University of California San Diego

Over the past decade, there have been a number of incidents on the UC San Diego campus targeting specific underrepresented groups. These recurring events affect ALL students, underrepresented or not, and demonstrate the need for a conversation about the way students experience UCSD’s campus climate. To facilitate this conversation, the UC San Diego Library created “Tell Us How UC It: A Living Archive.”A “living archive” collects and presents materials in a way that allows for the expression, exhibition, documentation, and preservation of a sentiment or movement in a particular community. It consists of: (1) A history that documents the progression of a movement(2) Creative work by current members of a community that offer present sentiment(3) In-the-moment feedback about the exhibit or movement as a whole.

Featured Collection


Collection: Tell Us How UC It: A Living Archive

Dates: 1960s – present

Description:  “Tell Us How UC It” debuted with a temporary physical exhibit in the UC San Diego Library in February 2016.  It included a timeline of events and incidents from UCSD’s history (and in some cases, history in general) that affected the campus climate for students in such a way that they were compelled to act or react. To add present sentiment to this narrative, current UCSD students submitted a variety of creative work expressing their campus experiences. Finally, an area for visitor feedback provided another unfiltered narrative that became part of the archive itself. The opening of the exhibit featured a panel of alumni and current UCSD staff and faculty who discussed their involvement in activism on campus and offered guidance to a new generation of student activists. Each of these elements, including video of the panel, were compiled in a permanent online archive using the free, open-source exhibit tool, Omeka. Since then, there have been a student workshop and course presentations around the project. The overall hope for this project is that by providing this historical narrative and highlighting the campus’ experience of evolving from crisis to accomplishing change, we can bring people together to raise questions, spark conversations, and promote intersectional understanding.


Primary contacts: Cristela Garcia-Spitz (bio); Tamara Rhodes (bio)