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5 Ways to Save Your Chapter’s History

History is happening now — right this second. Your stories matter. Future generations will want to understand their chapter’s legacy and how they fit into the bigger picture. In a few years, you’ll want to be able to take trips down memory lane and be reminded of these incredible, foundational years.

So, do your future selves and chapter members a favor — save a little history. Take it from us, a bit of preservation and organization now prevents headaches and over-stuffed sheds in years to come. To help, we’re sharing a 5 ways to get started.

1. Think digital, but don’t forget the physical.

Consider this a modern-day scrapbook, with less glitter and glue. What you see in past chapter albums — tickets to events, invitations for formals, officer & fundraising reports, recruitment campaigns, trip photos, etc. — those are now all digital. Make sure to download and save those items together in a single space. There’s often a misconception that because things are created digitally, they’ll always be available. But as technology changes, our current file formats, communication methods, and storage systems will evolve as well. You can learn more about that in our free born-digital preservation guide.

While the bulk of what you set aside to preserve your chapter’s history will be digital, think creatively about objects you can include as well. You will always treasure your badge and pins, but also consider setting aside some of your t-shirts or tumblers. They may seem small now, but those items preserve your chapter’s brand in a very tangible way.

Check out how Florida State Alpha Phi is preserving their swag.

2. Work as a team.

Don’t go it alone. You have a whole community of helpers at your disposal. Establish a committee and identify clear responsibilities for each member. Put someone in charge of reaching out to chapter members to submit photos, another for gathering media mentions, have someone champion branded materials — divide and conquer.

Be sure to establish a project manager. Your chapter may have a historian, who could be a natural fit, or you can ask someone who may want this type of project to list as experience on their resume.

3. Keep things neat.

Compile your memories into one, communal place. If your files live on a chapter member’s personal computer or cloud storage account, even with the best of intentions those items are at risk of being lost. Consider creating an account for your chapter and pass down credentials as collegiate members transition into alumni.

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again — document. Keep track of what you’re saving and where you’re saving it. Share a few details about each piece so future members can better understand the significance of your items.

4. Back, back, back it up now.

Having everything all in one place is great, but if that’s not duplicated, you run the risk of losing everything if something goes wrong. Think water spills on a hard drive or your computer crashes. If you backed up files with a cloud storage service, copied to a hard drive, and physical materials are properly stored, your memories are much more likely to be around for years to come.

5. Make it accessible.

Last, but definitely not least — your stories need to be accessible. Your experiences and memories are valuable tools for future members and alumni, but if they can’t find them, those lessons are lost. If you have not yet invested in a digital archive system, now is definitely the time. Preserving history in a way that’s easily accessible and searchable to anyone at anytime is the core of what we do at HistoryIT.

Our preservation & digital museum packages help chapters create powerful storytelling platforms to share with everyone in your community. We digitally preserve your history using industry best practices to ensure your traditions and communal experiences are preserved not just for four years, but for life. 

Contact us to learn more about saving and sharing your chapter’s history.

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