NDSU University Archives > Collections

The Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) began its official club meetings at North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) on December 18, 1901, though there is evidence of meetings years prior. The next year, in 1902, the club was granted a permanent meeting room in the Engineering Building, and was later moved to Old Main. In the early years of the club, members were involved in social, recreational, and academic activities.

The Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) began in 1899 when women at NDAC felt the need for a women’s club on the campus. The club, originally named for founding member Edith Hill, aimed to help women develop social lives while broadening spiritually and intellectually. In 1906, the club changed its name to the Y.W.C.A. In June 1968, the club became inactive after a decline in membership.

In 1919 with the completion of the Y.M.C.A. building, the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. had a permanent meeting place. The building was close to campus and used for various events among the organization’s members until its destruction by the 1957 tornado. Events held by the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. included religious services, sporting events, dances, Freshman Camp, luncheons, Camera Club, holiday parties, as well as numerous other social events.

Both organizations elected cabinet officers and board members to represent their club. These individuals hosted events, made committees, raised money to fund their organizations, and kept the clubs in order. One hope of the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. was to bring college students of differing backgrounds, faiths, and interests to work for one common purpose and desire. The club’s intention was to prepare young men and women to go out into their communities and live a life of faith and responsibility.

Though the Y.M.C.A. of North Dakota State University has changed its name, the programs it has served on the campus will remain the same. The Compass Program Foundation (formally known as the Y.M.C.A.) holds programs and events for students, faculty, and staff at NDSU. Now days, the club is most known for its Brown Bag Seminars, in which people around the area come and discuss certain topics or issues.