The residence hall experience is often overlooked in alumni tributes which tend to focus instead on sports achievements or academic accomplishments. But last week, I was at Bradley University where their fancy new alumni center contains a display about the evolving nature of residence halls rooms over the decades. Anyone who has ever lived on campus knows that students bring their personalities with them to college and that their rooms become a symbol of the times.
In miniature, Bradley captured these cultural statements and showed their progression from the 1940s to the present. Not only does the technology increase over time, but the amount of “stuff” multiplies as well. In 1940, there was not much more than beds and desks. Now, there are entertainment centers with giant HD televisions and X-boxes along with lofts, exercise balls, and Nutribullets for the morning smoothies.
In one wall, Bradley captures the school spirit and character of students over the course of nearly a century. It is a powerful visual that shows the subtlety of change from one decade to the next, but the enormity of it over the course of time.
Think about how your organization can capture one small element and illustrate its impact on a timeline. It can evoke great nostalgia, but also pride in what has become. Dorothy said: “ there’s place like home.” How nice when you can see “home” as you remember it at that moment in time and still feel like you’re at home in the present day.