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At Aims Community College, A Time Capsule That Won’t Be Forgotten

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Aims Community College opened a time capsule from 1993 in January. Then, on October 25, a new capsule was dedicated with instructions to open it in 2067.

Preserving a slice of today’s world for future generations is not unique. Experts say there are likely tens of thousands of time capsules out there.

What makes the Aims capsule in Greeley, Colo., different is that it was unsealed and its contents removed and pondered upon. Most time capsules are forgotten, said Paul Hudson, a history professor at Georgia State University Perimeter College and a time capsule scholar.

“They lose something in the transmission to the future and usually time capsules are never opened,” he said.

One problem: many time capsules are buried.

“Once you bury something it’s out of sight, out of mind,” he said.

Instead, Hudson said people should put their capsules in plain view -- so they are remembered, even anticipated.

Aims is following this kind of advice with their time capsule. The small, metal box will be placed in a designated space inside the walls of the Applied Technology and Trades Center, the latest building constructed on the school’s campus. 

“Marking of a 50th anniversary is very, very significant,” said Dr. Leah L. Bornstein, president of the college. “A time capsule is a really symbolic and significant way to bring the culture, the energy, the reality through history.”

Bornstein was joined with board chair Carol Rucker in unveiling the items heading into the time capsule in dramatic fashion – pulling each one from a black barrel smoldering with dry ice and adorned with colorful flowers. The objects were then given to Mike Millsapps, executive director of facilities and operations and caretaker of the items, who placed them into a hole in the wall. The hole, eventually holding the boxed items, will be sealed by a plaque. 

To commemorate the dedication, the school held a free community event, “Arty Underground: The Legacy Continues,” featuring a Dia De Los Muertos theme and celebrating the past, present and future of Aims.

The items in the time capsule include memorabilia that date back to the school’s origin in 1967 as well as mementos that are relevant to today, including a smartphone, a flash drive with popular songs and a fidget spinner.

The more than 70 items selected for the time capsule were submitted by the Board of Trustees, students and employees. Dr. Ray Peterson, an Aims trustee, attended the event and said the board’s contribution was aerial photos of the college’s four campuses.

“I’m sure that 50 years from now, it’ll be a whole different scene,” he added. “Be interesting for somebody to look back and say, ‘Oh yeah, this is what the campus looked like.’”

The “American Dream” was coined in 1931 and since then the phrase has inspired people to work hard and dream big. But is it achievable today? Graduating from college is challenging, jobs are changing, and health care and basic rights can be a luxury. I report on the barriers people face and overcome to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families.
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