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Rudolf G. Schade Archives and Special Collections: Donating to the Archives

Student Organizations

Should Your Student Organization Donate?

Yes! When records are donated to the Schade Archives, they are arranged and stored in acid-free folders and boxes and kept in appropriate 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. 

Because the archives expends a great amount of resources in caring for records, once they are donated to the archives they become the property of Elmhurst University and cannot be removed from the archives without special permission. However, our collections are accessible in the archives’ reading room by appointment. 

By archiving your organization’s records at the Schade Archives, you are guaranteeing that future members will have access to these resources when planning activities, AND that future students and campus offices will be able to research alumni activities and answer questions about past events and projects. 

We welcome donations of records documenting student organizations. The following types of records are a sampling of what typically holds enduring or historical value to student organizations:

  • founding documents
  • charters, mission statements, constitutions and by-laws
  • 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
  • member handbooks
  • audio-visual recordings of group events
  • event flyers, posters and promotional materials
  • event planning files
  • key financial documentation, such as annual budgets
  • 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) 

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 college and organizational publications)

Borrowed/edited from Pitt Archives:

Preserving Your Records

Tips for Preserving Your Organization's History

  • Document the activities of your group: Keep minutes of meetings and membership rosters; save copies of publications, fliers, and other promotional material; take photographs of members, meetings, and events. Don’t rely on third-party applications like Facebook group pages to store your photographs and membership information.
  • Label your materials with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances.
  • Keep your records together in one central place. Assign a member to be secretary every year and have them pass information to a successor annually.
  • Develop a straightforward filing system that works for your organization. There’s no one best way to do this.
  • Store your records away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun.
  • Avoid using paper clips and rubber bands. If you have documents that need to be kept together, use stainless steel staples or plastic clips.
  • Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to the Archives on a regular basis: at the end of the semester, year, or your leader’s term of office.
  • Consider the fate of your non-paper documents. Digital records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save CDs/DVDs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and videos, as well as traditional paper documents.
  • When in doubt, don’t throw it out! Contact the Archives to arrange a donation or to ask questions about what to preserve.


Borrowed/edited from UNC University Libraries:


Donation Procedure

Donation Procedure

Before making the final decision to donate your records, please make sure to talk it over with your organization’s membership and leadership team and get everyone on board. If needed, the archivist is available to meet with the group to answer questions.

If your organization agrees to donate its historical records to the Schade Archives, the following steps will facilitate the donation of your group’s records:

  1. Pack your records into boxes. 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 archives 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 archives 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 Schade Archives. This document, called a Deed of Gift, will legally transfer the ownership and rights of the records to the Schade Archives and Elmhurst University.

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, please feel free to contact us. We’re here to help!