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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Title:Student Activities Office records
Dates:1941-2010 (bulk 1980-1995)
Call Number:A45

Historical Note

In 1921 Frank Palmer Speare became the first Director of Student Activities. Before this time there were unorganized, irregular clubs such as the first student newspaper, The Co-op, first published in 1916. Soon thereafter in 1917 the senior yearbook, the Cauldron, had its first publication. It did not reappear again until 1921, along with several other activities such as fraternities and athletics, due to World War I

In 1921 the Department of Student Activities included a publicity division, the athletic association and miscellaneous divisional activities. The Division of Music was later added and by 1925 it included a Band, Concert Orchestra, Glee Club and Dramatic Club all existed on campus.

The Student Council began in the 1920s. In 1924 a revised Student Council merged with student government, and in 1925 a Student Union was formed with Milton J. Schlagenhauf as its first faculty advisor. In 1922 the students of the College of Business Administration formed their own Student Union and Student Council. By 1926, the two unions and councils were combined.

By 1959, the Department of Student Activities was responsible for all student activities, with the exception of chapel services. During the late 1960s, African American student organizations began as students developed a sense of individual and group identity within the larger Northeastern community. Founded in 1969, the Afro-American Institute provided a base for African American student life at the university. By 1975, African American student-led organizations had begun to thrive. Organizations such as The Onyx (newspaper founded in 1972), the Black Engineering Student Society, and the first recognized African American fraternity at the University, the Omicron Chapter of Iota Phi Theta, came into existence during this period.

In 1962, NU started its own radio station, WNEU, which broadcasted only in selected dormitories. In 1970, WNEU became a non-commercial, 10-watt station and was renamed WRBB. The new station reached beyond the NU campus and became an important part of the community. Due to interference from other stations and FCC rulings, in 1982 WRBB moved to the commercial band at 104.9, where it is limited to 10 watts. It plays a wide variety of music and caters to the community around NU and NU students.

In 1970, the Dean of Students Office changed its name to the Office of Student Affairs. During the 1980s, the Student Court was reorganized and improved under the direction of Associate Dean of Students, Harvey Vetstein. Under Vetstein's direction, dorms perceived as problematic due to neighborhood complaints of student rowdiness were reallocated to honor students in an effort to appease the community.

The Student Federation evolved into the Student Government Association (SGA) in 1981 via a new constitution. In comparison to its predecessor, the SGA was considered more inclusive, providing representation to foreign, handicapped, and minority student groups in addition to the well established student groups.
1921-1926Joseph Spear
1926-1929Harold W. Melvin
1929-1953Edward S. Parsons
1953-1960Herbert W. Gallagher
1960-1970Charles E. Kitchin
1970-1985Richard E. Sochacki
1985-1988Mary M. Connelly
1988-1989Sherry Norman
1989-1993Gail Olyha
1993-1997Stephanie T. Palubicki
1997-2004Todd A. Shaver
2004-Brooke Tempesta, Director of Campus Activities and Programs
2004-John Silveria, Director of Student Leadership

Frederick, Antoinette, "Northeastern University, Coming of Age: The Ryder Years 1975-1989". Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.

Marston, Everett C., "Origin and Development of Northeastern University 1898-1960". Boston: Cuneo Press of New England, Inc., 1961, p. 116-127.

Northeastern University Student Handbook for the Basic Colleges, [Boston, Massachusetts], 1980-1981, and 1984-1985; p.44 and 59-60, respectively.