What you ate for lunch today. The stress you feel over an exam you’re about to take. Your hopes and dreams for the future.
Would this information be of interest, or importance, to the people living 50 years from now?
From a historical perspective, Josh Morgan, recruitment and development officer for the Faculty of Social Science’s Local Government Program, said most definitely ‘yes’, as these types of thoughts, feelings and musings give a powerful historical snapshot of the Western community and culture at this moment.
For this reason, and in honour and celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, Morgan is leading a Western time capsule project. The capsule, which will be designed by Western Engineering students, will be housed at Weldon Library and opened in 50 years.
“The vision here is for as many faculty, staff, students, alumni and wider community members to participate as possible,” said Morgan, a City of London councillor who led a similar time capsule project for the city’s sesquicentennial in 2005. “We’re looking for them to share their thoughts on Western and Canada, their thoughts for the future, where they think we’re headed, a snapshot into daily life here, what it means to be a Canadian in 2017 and, in some cases, if they want, they can write messages to the future, knowing this will be opened in 50 years.”
Although there will be a few standard fare items – such as a copy of Western News or a maple leaf – included in the time capsule, Morgan doesn’t want it filled with “stuff.” Instead, he’d like to see if filled with thousands of notes from individuals today.
“If you think about this from the other end, if we were able to open a time capsule from 50 years ago, how fascinating would it be to read through some of the thoughts of people from that time frame. Not what historical records capture, but actual words from individuals who were alive and working through their hopes and dreams at the time,” he said. “If people choose to sign them, we may have notes from individuals who have gone on to have phenomenal accomplishments over the 50 years – wouldn’t it be neat to see their perspective from 2017?”
With his Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, visiting campus for the President’s Lecture Series on Mar. 8, it is hoped he will write the first note for the time capsule. At the same event, cards will be distributed for attendees to draft their own personal notes as well.
“It’s an ideal audience because it will represent the Western community and wider community as well,” said Morgan.
Cards will be distributed to staff, faculty and students throughout campus once classes resume in the fall. Additional notes will be captured during specific event opportunities such as O-Week and Homecoming. The goal is to capture as many hand-written notes as possible.
“For this project to be successful, it needs the participation of the community,” said Morgan. “It is only with them sharing their thoughts and messages that it becomes a success. Participating in even the smallest of ways makes a difference.”
The team of Western Engineering students who will design the time capsule will be chosen by the Canada 150 Committee later this month, after a review of design applications. Specifications for the design required students to consider factors such as 50 years of direct sunlight, portability and the ability to keep organic materials intact over an extended period of time.
Their involvement is another unique aspect of the project, said Morgan. “On a project like this, there’s a great opportunity to involve the talents of the Western community. If we’re celebrating Canada, we may as well celebrate the talents of its people and have something unique created for this project.”