The First 100 Days: Collection & Creation Events, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at collecting, archiving, and exhibiting activism-related materials created after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, was held in the Women*s Center from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The event was a collaboration with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, the Women*s Center, the Princeton University Library, and The Princeton Progressive.
Student activists contributed their flyers, posters, and photographs from events such as the Women’s March on January 21, the Princeton Citizen Scientist’s March 6 Day of Action, and the Princeton Clay Project’s #WithRefugees campaign. These materials, along with others to be collected in a similar event held in the Pace Center from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on April 25, will be assembled in an exhibition depicting this year’s activism landscape. After the exhibit, which is scheduled to be shown in May, many of the materials will be archived in the University library system.
“We’re hoping to not only create this research collection online through the University library, but also to create an exhibit where people can examine, experience, and take in the many ways people have become involved,” Gwen McNamara, the Pace Center Communications Coordinator, said. “We want to celebrate that there are many ways to engage on campus, recognize this spirit, and also preserve it.”
McNamara said that the exhibition’s design was “still in the works” and encouraged input from students who are interested in making “an interactive, respectful, engaging exhibit to honor the many voices here on campus.”
In addition to the exhibit, McNamara and her colleagues plan to create an archive of the collected activist materials, in part to inspire future activists and provide a framework for continued political engagement. Jordan Dixon, Program Coordinator at the Women*s Center, used the Princeton Citizen Scientists’ Day of Action as an example — the idea for that event was inspired by a Day of Concern held on MIT’s campus in the 1970s to protest the Vietnam War.
Sara Howard, women and gender studies librarian, said that the goal of the event was to “have this moment archived not just for future research but for the memory of this time to not be erased from campus.”
The archives are also aimed at characterizing a political moment, which could be utilized by researchers in the future and serve as a useful resource for activists in the present.
“We talked about the power of future research, but archives are living and breathing in the moment as well. It’s an active archive about activism,” McNamara said.
The event was nonpartisan and activists from both sides of the political spectrum were encouraged to share the ways they have engaged with current events in the past few months.
“The Princeton Progressive wanted to be involved partly because of our ideological stance, but aside from that, one thing we stand for is combating this perception, from outside and within the campus, that the general political sentiment is something along the lines of apathy or indifference,” The Princeton Progressive executive editor Nora Schultz ’19 said.
Another purpose of the event was to emphasize “how the university is developing and honoring students as whole people,” Dixon said.
“Oftentimes when you think of Princeton, you think of rigorous academics and career plans, but the Women*s Center helps develop the person outside of academics: your values, what you would fight for,” Dixon said. “Our archive is a really important display of where the students’ moral compasses are right now.”
Students and community members who are interested in submitting their own activism-related materials or contributing ideas for the future exhibit can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the project.