Union’s first time capsule

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By Joshua Ostrer

In only two weeks, Union will seal its first ever official time capsule at this year’s ReUnion, and the capsule project, three years in the making, is finally nearing completion.

The capsule, which draws its inspiration from the 2009 fall term SRS “Time: Changer of Seasons” has been in development by English professor Anastasia Pease for three years.

The project began with a fairly simple approach.

“I wanted to find out if Union ever had a time capsule and there was no official one, so I said why don’t we start one? And why don’t we see if we can seal the capsule in Wold as part of the dedication?” said Pease.

The capsule, funded by a $3,000 enrichment grant and supplies contributed by the Dean of Engineering, relied mainly on volunteer work. “It’s a community building project, it has really relied heavily on volunteer work,” said Pease.

The capsule was designed by Walter Chin ‘12. Although many complex design options were considered, a simplistic model was chosen.

“We chose a fairly simple design that has a clever seal to maintain and preserve the insides,” said Kenneth B. Sharpe Professor of Economics J. Douglass Klein.

However, recently the design for the capsule has changed from one 17 inch by 17 inch by 29 inch with two compartments, to two individual 18 inch by 18 inch by 36 inch boxes. The change makes the construction process simpler.

The capsule is divided into two sections: one to be opened in 50 years in 2062 and one to be opened in 100 years in 2112. “A big chunk of the 2062 capsule is for the 2012 graduates to come back to at their 50th ReUnion,” said Klein.

Although all of the submissions have not yet been documented, there are upwards of 300 submitted items already.

The capsule’s submissions already include photographs, personal letters, tributes, documentary films depicting life at Union, faculty and staff submissions, pictures of Union’s fraternities and sororities, Minerva shirts, art projects, club submissions, library submissions, a submission from the Wold family, two vials of air collected by professor Jeffrey Corbin and even a few Frozen Four T-shirts from Union Hockey’s 2012 season.

One element the capsule group has struggled with is the preservation of instructions. While the group is using archival ink, contributed by the visual arts department and archival paper, contributed by the library, the group will rely primarily on a plaque to preserve instructions.

The group also hopes that the class of 2062 will not only locate the capsule, but seal a new 50-year capsule to be opened along with the 100-year container. “We’re trying to leave clear instructions to the class of 2062,” said Klein.

The effort being made to ensure adequate instructions are left is not without founding.

“Our research shows that capsules tend to get lost. Because 100 years is a long time, we want to make sure the capsule is not forgotten,” said Pease.

The capsule will be sealed May 19 at 2:00 p.m. on ReUnion weekend. For those still interested in contributing a submission, contact Anastasia Pease.

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