Walking around campus, it is easy to spot flyers advertising opportunities for students to volunteer their time at local Bloomington nonprofits. It had always seemed to me that my high school and undergraduate years saw a sharp increase in volunteerism, but while processing the records of the Volunteer Students Bureau I learned that student volunteerism is nothing new here at the Bloomington campus. The Volunteer Students Bureau (VSB) was established in 1969 as a way for IU students to connect to the community and learn about volunteer opportunities. The organization’s first administrative coordinator, Rebecca Sandridge, used the term “communiversity” to describe the link between Bloomington and Indiana University.
The VSB has been involved in the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, Cans for a Cause, roadside cleanup, Children’s Holiday Wish Program, Meals on Wheels, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, and Hilltop Garden among many others. In 1999, the VSB’s efforts were recognized when the organization was awarded the JCPenny Golden Rule Award. The collection is largely made up of administrative files, although there is an assortment of newspaper clippings and yearly files.
Interested in finding out more? Contact the Archives!
A box recently arrived at the University Archives with this t-shirt inside:
As the shirt suggests, students here at IU generally do not know much about the Board of Aeons. I did not know anything about the group myself when I began processing this collection since I’m new here and I was a little afraid to ask when I saw this shirt! After a little research and some work in the existing Aeons collection, I am ready to give you an explanation that will not be as dangerous as one from a wearer of this shirt.
The Board of Aeons has quite a long history at Indiana University. The group was established in 1921 under President William Lowe Bryan. With a name inspired by the mythical Aeons placed between heaven and earth, they were charged with serving as liaison between university administration and the student body. Although the group has never been truly secret, it does keep a low profile so that they can continue their work effectively without undue influence. The Aeons conduct research and create resulting recommendations on campus matters at the request of the administration but their role as active members of the campus community also give them the opportunity to address issues as they see them on campus. As a result, in the course of its history, the Aeons have had significant impact on policies relating to major issues such racism and discrimination both on campus and in the community. Known to few, the Aeons have been quietly affecting big changes on campus for over 90 years.
Interested in learning more about the Aeons? Contact the Archives!