In November 1928, just three months after Brothers College opened its doors to students, the first issue of The Acorn shipped from the presses to the Drew community. Eighty-five years have passed, and Drew University’s newspaper continues to record and reflect upon the thoughts and activities of the student body.
Throughout the nine decades of The Acorn there is a sense of external and internal forces around and within the university. The Acorn brings the ideas and concerns of a wider world to the Forest. Student response to the escalating conflict in Vietnam appears regularly in articles from the late 60s and early 70s. Other stories pertain to life closer to Drew. Sometimes these stories, the barbershop controversy and the Mellen affair during the 1960s, for example, seem even more pressing due to their proximity.
With the benefit of hindsight, recurring themes as well as turning points become apparent. Some topics, such as periodic student dissatisfaction with the food on campus, are perennial. At other times a single, profound event makes the headline. The September 14, 2001 issue reported on the Drew community’s response to the tragic events of that week.
The University Library has produced “A Bountiful Harvest: 85 Years of The Acorn,” a retrospective exhibit on view in the United Methodist Archives and History Center through November 3.
As I wrote the captions for this exhibit, I was struck by how often the word “community” came to mind. The Acorn is a significant part of the Drew community. It chronicles the people who make up our community. It commemorates our accomplishments and challenges. Even in the midst of deep disagreement, it has served as a means to air grievances and as a forum for debate. Today, as sources of information and the means of conveying that information proliferate rapidly, it seems increasingly important, at least to this University Archivist, that there remains a single newspaper to serve as a record of our shared experience at Drew. It is a record worth preserving.