By David Giacomini
For most people, the library provides a place for studying, doing homework, or maybe the occasional nap. Unless you’re going to specifically look for a book, most students don’t delve that deep into the stacks. The dimly lit corridors and almost total quiet can be pretty creepy. However, they hold some incredibly interesting objects. Recently, one of The Acorn’s writers was looking through the shelves and came across the oldest book in the library: a book published in 1670 by the Royal Society in England. When I was talking about this with him, it brought up the topic of Drew history.
For such a small school, Drew has a very impressive history and has gone through a lot of changes. Most people know that Drew started out as an all-male seminary school. Fewer people might know that the college began accepting women during World War II when most of the student body was drafted into the armed forces. Drew students definitely showed their liberal arts education during the 1960s and 1970s when many were involved in various social movements. They engaged in protests for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam, sometimes right here on campus.
Why does all of this matter? Some people say that history repeats itself. While I don’t believe that this is completely true, there are definitely clear similarities between events happening today and those from the past. In the past few years, Drew students have demonstrated in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and, more recently, have participated in protests against Donald Trump. While the topic might change, the desire to speak out for what you believe in is still a big part of the Drew student body. The Acorn itself is working on a project of going through our own set of archives to see how Drewids reacted to past events. We recently published an article from 1978 about the need get rid of negative gay stereotypes on campus as well as the first article written by woman in the Acorn from 1943. History can also be a source of lessons for the present or a source of comfort. By looking at the past, we can see how others might have gotten through difficult times. It is always important to know your history.
David is a History major and Photography minor.