This spring, Purdue University Northwest (PNW) recovered a time capsule from 1995 on its Westville campus. The university’s 5.75 Roaring Ahead Steering Committee commissioned a new time capsule, with the help of PNW Libraries and Archives staff, with materials reflecting the 2020-2022 time period of the university. On Wednesday, November 2 university leadership, faculty, staff, and students gathered to dedicate the time capsule. It was a wonderful way to bring the campus community together and look positively toward the university’s future.
The time capsule will be placed in the Technology Building’s cornerstone and opened during the 2046-2047 school year, which will be PNW’s 30th academic year and the 100th anniversary of PNW’s legacy institutions. The time capsule will also be registered with the International Time Capsule Registry to help preserve it.
“We’re going to digitize items of all the physical things. Then copies of the digital items will be sent to them and it will be locked and preserved until the opening date. That way if jpegs become obsolete in the next 25 years they’ll be converted into something that’s still readable, and also if anything becomes corrupted in the box we’ll still have access to it, so that’s neat,” said Assistant Archivist Alan McCafferty.
A wide array of items were slated to go into the capsule--everything from COVID-19 masks to a jar of honey. It wasn’t an easy task gathering the items, but it was rewarding.
“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve had a fascination with time capsules. Getting to be a part of this was cool," McCafferty said, "All the research that went into it and reaching out to the different departments to find something representative of each of them to go into the capsule was just great. It was really fun and I’m looking forward to being here in 25 years when they open it again."
Of course, everyone who contributed to the capsule is excited about the future and what it holds, but perhaps no one is as excited as the students. David Bolton, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), wrote a letter for his future fellow SGA members and was bursting with excitement.
“I’ve put a lot of energy and a lot of love into student government and I can’t wait to see how it will look 25 years from now. This is blowing my mind--I’ll be 44 when they open this! I’m so excited for them to read my letter and see what they have to say,” said Bolton.
The time capsule is ultimately the perfect way for PNW to capture its progress, and become even stronger as the years progress.
“I think it really helps show the growth of the university. We’ve come so far in so few years, and it’s nice to see little snapshots of what’s been going on. Being able to look back helps us see what we’ve done and compare it to what we’re doing now. It also helps us see where we can grow and gives us something to push forward to in the future,” said Bolton.
Everyone left the event feeling proud knowing they contributed to something meaningful. The time capsule and its contents truly represent the strong sense of connectedness and pride the PNW community has.
“I’m just really proud of the school, proud of the students, and proud of the organizations that came together and took the time out of their busy schedules to put this time capsule together. It’s great to see so much love and care for the university that we all share and come to every day,” said Bolton.
To learn more about Purdue University Northwest, visit pnw.edu.