From the acceptance letter to the diploma, imagine the paper trail that follows a student through their post-secondary education. Now imagine being responsible for record-keeping at an institution that is almost 50 years old, has four campuses in three cities, and has a student body that has grown by 60% in the last eight years. Linda Nelson has been Sheridan’s Corporate Records Officer for more than a decade and is accountable for the five thousand boxes of documents stored at the Trafalgar Campus.
Financials, student records and corporate information are the main types of documents that come across Nelson’s desk. “It’s not just filing!” she says. Almost all of the documents in storage are required to be kept by law for varied lengths of time and need to be readily accessible upon request. Trained as an Enterprise Content Management Master, she helps bring order to chaos and developed training tools for employees to ensure boxes are packed properly before they are classified and stored.
“It’s important to display our artifacts. It shows that we care” – Linda Nelson
Above and beyond the call, Nelson has also taken responsibility for many of Sheridan’s artifacts that would otherwise be lost. Often times this means a trip to the dumpster. Black and white graduation photos of nursing students that were once in the garbage now hang proudly in a hallway at the Davis Campus. The leather eagle outside the Aboriginal Office at Trafalgar was also at one time unclaimed, and today Elders from across the GTA are making the trip to Sheridan to admire it. “It’s important to display our artifacts,” explains Nelson, “It shows that we care.”
Describing herself as the “college mom,” Nelson works to keep things tidy and organized around campus while lending a helping hand wherever she can. Her 21 year career at Sheridan began as a class technician and has since included volunteer work with the Aboriginal Awareness Committee, union activism, co-chairing of the Health and Safety Committee and adding three certificates to her name. Despite a busy workload she never overlooks the importance of making time for others. “The people make the overall picture of the college,” she explains, “that’s why Sheridan has carried such a good name for so long.”
“The people make the overall picture of the college. That’s why Sheridan has carried such a good name for so long” – Linda Nelson
At the end of February 2015, Nelson is retiring from her post as resident record keeper. Although her diligence and enthusiasm will be missed, her strong connection to ancestry and belief in the importance of celebrating culture will be present at Sheridan for years to come. “Records and artifacts represent our history,” she explains. “If you don’t capture it, you can’t recreate it.”
Pictured at top of page: Linda Nelson, Corporate Records Officer at Sheridan. Photo by Sheridan Photography Technologist Owen Colborne.
Written by: Keiko Kataoka, Digital Communications Officer at Sheridan.