Campus Life Then and Now Wows Fairgoers

Posted: August 28, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Remember avocado green? Carbon paper? Beaded curtains? Record players?

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities workers have set up a dorm room from 1968 alongside one from 1998 in the Education Building at the Minnesota State Fair. The popular display, which will run through Labor Day, is attracting a steady stream of Baby Boomers and their children.

"I can remember when we had visiting hours," reminisced Holly Glaeser, a fair visitor and Bemidji State University alumna. "We always had to leave the door open and one foot on the floor." Glaeser laughed as she pointed out the old stereo, manual typewriter and rotary phone in the 1968 room. She compared that to the compact disc player, laptop computer and cordless phone from 1998. Fairgoer Bruce Stene of Oakdale said the orange crate bookshelf reminded him of his old dorm room. "But where are the beer cans?" he said.

Patty Van Hoven and her daughter Tracy Van Hoven, a senior at Roseville Area High School, laughed over the avocado green bedspread and lamp in the 1968 room. "Everything in my house was orange and yellow," said Patty, pointing to a flower-painted recipe box. "And I think my grandmother made that afghan. It's fun for the kids to see this. When we talk about this stuff, they just don't get it. I don't think they thought there was life without a remote control." "I don't think I could survive without a computer," said Tracy, comparing the 1998 room's laptop computer with the 1968 manual typewriter.

Many visitors loved the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band poster in the 1968 room, but only the teenagers could identify the poster of the Jamiroquai disco group in the 1998 room.

Visitor Bev Torgerson of Warren and her daughter Kaia, a college junior, agreed that technology is the big improvement since 1968. They also said microwave popcorn and Starbucks coffee represent progress, while lava lamps, flared pants and book shelves made of bricks and boards haven't changed all that much.