Student lands library $6,000 preservation grant

As a communication major, Allyssa Gleason, a junior from Bella Vista, Calif., knows the power of words, and she used that power to help improve Union’s campus and preserve its history. As part of a class project, she wrote a grant proposal that resulted in $6,000 for the Heritage Room in the Ella Johnson Crandall Memorial library from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Preservation Assistance Grant.

The grant requires an independent consultant to assess the Heritage Room and recommend which type of environmental monitoring equipment to purchase. The equipment addresses the first priority, which is to maintain the humidity and temperature so as to not accelerate the documents’ deterioration time. The remaining grant money can be used to purchase supplies as recommended by the consultant.

The grant runs from January 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010. This is the first time Union College has applied for the grant.

Sabrina Riley, library director, said the Heritage Room is accepting old academy and conference publications specific to Mid-America Union conference and photographs with documentation.

“I’m concerned about having a safe environment for the documents,” said Riley. Riley said that the grant is intended for the preservation of Union College’s history as well as the history of the Mid-America Union conference

The grant application was written during the spring semester of 2008 as part of a recently redesigned class in Technical Writing and Grant Proposals taught by Mike Mennard, assistant professor of English and communication. Last year, the Division of Humanities added the grant-writing component to the technical writing course because skills in this area are valuable for careers both in nonprofit organizations and corporations.

Mennard said education, religion, English and communication majors all take the class. “One of our goals is to make the class meaningful by writing real grant proposals so students can see their writing in action and understand their importance to real institutions," Mennard said.

“Before writing the grant, I didn’t know anything about the Heritage Room,” Gleason said. “Learning about it was interesting for me.” Gleason first researched which grant would fund preservation projects. Then, she worked closely with Riley to learn about the Heritage Room and what was most needed.

“I feel really good to be able to use something I did for school and achieve a real outcome,” Gleason said. “I’m glad I could help make a difference for Union College.”

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web site do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Heritage Room collection is home to Union College institutional archives and historical documents, and Seventh-day Adventist history specific to the Mid-America Union Conference. Examples of the records and artifacts contained include:

  • The first commissioned Seventh-day Adventist missionary to China, Jacob Nelson Anderson, taught religion full time at Union College from 1934 to 1938 and part time through 1949. The Heritage Room has Anderson’s last surviving diary from China as well as other items from his missionary years.
  • Personal manuscripts by Dr. Everett Dick, a former teacher at Union College and regional historian who wrote about the history of the Great Plains and continues to be a leading resource for frontier history
  • A rare book collection of six volumes entitled, An Exposition of All The Books of The Old and New Testaments, by Matthew Henry and published from 1662 to 1714
  • Personal manuscript by Edwin H. Wilber, a contemporary of Jacob Nelson Anderson, who also went as a missionary to China
  • Personal manuscript by Josiah Hart, a Seventh-day Adventist minister who was on the committee to locate the property for Union College
  • South Sea artifacts and weapons brought back to Union College by student missionaries

For more information about donations or to schedule a visit to the Heritage Room, contact Sabrina Riley at (402) 486-2600 ext. 2154 or sariley [at]