Inspired 25 years ago by the popular film “Back to the Future,” the class of 1988 is going back to the past on Friday.
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UNC alumnus Eric Chilton and his classmates are unearthing their class time capsule as part of their homecoming celebration this week.
“I started thinking about travelling back in time and thought how cool it would be to have a time capsule with all the stuff from current culture, and to see where we all are in 25 years,” Chilton says.
Chilton and classmates who helped him set up a booth in the Pit – a student gathering place on UNC’s campus – allowing students to donate pieces to the project.
Students have walked by the time saver’s marking stone in Polk Place for 50 semesters.
But even through all the changes of season the university has seen since the burial, Chilton describes traditions buried that students can still identify with today.
“I remember there were Daily Tar Heel newspapers in there,” Chilton says, “For me personally I have all the tickets from every basketball game, football game and concert.”
There are a few things in the time capsule students today may have learned about in their history books.
Chilton says the explosion of the space shuttle, “The Challenger” happened while he was in school. He said he and his classmates tried to include the major news stories for the time period.
There are some things in the time capsule that Chilton says he might want to rebury in his past.
“I have my student ID, which I’d love to see that right now,” Chilton says, “I think the cards were actually bigger to fit our hair back then.”
Chilton received an outpouring of support from the community 25 years ago when he organized the project. A local welder suggested a beer keg as the best thing to use for a time capsule. From there the pieces fell into place.
Fowler’s was a grocery store on West Franklin Street, that is no longer open. Chilton says they were more than willing to donate the keg.
A local welding company donated their services, and sealed the capsule.
Chilton used hometown connections for the ground marker.
“I’m from Mt. Airy, North Carolina, which has a huge granite quarry,” Chilton says, “The Mt. Airy Granite Quarry donated the stone and did the engraving and polishing for free.”
Chilton says he is pleased to see that the Tar Heel tradition of generosity is still alive today.
“It meant a lot to me that just about everywhere I called the answer was yes,” Chilton says, “It was not hard to get all of this to happen with the community support.”
The time capsule will be unearthed at 1:00 Friday afternoon. The artifacts will be on display in Wilson Library throughout the weekend.