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Members of the Ohio University History Association bring the past to life

The Ohio University History Association (OUHA) is on a mission to make history exciting. Twice a month, the student organization meets to discuss historical events and figures, traveling back in time to unlock the secrets of the past. 

Mariana Dantas, a history professor and the faculty advisor of OUHA, said the association creates a safe space for students to gather and discuss historical subjects freely, no matter how niche a topic might be.

“The goal had always been to offer a space for people to come together through their common appreciation for history,” Dantas said.

Sydney Yoder, a senior studying journalism and OUHA’s president, said the club meetings are not a history lecture. In fact, they are far from any traditional lessons students would learn in a classroom.

“We try to include events that really inspire our club members,” Yoder said.

Nora Haycook, a senior studying history and outdoor recreation and education, is the treasurer of OUHA. Haycook recalls an event last year where members took part in a “Shark Tank” style discussion. Members selected a modern invention and placed it in historical times. They answered the question: How would history have changed if this item had been introduced sooner? 

Haycook recalled discussing how history would have changed if bleach had been introduced during the time of historic and devastating plagues. 

Yoder said the club will host a multitude of engaging events this academic year. She hopes to take members on museum visits to the Cannabis and Mothman Museum. Yoder also plans to hold a faculty mock trial where professors role-play as historical figures.

Other exciting potential events include a murder mystery night and a tour of The Ridges. 

“It's kind of all over the place, but they have a purpose,” Yoder said. “They always will have something to do with history.”

Dantas looks forward to seeing what this academic year holds for OUHA.

“(OUHA) is a way to apply the things that you're learning and the things you're curious about and to have fun out of that,” Dantas said. “I'm excited to see what they're gonna come up with.”

Although the events revolve around history, OUHA welcomes any major, not just those studying history. The goal of OUHA is to connect students who are interested in discussing the past.

“It's all about building friendships and just talking with people who are interested in the same things you are,” Haycook said. 

While OUHA creates a fun, welcoming environment for history lovers, it also creates an outlet for important discussions.

“It's really important to have conversations about history, because history is reflective of systems and structures that we see every day around us,” Haycook said. “When you choose to become complacent with the events and things going on around you, you stop being interactive with the world and you start to lose that connection.”

She explained that by talking about history, OUHA members can utilize critical thinking skills and prepare themselves as future leaders. 

“History is around us all the time and people just may not be noticing it or maybe they're just not even thinking about it,” Yoder said. “Our club is for the people who do notice or want to learn about it.”


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