Collecting Policy for Student Organizations


Students are the lifeblood of Carolina, but while University Archives has extensive records of administrative and academic departments, student organizations are underrepresented. To ensure that the history of student life, as seen through the eyes of students and not administrators, faculty, or staff, is sufficiently documented, student organizations should donate their inactive records to University Archives. These records are essential to fully documenting and understanding the history of UNC because they tell a story of the university that is missing from the official records.

University Archives will preserve these records and make them accessible to future generations. The material will be housed in acid-free folders and boxes and stored in proper environmental conditions. Once the records are donated, they become the property of University Archives and cannot be removed without permission. Use of these materials is restricted to the reading room of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. However, we can provide limited reference services for current members of student organizations who need to refer to records that their organization has transferred to University Archives.



  1. Document the activities of your group: Keep minutes of meetings and membership rosters; save copies of publications, fliers, and other promotional material; take photographs of members, meetings, and events. Don’t rely on third-party applications like Facebook group pages to store your photographs and membership information.
  2. Label your materials with full names, dates, and descriptions of events or circumstances.
  3. Keep your records together in one central place. Assign a member to be secretary every year and have them pass information to a successor annually.
  4. Develop a straightforward filing system that works for your organization. There’s no one best way to do this.
  5. Store your records away from dampness, dust, excessive heat, and sun.
  6. Avoid using paper clips and rubber bands. If you have documents that need to be kept together, use stainless steel staples or plastic clips.
  7. Develop a routine of transferring inactive records to University Archives at the end of the semester, year, or your leader’s term of office.
  8. Consider the fate of your non-paper documents. Digital records can pose software and hardware access problems. Save CDs/DVDs, memorabilia, photographs, posters, sound recordings, and videos, as well as traditional paper documents. Contact University Archives if you have materials on websites or social media pages that we can export and preserve.
  9. Get to know the staff of University Archives and Records Management Services and learn more about our activities and collections.
  10. When in doubt, don’t throw it out! Contact University Archives to arrange a donation or learn more about how to preserve your organization’s records.


  • charters
  • by-laws
  • mission statements
  • founding documents
  • histories
  • minutes and minute books
  • agendas
  • newsletters
  • scrapbooks
  • memos
  • correspondence
  • event planning files
  • certificates of recognition
  • publications produced by the student organization
  • promotional materials
  • photographs of the group, members, meetings, and events
  • three-dimensional objects, such as plaques, buttons, t-shirts, pins and other jewelry, uniforms, and other items used to carry out the missions and activities of the organization
  • membership lists and membership registers
  • sound recordings or videos of group events
  • summary financial data, such as final budget statements or annual financial reports


  • active records (records still in use or regularly referred to by the organization)
  • bank statements and canceled checks
  • university-wide memos, announcements, etc., unless they relate directly to the organization or events in which the organization participated or organized
  • university publications, such as the Daily Tar Heel, Carolina Alumni Review, or the University Gazette
  • books


  • How do I get started donating our organization’s records to University Archives?
    • First, determine if any of the records fit into the types of material that University Archives collects. If they do, please contact us to begin the process of transferring these records.If you have questions about whether these records belong in the University Archives, we are available to review your organization’s records and determine their value for the archives. Contact us before sending records to University Archives. Do not send records to us without prior notice.
  • What should I do about the newsletters our organization publishes on a regular basis or the t-shirts, pins, plaques, or other three-dimensional objects that we may produce?
    • The North Carolina Collection (NCC) actively collects printed materials and three-dimensional objects relating to UNC. The NCC Gallery will store and care for the three-dimensional objects that your organization donates. Each time your organization publishes a newsletter, the NCC would appreciate receiving three copies. To make this process easier, please add the NCC to your mailing list. The address is:
    • The North Carolina Collection
      Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library
      CB# 3930 | Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890
  • What about digital records?
    • Given the preponderance of digital information in today’s world, it is important that we collect this information. Therefore, we are interested in acquiring not only your organization’s paper records, but also your digital information, including, but not limited to, email, listserv archives, spreadsheets, databases, PDFs, Word processing files, websites (including social media sites like Facebook), photographs, sound recordings, and video.