Teamwork and a Passion for Archiving Make the SAASC a Success at the SJSU iSchool

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 by Allison Randall Gatt

If you’re feeling a little too much distance between you and the iSchool in San Jose, California, or if you just want to feel more connected with people interested in the same focus of information science, then join a student group at the School of Information. The Society of American Archivists is just one of the student groups at the iSchool that plans events, explores job opportunities in their field and works to promote student involvement with their parent organization. SAASC board members work in teams to organize events, produce its digital publication, Archeota, and promote the SAA and the student chapter at SJSU’s School of Information.

The SAASC just published its Spring 2016 issue of Archeota, the chapter’s open source publication where students and SAASC board members write about what the iSchool chapter is doing, who’s on the board and what’s going on in the fascinating and expanding world of archival studies. Like other student chapters, the SAASC’s publication helps showcase the work of its student board members and the original submissions of iSchool students. And, this is important to note, submissions to student publications provide great evidence for your eportfolio. Ahem, note to self for the summer before my final year (gasp!).

“I think the opportunity to contribute to a school newsletter definitely gives you a notch on the resume,” says 2015-16 vice-chair Tiana Trutna. “Personally, it was just fun to write.” Current SAASC chair Rebecca Leung has contributed to Archeota as well and found it to be a rewarding experience. “The first piece I wrote was a reflection on processing my first collection in the fall of 2015,” says Leung. “It was a good way for me to sum up my work and let potential employers know about my capabilities. It will also be fun to look back years from now and remember how it was to be a beginner.”

The web team of the iSchool’s SAASC is essential to making sure people hear about all these wonderful events and sources of information. Since the iSchool is an entirely online environment, and students are already bombarded with course information and school updates, the web team relies on perfectly timed postings on social media. “We promote the events, share jobs and internships and post archives-related information,” says Melissa Schack Rupp of the SAASC Web Team. “And if there is a really important event coming up, we post more frequently.”

The SAASC chair works with the web team to set priorities, and together they all help to make the student chapter do meaningful work. “The Web Team is crucial because this is how the students learn about SAASC news and events,” says Leung. “Melissa Schack posts on Facebook and Amanda Mellinger posts on Twitter and Delicious. Together they have been instrumental in our success by managing our social media.” The web team also extends beyond the student chapter and the iSchool to connect with the greater field of archive professionals and related organizations.

So how does a board of directors manage to put together a publication, organize events and ensure success for the group? “We toss out ideas and work to make them happen,” says Trutna. “SAASC chair Catherine Folnovic did a lot of outreach to get articles from peers, and compiled all of the articles and interviews into Archeota beautifully.” The board has already met this summer to start generating ideas for the next issue and begin organizing events for the coming school year. Last year, the SAASC surveyed the general iSchool student body to get an idea of the events people wanted. Based on the results of that survey, the leadership is working hard to reach out to experts and external organizations to give meaningful presentations during the school year. From my own personal experience, I find these presentations super informative and a great way to supplement my course materials. The SAASC will also have its Annual Members meeting early in the fall semester to introduce the chapter, its board of directors and its membership to new and newly interested students.

As for the next issue of Archeota, Folnovic already has a few ideas percolating. “I think it would be really great to see a photojournalism series showcasing archival repositories,” she says. “Archives are often behind closed doors and as students we do not always have an idea of what real archival repositories look like. I think it would be fun and educational for students.”

Being involved in an iSchool student chapter is a great way to build your peer and professional network and strengthen your team-building skills. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun with a bunch of great people!

For more about iSchool student groups and the latest resources, check out:
The iSchool's SLA Student Chapter Offers Innovative Programming and Exciting Leadership Opportunities

A Great Way to Get Further Involved in the iSchool-- the ASIS&T Student Chapter

SJSU iSchool's New Advising Pages Help Students Customize Their Unique Path to Success

image courtesy of Stuart Miles

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