For my digital public history project on monuments and memorials at the University of the Pacific, I interviewed a half dozen alumni and created two personas based on the demographic and ethnographic features of Pacific alums that came through in those interviews. These are intended to reflect my audience in a simple and personal way. As Shlomo Goltz explains, “Each persona represents a significant portion of people in the real world and enables the designer to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters, instead of focusing on thousands of individuals.”1
Persona 1 is female. She is an avidly loyal Pacifican who joins organizations and enjoys coming to Homecoming and other Pacific events. Even though she receives many university messages, the materials do not always interest her. She would like to know more about the parts of the university experience that she was involved with while on campus.
Persona 2 is male. Although I made him Mexican American, I also interviewed female alumni from nonwhite ethnic groups; those aspects of the persona are drawn from multiple interviews. He also identifies as a Pacifican, but is more critical of the university and, being from the local Stockton community, wants to know more about the way that the university relates to the local community, especially its people of color.
Based on the interviews and the personas, I have begun to collect primary sources related to university monuments and memorials. For Burns Towers, I will focus on the protests by the Black Student Union and MEChA in 1969 that led to the Community Involvement Program, a comprehensive need-based scholarship and retention program for first-generation college students from the Stockton community. Burns Tower is a central icon in the community, but few know how students used it to speak out about their own and their community’s needs.
Anderson Hall and the Jacoby Center are other sites I will investigate. These spaces open up a window to student clubs and sociological inquiry on our campus. I hope that the personas will help me develop content that is of interest to our alumni.
1 Schlomo Goltz, “A Closer Look At Personas: What They Are And How They Work (Part 1),” Smashing Magazine (August 6, 2014).