For our project, the plan was to look at UMW’s history as an all female school and it’s switch to co-ed, but things ended up expanding from those constraints we’d put up. It began when we couldn’t find people to interview from the exact era we wanted to. We were again trying to stick to the switch to co-ed period and thought it would be best to interview students from that time which was around 1970 or so. We were only able to find students who graduated in the 90s.
To be honest I went into the interviews not expecting much to assist with the project, but I was proved so wrong. The information and insight gathered from the two alumni was incredible. Their words managed to influence me to take the loosen the rigid rules I’d put on the project. I decided to be more open when searching for information for the timeline as well as for things to blog about.
This isn’t to say that we completely abandoned our initial project. It was more we expanded it if anything. There was much more to discover than was first thought. From researching the school’s history I found myself learning about more eras and points that i hadn’t considered nor heard about. For example, I discovered the school’s segregated past as well as the several name change considerations that went down. I came across various controversies and events.
Reading and researching the history of the UMW made me look at it in a different light. Every class and situation I found myself apart of on campus made me reflect on the old days. I compared and contrasted my own experience with that of the past. At times this made me laugh at the similarities and other times It made me extremely grateful I live in the now and not the then.
I am a bit blue we weren’t able to find more people to interview. It came down to both sarah and me being busy as well as students we asked not having time. It’s understandable as spring semester brings with a lot of different academic projects. And I do feel like having that input from people who lived at the school prior to the co-ed switch would have took our discussion a bit further.
I am proud of what we did get done. Sarah’s interview skills were out of this world. I wrote about it in the blog post regarding the interviews, but I just can’t express how impressed I was. She was extremely professional from the set up to making sure the interviewees felt comfortable and understood what was going on. She even made sure there were release forms signed. I’m pretty certain I would not have been able to do the interviews without her.
I’m pretty proud of the timeline as well. The bulk of the information included in them came from two large books of history about UMW. One was History of Mary Washington College, 1908-1972 by Edward Alvey, Jr. and the other University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 by William B. Crawley, Jr. They were tough to carry around but I managed, taking them place to place and jotting down notes. The final product was worth it. There’s also quite a few images placed in the timeline. Most of those came from our school’s image archive site which was introduced to us by Professor Whalen (If you’re reading this, thanks!). Prior to this project I didn’t even know the site existed.
And honestly that’s really what made this project so successful/ such an incredible learning experience; the fact that things unknown came to the light. There was so much history about the university of Mary Washington that I just did not know about. This went beyond just the school’s switch to co-ed. The information I gathered worked as a snowball leading me to other facts to discover that really made me think. I want this site and project to work the same way for our viewers. I hope that the info they find here will lead them to more.
(´•ω•｀♥) – Dominique Giles
1. Venus R. Jones. Centennial Image Collection, Fredericksburg. Special Collections and University Archives, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington. Web. 25 Apr. 2017