Junior History major and History Students Activity Council (SAC) member Phoebe Sanders gets into the pros of being a history major, who the History SAC are and what they do. (Spoiler: plan fun events!)
Interview with Phoebe Sanders, BC ‘21, reporting by Lilly Anderson
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Phoebe Sanders, I am a Junior, studying history and psych, concentrate in European history, more specifically German history, history surrounding the holocaust.
What is the History Students Activity Council?
The History SAC started last year, this is the second cohort. It’s comprised of Adri Denbroeder, Emily Moncata, and I. Its mission is to build community within the history department. You don’t want to get to the end of Senior year and be like, “Oh, you’re a history major?” when you could have been bonding the whole time.
What events did you plan for the fall semester?
On Thursday, October 24th, there was a Ghost Tour. We took a group of 15 students to do a haunted tour of New York… haunted history of Greenwich Village, that kind of stuff. We have such a great playground here in NYC, what’s the history? And it was October, so ’tis the season.
Beyond the ghost tour, what else are you hoping to do through the History SAC this year?
We want to partner with Beyond Barnard, to be able to connect specifically with history majors. There is just such a question of–what are you going to do with this history degree? And the answer is, there’s just so much you could do! So the idea is to present a panel of history alumnae who are journalists, lawyers, etc.
Also, another idea is to have something similar to a zine profiling all the professors of the history department that would assist in picking your advisor– going into the department and being assigned someone, you hopefully have a fun working knowledge, hopefully it’ll be a fun quirky little zine of who your advisor is, who you want them to be.
A lot of people see a major as just your classes. Why is having a major community–specifically within the history major–important to you?
I think it’s easy to get very one dimensional with your studies, so it’s just a great way to expand your knowledge. Besides academically, it just comes down to having a community as a human. Barnard is a college, it’s easy to feel small. In the same way that people form interest clubs, there is a vibrant community of people who can bond over this common interest. Maybe it could even be considered a history club.
How have you found community within the history major?
Most of my friends are actually history majors, it might have just happened that way coincidentally, probably through the seminar environment. Intimacy of the history seminar.
There is a vibe to a history major here. It’s a personality that I’m magnetized toward.
What would be your advice to prospective majors/majors looking to get involved in the department?
Reach out! Reach out to me, reach out to anyone in the SAC, reach out to Dr. Ko, reach out to fellow history majors, everyone is so willing to help each other here, people want to help more than you know. I definitely encourage anyone to the head of the department or to a professor, they want to claim you for the history dept, anyone would love to have you. Realizing that, making the leap toward touching base with somebody because you are wanted, making the first move, I guess.