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World Student Christian Federation North America Regional Office Records

 Collection
Call Number: RG 46A
Scope and Contents
The records document the activities of the North America Regional Office of the World Student Christian Federation during its fifteen-year period of operation, 1973 through 1988. The collection focuses primarily on the North American Office and student movements in the United States and Canada, but includes some material relating to other WSCF Regional Offices and related organizations.

Series I, North America Committee Records, contains records of the major decision-making bodies of the North America Region: the North America Regional Committee (NARC), the Canadian "affiliated" movement (SCM-Canada), various national U.S. committees, and the North American Trustees of the WSCF. These committees sometimes met jointly under the North America Regional Committee, but frequently held separate meetings to discuss more specific issues. These records document the Region's policies and programs as well as changes in NARC staff and structure. The materials include reports, minutes, meeting agenda, by-laws and constitutions, dating from 1973 through 1987.

Some materials from the Geneva office of the WSCF are included in Series I. Reports include activities of the North America region, and other materials were collected by North America staff members who attended Geneva meetings. Other documents include papers and reports presented by the North America staff to the Geneva office.

Series II, North America Regional Office Operations, documents the daily activities of the North America Regional Office and its staff. These office files provide insight into the duties of the Regional Secretaries and reflect their specific activities and concerns. Correspondence details the interactions of the office staff with each other, with staff from the Inter-Regional and other Regional Offices, and with related movements and organizations. Of particular interest in Series II is material relating to the planning and execution of the many conferences, programs, workshops and projects sponsored by the Regional Office. Conference themes reflected issues of interest and importance to Christians in North America during the period, particularly political, social and moral concerns. Such issues included political unrest in other regions, labor unions in Canada, women's roles in the church and society, and homosexuality.

Series III, WSCF Inter-Regional Office (IRO) and regional offices, contains material pertaining to the operations of the Geneva office of the WSCF and of the Regional Offices other than the North America Office. These materials were collected by the North America Regional Office staff through communications with the Geneva and Regional Offices and through participation in their committee meetings, conferences and other activities.

The Geneva office papers include material pertaining to the Inter-Regional Office, WSCF Executive Committee, General Assembly and Universal Day of Prayer for Students. Also included are materials from the Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Middle East Regional Offices.

Regional material in Series III is valuable for the insight it provides into the difficulties of Christian activities in war-torn countries and politically-repressed societies. The collection is particularly rich in material on Nicaragua, with accounts of daily life as seen by WSCF visitors. There is documentation on the arrests and torture of Asians. Material pertaining to Africa reveals the region's social situation in the 1980s, focusing on such issues as apartheid, poverty and church work.

Series IV, Related Ecumenical Student Movements, is comprised of material from student Christian movements which share the same focus and goals as the World Student Christian Federation. Several movements in this series are officially associated with the WSCF, including the California Student Christian Movement, Lutheran Student Movement of the U.S.A and Canada, and the University Christian Movement in New England. These movements are filed among the papers from other related movements in the collection. The lack of a complete, current list of associated movements prevented the identification of other movements' official relationships to the WSCF.

Series V, Related Organizations, contains material from various religious organizations which was collected by the North America Regional Committee staff. The reasons for their collecting this material are varied and, sometimes, unclear. Some organizations sponsored joint conferences or programs with the NARC. NARC staff attended other independently-sponsored events. The NARC apparently acquired other materials by being on these organizations mailing lists.

Denominational organizations such as the United Methodist Church and the Lutheran Student Movement (a movement officially associated with the WSCF) are also included in Series V. Of particular note are the Frontier Internship in Mission and Young Christians for Global Justice, in which the NARC actively participated.

Series VI, Addendum, contains a variety of types of material, recieved in 2015 as an addition to this collection.

Overall, the collection provides insight into the challenges of student Christian work throughout the decades of the 1970s and 1980s. The management styles of the regional secretaries contrasts greatly with that of earlier global WSCF leaders. This material reflects a more casual style of interaction among staff members. Any gaps in correspondence can be attributed to the wide use of telephone communication. The papers reflect a willingness among the regional movements to adapt to social change. Their desire to uphold a Federation which did not discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sexual preference is evident, as is their continued status as an ecumenical movement.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Deposited by the WSCF North America Regional Office.
Arrangement
  1. I. North America Committee Records
  2. II. North America Regional Office Operations
  3. III. WSCF Inter-Regional Office and Regional Offices
  4. IV. Related Ecumenical Student Movements
  5. V. Related Organizations
  6. VI. Addendum
Related Materials
The World Student Christian Federation records (RG 46) contain the records of the WSCF from its founding until approximately 1925, and consist mainly of materials from John R. Mott's personal collection. RG 46C is an addendum to these materials. The remaining records of the WSCF, roughly 1925-present, are in RG 46F. These materials were held at the WSCF offices in Geneva until 2017.

Records from the WSCF Board of Trustees can be found in RG 46B.

Records from other regional WSCF offices can be found in RG 46D (Africa) and RG 46E (Europe).
Dates
1920-2010
Majority of material found within 1973 - 1989
Extent
15 Linear Feet (34 boxes)
Related Names
World Student Christian Federation
Language of Materials
English