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Course & Subject Guides

Student Organization Records Toolkit (SORT) @ Pitt Archives: Your Group's Records

This guide provides information to student organizations that are interested in maintaining their historical records or donating them to the University Archives.

Evaluate Your Records

When evaluating your records, it is important to consider the following questions:

  • Does this record impact the understanding of your organization, its work, and its role within the Pitt community?
  • Would this record be of interest to future organization members, students or researchers?
  • Does this record relate to other documents your organization knows it will maintain?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it should be considered for retention.

As you are reviewing your organization’s records, remember: When in doubt, don’t throw it out!
Keep the record and contact the University Archivist for guidance.

What to Keep

The following types of records are a sampling of what typically holds enduring or historical value to student organizations:

  • founding documents
  • meeting minutes and agendas
  • publications produced by your organization, such as newsletters
  • membership lists and registers
  • correspondence and memos
  • organizational histories, self-studies and reports
  • scrapbooks and photographs of the group, members, meetings, and events
  • constitutions and by-laws
  • member handbooks
  • audio-visual recordings of group events
  • event flyers, posters and promotional materials
  • event planning files
  • key financial documentation, such as annual budgets
  • mission statements
  • charters
  • research or subject files
  • certificates of recognition
  • artifacts (buttons, t-shirts, pins and other jewelry, uniforms, and other items used to carry out the missions and activities of the organization) 

Druids, 1921

What to Discard

The following records can be kept by your organization until no longer needed and then discarded:

  • artifacts like trophies or award plaques
  • receipts, bank statements and canceled checks
  • duplicate copies of publications (the archives typically keeps 2 copies of university and organizational publications)
  • university publications and memos (unless they are part of a greater subject or research file or directly relate to the organization)

Black Action Society, 1975