YWCA of the U.S.A. Records. Record Group 7. Student Work
Scope and Content Note
Forms part of the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records.
NOTE: For the most part, the Microfilmed Records and the Original Format Records do not duplicate each other and both should be consulted. This description covers materials in both formats. See the Contents List for a folder-level inventory of the Original Format Records. See the Microfilmed Records Reel Lists for a detailed inventory of the microfilm.
The Student Materials consist of minutes; newsletters and other publications; reports; subject and reference files; mailings; a small amount of correspondence; work plans; conference and training materials; and files on individual Student Associations.
The Student YWCA was a unique 'constituent group' within the National Association, operating as its own organizational unit through most of the history of the organization. The various functions that were divided among multiple departments in service of the Community Associations were all carried out by the Student staff on behalf of Student Associations. The records, therefore, are somewhat like an association within the National Association.
As is the case generally with the National Association records, the bulk of the Student materials date from 1906 to 1970, the interval covered by the microfilmed Central File and Minutes and Reports. Little has survived for the period between 1970 and 1988. There are some 1988 to 2001 records, but because the Student movement was greatly reduced in size by that time, it is a modest amount.
The materials are rich with detail about the Students' part in most of the YWCA's traditional areas of concern. Minutes and reports, publications, and Council and Region records contain key materials for understanding the interracial work of the YWCA since staff with responsibility for "colored" and American Indian work were first hired by the Student Committee to work in "colored" and Indian schools. The students' enthusiastic efforts in "Interracial Education" after World War I and later involvement in Civil Rights Movement are also well documented.
Files on Programs and Projects, as well as "Cooperation" chronicle the students' participation in the YWCA's continued efforts to be a socio-economically diverse organization, through clubs and summer programs designed to help them learn about the lives, issues, and concerns of young employed women who did not go to college.
Health education, and particularly sex education was a central concern of the Student YWCA from the beginning of the movement. Minutes and reports, in particular, document this aspect of the program from the organized "positive health" campaign after World War I through the "Sex-Ins"-- information sessions on women's sexuality--on college campuses in the late 1960s.
As with the records of other "constituent groups" the National Association's leadership training efforts are also well documented. Materials on effective group work and administrative practice can be found in the Assembly, Conference, Council, and Training files, and in Publications.
Student Committee and Staff minutes and reports are some of the best sources of information about the YWCA's program of religious education. Concern over college students' tendency to abandon religion led the National Association to pay particular attention to the content of and methods for engaging college students in deeper thinking about religion. Some of the staff members most closely associated with the YW's religious program worked for the Student Department and Student secretaries taught religion courses in the Training School.
Since the students were responsible for proposing many of the more radical Convention resolutions and additions to the Public Affairs Program, the materials record not only the formation of these resolutions, but also vigorous advocacy on their behalf. Advocacy activities are documented in the Conference and Council materials as well as in publications, especially newsletters put out by the National Student Council. In addition, the materials provide evidence of the students' impatience with the pace of change in the National Association, particularly from the 1960s on, as the "generation gap" became more acute.
The Organization files are a good source of information about national and international student Christian organizations and their activities from the intense activity of the early years through their general decline as the twentieth century wore on. Documentation about YMCA-YWCA joint activities is particularly strong.
Prior to the establishment of the Services to Student Associations office in 1975, the Student Division does not seem to have maintained files on individual Associations. Reports written by regional staff (in the Region section) are the best source of earlier information on individual Student Associations.
Microfilmed Records, 1906-70 only
Materials under 'Student' include extensive Conference, Council and Region records as well as files on the National Intercollegiate Christian Council/National Student Council of the YM and YW, Training, Projects, World Student Christian Federation, Young Men's Christian Association, and miscellaneous subjects. The materials are arranged alphabetically.
Microfilmed records also include information about requirements for membership of Student Associations in the National; Student Assembly materials in Convention files; records of Student-Rural Projects; and information about the students' public advocacy under 'Public Affairs.'
Most of the Student materials were discarded after microfilming, so it is crucial to consult the microfilm. They can be found in:
Original Format Records, 1906-2000, 34 linear feet
Most of the Student records were discarded after microfilming, so it is crucial to consult the microfilm.
The bulk of the surviving paper records are dated from the 1920s through the 1960s. While these generally duplicate materials on the microfilm, they include some office "working files" that were transferred to the YWCA Archives after the Central File had been filmed and some of these materials, dating from the 1960s, are probably not on the film.
The paper records contain student publications that were not included in the microfilm, particularly joint YM-YW publications, such as the serial The Intercollegian.
1970-2000 (post-microfilm) materials include what appear to be the major reports on and studies of the Student work, as well as records of attempts to revitalize the Student movement through the revival of dormant Associations, establishment of new ones, or establishment of Registered Student Groups. There are also a few records about the Alumnae Skills Network, an effort to foster Student YWCA graduates' continued involvement in the YWCA through donations or volunteer work.
There are also files on individual Student Associations dating primarily from the mid-1970s to 2000. These include basic organizational documents such as constitutions, accreditation and other reports, records of staff visits, correspondence, and some information about program.
See also Related Materials.
The paper records are arranged in 11 series as follows: