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Student Organizations Collection

Collection ID: RG 37-8A

Scope and Contents

This collection contains publications associated with student organizations at the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, Old Dominion College, and Old Dominion University. The documents within this collection reflect the evolving interests and concerns of an expanding and diverse student body throughout the university’s history. Included are student organization publications such as literary digests, opinion journals, and student organization newsletters.


  • 1941-2024, undated



1.20 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Old Dominion University was founded in September 1930 as an extension campus of the College of William and Mary in the Tidewater region of Virginia.  The “Norfolk Division” as it was known offered a two year course of study allowing students the opportunity to earn transferable credit through the sophomore year to any four year college throughout the United States.  In 1961 the Division earned accreditation as a four year school and in August 1962 was established by the Virginia General Assembly as Old Dominion College.  In 1969, Old Dominion College became present day Old Dominion University.  Student groups and organizations have been a part of campus life at Old Dominion University since the days of the Norfolk Division.  Although originally a commuter school, the first students soon established campus traditions and social norms that uniquely identified them as Norfolk Division students through their budding student organizations.  Emulating student organizations traditionally associated with other institutions of higher learning, Norfolk Division students first organized a student government association and student council in 1930.  Throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, student organizations continued to form on campus that not only focused upon student scholastic and academic interests, but their social interests as well.  Organizations such as the Honor Council, Student Senate, and Foreign Relations Club encouraged scholastic and academic interests while the Cotillion Club, Di Gamma, Di Alpha, and the male exclusive service organization known as the Imps Club, focused on campus social activity and leadership development. As international, national, or local events shaped each new decade, Old Dominion student organizations adapted accordingly to reflect changing student interests or concerns.  This was most prevalent in the 1960s when several student organizations emerged at Old Dominion which echoed the rising social consciousness among American college students of the era.  New student organizations such Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), College Americans for Democratic Action (CADA), and the Emerson Forum who criticized American political policies or opposed what they believed to be repressive university policies restricting academic freedom appeared on campus in the late 1960s.  As a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-American enrollment at Old Dominion began to steadily increase and by the 1970s, the first African-American student organization, Students for Development of Black Culture (SDBC) joined other campus organizations.  The 1970s also brought forward several new organizations emphasizing spiritual or religious interests, such as the Campus Ministries and the Newman Association. By the 1980s, student organizations at Old Dominion began to temper much of the radicalism associated with the 1960s and 70s.  While student organizations came and went based upon changing student interests or fashionable trends and fads, many emerged that maintained a strong commitment to the socially relevant issues of the day.  Organizations such as the Old Dominion Disco Jump Roping or Windsurfing Club reflect fashionable trends or interests, while organizations such as the Young Democrats, Old Dominion Chapter of the Citizens Party, and the Gay Perspective and Awareness Alliance reflect social concerns and political interests.  Throughout the 1980s as the international student population began to rise, organizations such as the Indian, Iranian, and Vietnamese Student Associations formed to satisfy the needs of the university’s international students.  Student organizations in the 1990s and 2000s continued the trend established in the 1980s with the emergence of the Anime Club, Muslim Students Association, Habitat for Humanity or East African Student Alliance.  Student organizations continue to be an important element of Old Dominion campus life.  There exists nearly 300 active student organizations on campus that includes honorary, political, professional, religious, service, governing, and special interest groups each managed by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership (OSAL).  Student organizations exist to enhance leadership, social, and interpersonal skills to strengthen the academic experience and foster a sense of community among the university’s diverse and dynamic student body.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Future accruals are expected.

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

Various transfers.

Related Materials

Check collections under Record Group 37 for more collections related to student organizations.

A Guide to the Student Organizations Collection
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US