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1920s

Decade team: Ava Brannon, Ed Clark, Keith DuCharme, Karissa Lohf, Emily Oliver, Melissa Rogers and Machaela Morrissey, captain.

Reporting on college athletics, sorority and fraternity life, and campus activities on nearly a daily basis, The Student was an Iowa State student’s source of information on current campus events.  Unlike the student publications of today, however, The Student appears to have little focus on news outside of campus. With rare mention of any city, state, national or world events, The Iowa State Student was closed off from the outside world.

After World War I ended, students at Iowa State College felt the need to build a memorial to commemorate their fellow students who had died in the war. After initial concepts for the memorial building were discussed and planned, the project launched in 1920. The Student followed the progress of the building campaign closely.

Early issues of The Student in the 1920-1921 school year featured articles on student union facilities at other institutions. Each article had a tone of admiration, inspiring Student readers to want their own such building on the Iowa State College campus. Many front-page articles throughout the school year blatantly urged – sometimes even demanded – students to donate money to the memorial building fund. The fundraising efforts continued into the next school year. 

The paper was dominated by campus events all year long. The only national story was a running collection about trade agreements with Britain and Japan, but the biggest event at Iowa State came in the spring.  This academic year marked the beginning of the annual spring campus event, Veishea. The paper focused heavily not on previewing the event, but giving the celebration full coverage, talking to students, faculty and alumni in separate articles.              

The 1923 school year was a devastating one for the students, faculty and community.  Jack Trice, who was Iowa State’s first African American athlete, was killed in a football game against Minnesota on Oct. 8, 1923. TheStudent reported on his death, funeral and even printed the letter Trice had written the night before from his hotel room. This was the first time an Iowa State athlete had been killed in an intercollegiate competition. He suffered injuries during the first half of the game when he broke his collarbone and then was thrown on his back and trampled on by three Minnesota players in the third quarter. He died in a hospital from internal injuries.              

In 1924, a reoccurring topic in The Iowa State Student was the fundraising efforts made by students to open the Memorial Union. This support and encouragement continued into the latter part of the decade. In 1927, with few years of fundraising the building began construction. 

On April 26, 1927, John P. Wallace, president of the Memorial Union, mounted the steam shovel on the union Site and scooped the first wagon load of dirt from the basement. This marked the signing of the general contract for the Memorial Union. The Iowa State Student covered this story as well as others on the progress and set-backs in the building of The Memorial Union. Many Iowa State faculty and students worked hard in ensuring the completion of the Union. It is evident that the building of the Union had quite an impact on the community. Iowa State students made lifetime pledges that kept the construction of the Union in progress. This gave the students a sense of responsibility that brought the tight knit community even closer. This sense of community was reflected in issues of The Student throughout 1927 and 1928.

The 1920s were a time of prosperity and wealth, but on Oct. 24, 1929, the stock market crashed, leaving many Americans broke and panicked. The Iowa State Student did not cover the economic uncertainty. A person reading TheIowa State Student newspaper at the time would have no idea of this, though, as the paper conveyed a quiet life that was unaffected by this event.

One of the larger events that took place during this year was the dedication of the new campanile bells. This dedication ceremony was for the 26 new bells that were imported from England. Edgar Stanton, dean of junior college, donated the first 10 bells in memory of his wife Margaret. They were valued at $50,000. To recognize this event, Iowa State invited everyone from across Iowa to attend. It was held at the Iowa State campanile and was broadcast by the student radio station, WOI. Auton Brees, an internationally known carillonneur, played the new bells for the first time at the ceremony.

 

 

 

         

 

     

 

   
 
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