carnegie Hall are interesting, I find it more interesting to look back at the history of Washburn organizations. We have a unique situation at Washburn that allows us to develop an organization when we want to and about what we want. While some people may think their idea of an organization is original, the likelihood of a similar organization existing before is high, and I think we have a lot to learn from the people who previously tried to accomplish the same goals.

I personally love looking at the history of the Washburn Review, as I find people in the early 1900s are doing some of the same features we are today. Some Washburn alumni brought in old Washburn Reviews from 1906 and 1907 this summer, and while looking through them, I found a feature called Bubbles. This was exactly like our YouReview today or our CAB forums from last year. The comments were just about as inappropriate as well.

The debate and forensics team has a rich history, as the university hosted some of the first oratorical competitions in the nation. People with the most history on Washburn’s campus are the fraternities and sororities. Even SAI, a popular music honorary, was around more than 50 years ago.

When looking back on these organizations though, the students at Washburn had the same problem that organizations do today – involvement. I’ve read editorials in the Review about the lack of assemblies or forums held in the 1950s because the student activities committee was discouraged over attendance.

There are many times organizations are discouraged because they don’t think they are making a big impact on campus due to a lack of involvement. However, if an organization were to look back on where it started from, it would see significant improvements were never made in one year or one semester, but rather they come over time.

Some people think their involvement over four or five years may not make that many changes, but it is those small changes made over decades of students passing through here that have Washburn made organizations very successful.