70 Years of College Life: OxyCorps Student/Alumni Interviews
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The OxyCorps pilot project was launched in the summer of 2012, and was spearheaded by four student researches (Sara Mooney ‘13, Isabel Osgood-Roach ‘13, Taylor Rowland ‘13 and Ryan Rambach ‘14) under the supervision of Dale Stieber, head of Special Collections. The objectives of the project were to capture a wide range of individual perspectives, build a narrative to broaden the history of Oxy as a liberal arts college, and to strengthen student-alumni ties to the institution. The first stage of the endeavor was centered around identifying alumni who were active participants on campus during their four years at Oxy. By browsing through yearbooks and doing online research, we were able compose an extensive list of compelling alums. Once contacted, we scheduled the majority of the interviews for the 125th All-Class Reunion weekend in early June. We created a pre-interview questionnaire, designed a general outline for the interviews, and coordinated the logistical matters of scheduling rooms, learning filming techniques, and ensuring that the entire process ran smoothly. The month of July was spent transcribing and analyzing each of the 58 interviews. To take full advantage of the rich material embedded within these interviews, we devised a list of dominant themes, which allowed us to categorize the footage. As a final product, we have selected 16 clips from the interviews and created an interactive database to host them. We chose to feature “student life” as a unifying theme that is relevant to both current and former students, highlighting clips that exemplify the multiple facets of an Occidental college experience. We hope that this pilot project will create a space for these alumni stories to be shared while also strengthening ties across the Oxy community.