Maddie Downie and Luke Liffengren interview Clyde Sachtleben, professor emeritus, over his time as the former astronomy professor

Two students podcasting to share eye-witness, HC history

As Hastings College moves into a new era, Maddie Downie and Luke Liffengren are recording the past with their podcast “Those Who’ve Been Here Before.” In their monthly podcast, Downie and Liffengren interview previous alumni and professors of HC to tell their stories for the future
HC community. 

Downie got interested in telling alumni stories after interviewing Phil Dudley, former HC president, as part of LeRoy Thom’s obituary for the Office of Marketing and Communications. After the interview, Downie decided she also wanted to tell the story of previous HC community members.

“They had these super awesome stories to tell, and I was like, nobody knows about these except for these guys,” Downie said.

Liffengren was recruited by Downie to help with the technical aspects, such as recording and editing. 

The podcast is currently hosted by the Hastings Oral History Initiative (HOHI) website. Downie reached out to HOHI on a recommendation from former history professor,
Michelle Marino.

“I think going into 2.0, it’s kind of a transition period, and there’s a lot of changes happening. We are leaving certain things behind, and just because you’re leaving things behind doesn’t mean they should necessarily be forgotten,” Liffengren said.

For both, they feel that telling the stories of previous HC faculty members will let other alumni remember their time at HC. 

“Our audience is probably past faculty or alumni themselves because either of them could be like, ‘Oh I had that professor; oh, they were my president at the time I was at college’ and they would love to hear this story because it’s nostalgic,” Liffengren said.

Liffengren does note that current students would benefit from listening to previous HC faculty speak. “I think if you are a student … it is fun to listen to these because these people are the reason you are here now and these people are the reason that your college is the way that it is now. It’s important to give them their due credit for creating this amazing experience,”
Liffengren said.  Downie says that the most rewarding part about the project is meeting influential people in the HC community and developing a relationship
with them. “I end up getting pretty close with these people. Dudley would even invite me out for dinner and then I’m supposed to go on a car ride with Ann Bolke sometime here soon … every single time I get a friend out of it, and I feel really good about that,”
Downie said.