Place item was collected
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
USUSA, Zachary Bess
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Zachary Grant Bess, I’m a student with a Dual Major in English Teaching and History Teaching. I’m in the military, as well as a student, and currently serve in the USUSA as the Senator for CHaSS here at USU. I was raised in Southern Utah. A huge Aggie fan, I participate in all things against BYU. USUSA is collectively voted on every year, in February.
These items, not all pictured, are tokens/items that are passed from each Officer on USUSA to their successor. Elections happen each year the week before Spring Break, and the transition from one officer to the next usually takes place in mid-April, this is the time the item would be passed on. There is seemingly no connection to the collection, with each office having a unique object, and they don’t even pertain to the position in any unique way (not all of them at least.) Not all officers have them (at least they claimed.) and those that did, did not understand why. One Commonality was flags/banners. This one seemed obvious, since the items tend to be signed, and textiles provide for a large surface. They are all stored differently, because each one is different.
The President’s Office, Currently President Michael Scott Peters, has a door. [yes and entire door.] IT is a door that used to lead to the adjacent office, but now, opening to a blank wall, serving as a micro-closet, is signed by the past Presidents.
The Executive Vice President has a large vertical flag, signed back at least 15 years, that is currently displayed behind VP Blake Harm’s Desk prominently.
Student Advocate Vice President has a small [child toy] gold colored bull. It is signed back a few years, but will soon be completely covered. It sits on a shelf of VP Baldwin.
Student Alumni Vice President, a new position as of last year, already has one, a Gothic type banner, carrying a single signature, and is hung on the wall of VP Brendon Brady
CHaSS Senator has a Felt V banner, hung above my desk, signed back 8 years. It bears the block A, not the athletic logos.
Ag Senator has a small toy John Deere Tractor, held in a display case, the signatures are in the bed of the trailer, and only has sporadic signatures, as if some senators did not know or choose to sign. Heather Lieber, incumbent Senator has not signed yet.
Admin Assistant has a painting, of Old Main, on display in that office. On the Back are signatures. Currently on display in Admin Assit. Dallin Johnson’s office.
Athletics Vice President mentioned that they are done differently and many, many items are passed down year to year, and the original gifter usually signs their object only.
Other officers did not respond, or were unaware of any objects.
Much like a yearbook, the signatures are just a way staking a claim on they object. Most do not have any other message besides the signature and years in office. Interestingly, many of the officers do not care about the objects, but refuse to throw them away, and admit they will likely follow tradition and ritual at the end of their terms.
Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
G8: Objects with/of Customary Use
Bess, Zachary Grant, "USUSA Signature Tokens Collection" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 7.