Recent OU grad brings accessibility to The Oakland Post’s history

Emily+Morris+strikes+a+pose+in+front+of+the+archives+she+spent+the+2020-21+school+year+organizing.+Thanks+to+her+hard+work%2C+The+Oakland+Post+archives+are+now+accessible+to+the+campus+community.

Photo courtesy of Emily Morris

Emily Morris strikes a pose in front of the archives she spent the 2020-21 school year organizing. Thanks to her hard work, The Oakland Post archives are now accessible to the campus community.

Tori Coker, Contributor

Determined to leave The Oakland Post better than she found it, Emily Morris completed a newly organized library housing the paper’s 62 years of archives ahead of her graduation this past May.

Having possessed a natural talent for news writing from a young age, Morris’ journalistic experience dates back to positions at hometown publications in Sandusky MI beginning when she was just 14. Upon arriving at Oakland University, she worked as both a reporter at the Post and news director at WXOU before settling into the managing editor position at The Post for her senior year.

In the midst of rolling with the punches COVID-19 threw the paper’s way, she began to satisfy her inner history buff by sifting through the paper’s archives.

“History is just something that I’ve always been really interested in,” Morris said. “I’m one of those people that could always watch a documentary – I love getting into things like that – and it was just the same feeling as that.”

She found herself frequently coming across familiar faces and names in past issues, as well as tracing the origins of longstanding rumors she’d heard surrounding campus lore – such as the tale of cars so often plunging into Bear Lake. The deeper she dove into these past issues, the more desire she felt to make them available for those beyond the staff surrounding her to enjoy.

“It was like giving back to The Post a little bit, because I felt like I had gained so much experience and so many connections and friendships through it,” Morris said. “I was just going through things and appreciating what we had and kind of understanding the organization more, and I just thought it was really great. I wanted other people to be able to easily do that, too.”

With a previous effort by former Post employee Cheyenne Kramer to organize the archives having been offset by the 2017 construction within the Oakland Center, Morris got to work on picking up where Kramer had left off, purchasing additional supplies to make the archives more accessible to students passing through the office.

The result of the yearlong process is a set of three bookshelves at the front of the Post’s office, stocked with binders that neatly organize 62 years’ worth of storytelling from OU students. Campus-goers are encouraged to enjoy this easily accessible display at the head of the fall semester, and until then they may enjoy the additional collection of issues, original photography and old-school paper-making templates at Kresge Library, where Morris teamed up with archivist Dominique Daniel in preserving such artifacts for all to enjoy.

“Oakland is really proud of its heritage and does share a lot of that, but for the people that want to dive a little deeper, clarify some of those details and hear firsthand what happened at any time [throughout] Oakland’s history, that’s what the archives are for,” she said. “I think the only thing I can really hope for is that there’s at least a few other people that get as much enjoyment out of it that I did.”

Morris graduated this spring, taking with her a communication and journalism degree, improved knowledge of AP Style and a wonderfully supportive community around her. She could not be prouder of the lasting impact she was able to have on the paper through her reorganization of the archives – well, almost.

“We don’t have a copy of the first issue ever,” she said. “It’s cool that someone kept something as early on [as the third issue], but at the same time, I would definitely really like having the very first one as part of the collection. If somebody has held on to a copy for 60 years for some reason, we could hold onto it for them!”