SELINSGROVE – Eleven Susquehanna University freshmen walked from the campus to the nearby Union Cemetery on Thursday where they got a brief history lesson on Selinsgrove and some of the people buried there.
The history course entitled Selinsgrove Stories is part of a university-wide initiative to orient all first-year students to college life and to the larger community, said history professor Edward Slavishak.
“One of the university’s strategic initiatives is to get students, faculty and staff to integrate more with the community,” he said.
His introductory course will require all freshmen history students learn about Selinsgrove through the people that live in the community and research.
On Thursday, Don Housley, an SU professor emeritus of history, and Selinsgrove history buff Charles “Bo” Fasold, met with students at the 108 Reservoir Hill Road cemetery established in 1872.
Student Ethan Bel asked whether it was true Ku Klux Klan members visited the borough in the 1920s and held a ceremony in the cemetery.
“I think I’ve seen a photograph of it,” said Fasold, who has a vast collection of vintage photographs dating back more than a century of Selinsgrove events and people. “They came up from Harrisburg. I do not think the Klan was very active here.”
Bell, of Thompsontown, said he appreciates the opportunity to go off campus and “learn about the area that we’ll be living in for four years.”
In the Selinsgrove Stories history course, students will be required to create a biography of an individual buried in Union Cemetery, produce a video on a particular place in the borough and give an oral presentation on a small event in the borough’s past.
Slavishak said that by educating students in this way, he aims to strengthen their connection to the community and relationships.
“The hope is that as students become sophomores, juniors and seniors, they’ll be primed to do more community projects,” he said.