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Student Organization Records Toolkit (SORT) @ Pitt Archives: Donating to the University Archives

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

Benefits of Donating to the University Archives

When records are donated to the University Archives, they are arranged and stored in acid-free folders and boxes and kept in appropriate environmental conditions to ensure the long-term preservation of the documents.

Once the collection of records is ready, the archivist will prepare an online finding guide that provides a brief description of the organization and an inventory of the records found in the archives. An example of such a guide can be seen regarding the records of Alpha Phi Omega, Beta Chapter. Other student groups that have donated materials to the University Archives include the Student Government Board, Black Action Society, and several Greek organizations.

Because the archives expends a great amount of resources in caring for records, once they are donated to the archives they become property of the University and cannot be removed from the archives without special permission. But don’t worry, our collections are accessible in the archives’ reading room during business hours and, under special circumstances, can be loaned back to the organization.

So by archiving your organization’s records at the University Archives you know that future members will have access to these resources when planning outreach and fundraising initiatives, researching alumni and questions about past events and projects, and want to utilize historic material to promote the group.

Donation Procedure

Before making the final decision to donate your records, notify your organization’s membership about your archiving plans and get everyone on board. If needed, we can arrange a visit to the archives and meet with the group to answer questions.

Then if your organization agrees to donate its historical records to the University Archives, contact the University Archivist for instructions, guidance and supplies, like boxes.

In most cases the following steps will facilitate the donation of your group’s records:

1) Pack your records into boxes provided by the University Archives. Each box should be numbered and labeled with your organization’s name.

2) Create an inventory of every file in each box. You may use a summary statement, such as “Meeting Minutes,” to describe a group of files or the entire contents of a box.

3) Email a copy of the inventory to the University Archivist and place a printed copy of each box’s inventory inside the box so it can be identified should it be separated from the others.

4) Notify the University Archivist when you are ready to transfer the records to arrange pick-up. The organization’s president will also be asked to sign an agreement finalizing the donation of the records to the University Archives. This document, called a Deed of Gift, will legally transfer the ownership and rights of the records to the University Archives. Every Deed of Gift is different and we will work with your organization to determine what provisions are right for you.

Donating your organization's records should not be a one-time event. Create documentation or assign the duty of maintaining a relationship with the archives to an officer, like a Historian or Secretary. The end of each academic year is a great time to review your group's records and determine what might be eligible for inclusion in the archives.

If you have any questions or concerns, or are just interested in what the University Archives has to offer, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!

Student Government Ballot

Ballot to combine Men's and Women's student government, 1925