History of The Oredigger

     Now that we have entered the new decade, we have completed a century of existence at The Oredigger. In 1920, we weren’t any more than a group of Mines students with an idea. We’ve come quite a long way from reporting the formation of the first-ever Mines Student Council in 1921. In celebration of 100 years, we (mostly Shannon) have done the research, and offer you a brief history of Mines’ oldest continuously running student publication.

     In the spring of 1921, The Oredigger writing staff issued a call to action for Mines students… 

     Let our ideal be “The best Oredigger,” and our working motto, “Each issue better than the last…” But The Oredigger is the newspaper of “the students of the Colorado School of Mines,” and it is they alone who can insure a continuously increasing standard of excellence. Your duties as a student are several: (1) Subscription; (2) Regular contribution of manuscript, suggestions, and criticisms… (3) Patronage of the advertisers; (4) Use of the want-ads, and (5) The offer of your services to the staff, if you are interested in the more particular work of publication. To make The Oredigger a success, the staff needs more than your passive support.

(Issue 2, March 28, 1921)

     In what directions has the student body of Mines taken The Oredigger in the 100 years since its first publication? What do its various forms say about each generation of new Oredigger? Where do we go from here? 

     The Oredigger was born out of a desire for a medium of expression of student opinion and substitute for Mines Magazine which temporarily ceased publication as the alumni association went rouge. At the time, a joint committee from the state House and Senate was investigating low standards of education at Mines due to the “civil war” atmosphere which existed on campus. After three years of perseverance through thin staffing and financing, Ronald K. DeFord and F.A. Brinker’s vision of The Oredigger was brought to life and thankfully self-sufficient. The Oredigger has served Mines continuously since March 21st, 1921 except for the wartime years of 1944 and 1945. What began as an outlet for expression of opinion has become an avenue for the articulation and recording of Oredigger sports, news, health and wellness, arts and culture, and, now as much as ever, opinions. 

     Here is a taste of some of the curious, questionable, and poignant articles to pass through The Oredigger office and make it to print:

     April 11, 1921 – Jelly-fish and Conger-eels – Writers for The Oredigger put together a… well… let’s just say a world of wit and humor in one column. 

   February 2nd, 1943 – Art of Doodlebugging Baffles Mines Student Delving into Mysteries of Sacred Sciences – George Raabe wrote of his interview with Mr. S. E. Peery of Golden, “the seventh child in a seventh family,” “… He can divine in an automobile and on horseback. Out in his garden he demonstrated his technique by relocating an underground stream there. Suggesting that I try my skill he handed me the rod which I had seen him cut from a green bush. To my amazement I found I could duplicate his results with some accuracy…”

     March 4, 1947 – X Marks The Man – Editors of The Oredigger reported on a recent Junior class election, “What happened is that the fraternities had laid out a plan of action, followed it to the ‘T’, and walked off with the pork barrel… Those who are getting tired of the status quo and would like to witness a genuine campaign should cease moaning about that quaint contraction, the Greek Machine, and look to themselves.” 

     September 22, 1960 – Modern Course Descriptions – A staff writer, we suppose, put together this gem, “Crystallography – Cubesville, man. Crazy blocks and wild pictures. Petrography – This is the craziest. Really jumps, man. Dig the technicolor spectaculars through the round tube. Wildhorse Field Geology – Natureville. Dig this outdoor health cure with air-conditioned pads. For the birds… Structural Geology – You’ve got to be with it, man, or you won’t dig these crazy pretzel benders. Geology 101 – Junior boy scout Mickey Mouse. Lecture can be hip, but labs are definitely out of the groove. Squaresville…”

    December 10, 1963 – A Tau Bate’s Reflections – “… As in no other time in our history, the entire country has been instantly informed of a national calamity and taken to the scene within minutes to be a live spectator. The people of the United States eyewitnessed the murder of the President’s accused assassin. They eye-witnessed the President lying in state and his subsequent funeral, procession, and burial. All were struck with the solemnity and dignity of this historical event.”

     March 9th, 1971 – A President vs A Leader – Kenji Farinelli wrote the following regarding the upcoming student body elections, “A president works in small ways; persevering, trying, succeeding, and trying again. He is never satisfied and never will be. He is not there for himself, but for the students that elected him… He is there because of the students and only because of them, and if he ever violated their trust, like so many have, then you don’t have a president, you have a leader. And they are a dime a dozen.”

     October 21st, 1999 – Aramark sends “fresh eyes” to Mines cafeteria – Faisal G. Hashem wrote, “‘We need less quantity, more quality,’ said student Stacy Collins… Kyle Korn, also a student, says ‘the cafeteria food is always ‘too something’… too bland, too dry, too much pepper.’ ‘They’re stingy on seconds, the fruit at the fruit bar is often fermented, and the soup is always cold,’ remarked Paula Koncel. ‘Pancakes… at the health bar… for dinner? Though the salad bar is okay and the ice cream machine is nice.’”

     November 9th, 2000 – With All Due Respect, a Change is Needed – Brett Maughan addressed the poor communication skills of students, we’ve come a long way, “‘Did you write this proposal?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Is English your first language?’ If Mines students learn to communicate in a boardroom, engineer-client situation, it still is not enough… Networking requires an ability to make small talk…”

    February 25th, 2013 – Geek of the Week – Staff Writer Joran Francis interviewed Malachi McDonald, a freshman in Mining Engineering, “‘What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?’ ‘The Pyramids, the tower of Babel (they cut we out before it collapsed), the Hanging Gardens, and surviving two years in Dwarf Fortress.’ ‘What would you do if you suddenly found yourself face-to-face with Batman”’ ‘[I would be] half-tempted to ask how his parents are doing and the other half wanted to ask it he has got any catnip in his utility belt.’”

     This paper started out of necessity. There was no Daily Blaster, and The Oredigger was the primary way information reached students on the Mines campus for decades. When the Internet became popular in the early 1990s, this paper took a hit, in both staffing and readership. We’ve persevered through thick and thin, but we’ve found our niche: a platform for student journalism; a place for Mines students to share their opinions; a way to question Mines life in an organized and intellectual way.

     Now that we’ve taken a brief look at the past, you can help us usher in the future. As you may have noticed from the cover, The Oredigger has a header! We’d like our 101st volume to have something creative, clever, and with a touch of whimsy on the cover, and we want it to be a student submission. Below are a few examples of headers from the past for reference. Email us at orediggerstories@gmail.com with your submissions, and the Monday after spring break we’ll decide on a winner, who, along with having their design featured all of the next academic year in the paper, will get a $25 gift certificate!


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