The Start of the Week

Faculty Sponsor

Kevin Ostoyich


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018


The Week of Challenge was a student-led event that invited dozens of prominent speakers to a conference-styled discussion of broad topics. The students hoped to be inclusive of all thought and fields of study. The first wave of Week of Challenge occurred in the mid-1960s and lasted to about 1972. I focus my research on the reasons why the Week of Challenge stopped after over half a decade of success. I explore many hypotheses regarding why the event was discontinued: dissent from women on campus; organizational failures; pushback from STEM fields. Ultimately, I argue that the Week of Challenge was deeply connected to the activism of the 1960s, and once policy goals were being accomplished, students started to lose interest in social issues during the 1970s.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

I am a political science and history major. When given the list of projects I knew I wanted to examine a time when students were actively involved in their educational experience. Looking for a project that would satisfy my interest the archivist and myself decided upon a collection of reel-to-reel tapes. The tapes had speeches made by many prominent speakers all addressing questions of great thought, which piqued my interest.

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