Skip to Main Content

Archiving Student Life at Iowa State University

This guide and the Student Life Archivist are here to help you and the student organizations you are a part of collect, organize, and preserve your records.

Choosing to Donate or Retain Your Records

The final step in good records management is to archive records of enduring value.  The answer to whether you will do that yourself or donate to SCUA is entirely up to you and what you think is best for your organization. 

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do we want to maintain ownership of our records and mediate access?
  • Do we have room to store our records for their long-term preservation? 
  • Do we want to make our records publicly accessible and share our story?

There are many things to consider, and your Student Life Archivist is happy to have conversations with you to discuss your organization’s unique circumstances and preferences to determine the best course of action. 

How to Donate Your Records to SCUA

  1. First, you’ll need to contact your Student Life Archivist via email or phone to let her know what you want to donate.  The more details you can provide, the faster we can decide what your donation will contain and the easier it will be for our Processing Archivists to make your materials accessible once they’ve been donated.

  2. Next, you will need to sign a Deed of Gift.  This agreement transfers physical ownership of the materials to SCUA and can also transfer copyright and outline restrictions.  Without this signed agreement, we cannot do anything to further organize, preserve, or share your materials.

  3. Lastly, you can send the materials to SCUA, or we can arrange a time and place for the donation hand-off.

Why Donate Your Materials to SCUA?

Regardless of whether you donate your records to us, we are always a resource for you to answer your questions, provide guidance, and support your organization in preserving its legacy. 

Choosing to donate your records to SCUA means:

  • Your history is being collected and preserved
  • You get to help tell your story from your perspective 
  • You can demonstrate your impact at ISU
  • You have the assistance of trained archivists and SCUA's resources in archiving your history

Donating your records to SCUA guarantees that your legacy is an evident part of the University's history, and this helps other students to see themselves represented there. 


Not quite ready? 

The Student Life Archivist is a resource for you whether or not you donate your records to SCUA. She can help you develop better recordkeeping practices, including organizing and storing your records so that you can preserve your own legacy at Iowa State University.

SCUA can also scan and return select original materials on a case-by-case basis. 

How to Keep Up the Good Work

Don't let your time and effort to collect and preserve your organization's history go to waste! 

  • Pass down information about your archives to new officers and members.
  • Choose an officer to be your organization's recordkeeper and build these responsibilities into their position. 
  • Use your Operations Manual to document how you keep your records.
    • Note what records your organization creates, how they are organized and labeled, where and how they are stored, who manages them, and if/how often they are donated to SCUA.

If you've decided to donate your records to SCUA,

  • Consider visiting SCUA with your organization to view your collection and become more familiar with your organization's archival legacy.
  • Document your organization's partnership with SCUA in your constitution, by-laws, and operations manual. 
  • Develop a regular donation schedule.
  • Appoint an officer of your organization to be the main contact between your organization and the Student Life Archivist. 

Your Student Life Archivist

Profile Photo
Rebecca Wells
Special Collections & University Archives
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Ames, Iowa 50011-2012
(515) 294-6676