A Glimpse into the History of Glom

Caroline Kirkconnell | Online Staff | Nov 29, 2018

history-of-glom

For over 120 years, Auburn University’s official yearbook the Glomerata has captured priceless personal milestones, featured on-campus events, and showcased student life. Timeless traditions fill each page including fans who roll Toomer’s Corner after an Auburn football victory and students who tip-toe around the sacred Auburn seal so that they may graduate on time. One article features students who find true love at Auburn while another promotes an annual pumpkin-carving competition where students contend for the best pumpkin. Flipping through newer Glom pages give readers a sense of modern refinement, while dusting off older versions shows the growth of Auburn University and its students. The word “glomerata” originates from the Latin root meaning to heap or gather. For more than a century, staff writers have collected interviews from students who beam with school pride and provide fresh perspectives on Auburn life. Starting in 1897, the Glomerata began recording the Auburn University tradition of excellence by featuring campus life, athletics, academics, organizations, greeks, and people. The voices of Auburn University students provide the template for this publication. Each story advances campus history, and student involvement on-campus serves as muse for much of the photography. Readers will find students describing their college experience and discussing how their experience better prepares them for life beyond graduation. 

Along with many events and traditions featured in the Glomerata, readers see professor mission statements, campus-inspired poetry, and clubs that give students a sense of community. Older Glomerata versions include individual student pictures while newer versions feature student snapshots along the concourse and aerial photographs of students enjoying a football game. Much has changed since the first publication, but the spirit of Auburn and the vision of Glomerata remain the same. People write, edit, and take pictures for the Glomerata because the stories they collect serve as the mouthpiece for the Auburn student body. Students want their voices heard, and a well-informed community depends on the information written for and distributed to them. The Glomerata serves as both a media outlet and a source of common ground. Each publication gathers diverse perspectives on topics that challenge and enrich an entire community. Today, Glom readers have mixed emotions about the publication’s past triumphs and pitfalls. Times have changed and so have the demands of staff members ready to meet the needs of people who yearn for updated content. In the past, the Glomerata has encountered hardship, and its survival has been put into question on more than one occasion. Students have boycotted the book, burned books, and even attempted harming previous editors. In 1955, a crowd of 250-350 outraged students gathered in Ross Square to burn the book and track down editor John Sellers for poorly portraying fraternity and sorority life. The mob attempted to lynch Sellers. In 1970, crowds burned the book in protest of the Vietnam War. One aspect of the Glomerata that has changed significantly over the years is its increased emphasis on female student success and the importance of women in leadership. Auburn women felt empowered when female deans infiltrated a once all-male leadership team. This transition incentivized women to continue their studies, and many men interpreted this as a call to social action, pushing the campus in a direction they did not support. Some Auburn students wanted alignment with tradition while others pushed for progress in unexpected ways. First established as the East Alabama Male College in 1856, Auburn University was first chartered as a male-only school, but in 1899, it was renamed the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) to reflect its changing mission of inclusivity. Now, the Glomerata proudly features the personal and academic successes of Auburn University's male and female students. Readers peer into the complex history of the Glomerata and see it now has the power to amplify all Auburn voices— with each edition featuring brighter ideas for the betterment of the loveliest  village on the plains.