Up with People Archive

Up With People group on the Great Wall of China

Up with People is a global youth performance and cultural exchange group. It provides young adults an international and intercultural experience that teaches service leadership and uses the performing arts to deliver messages of hope and goodwill throughout the world. Headquartered in Denver since 1993, Up with People began in Tucson in 1965 under the leadership and vision of J. Blanton Belk. From the beginning The University of Arizona campus served as a home base for Up with People cast members, young men and women between the ages of 19 and 29. Up with People exists today to spark people to action in meeting the needs of their communities, countries, and the world while building bridges of understanding as a foundation for world peace. It is an independent nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization without any religious or political affiliations. 

About the Archive

Our Special Collections is honored to be the repository for the Up with People Archive. This so far includes the organization papers of the group, its International Alumni Association, as well as the personal papers of UWP Founder and Chairman Emeritus J. Blanton Belk and his wife Elizabeth "Betty" Belk. The collection consists of correspondence, news clippings, photographs, videos, ephemera and personal memoirs. 

Over the dynamic 45 year history of Up with People a substantial amount of archival materials have been generated and are now stored for posterity in Special Collections on the University of Arizona campus. Over 100 large boxes of materials are currently being inventoried, organized, and rehoused. 

We are excited about the unique opportunity to expand and document the Up with People experience through developing an active archive. For more details about the archive, contact Lisa Duncan, Adjunct Lecturer, at duncanl@u.library.arizona.edu or 520.307.4762.

How to Give

The vision for the Up with People collection is to make it into an active archive - ever growing - made available for use by researchers and curious investigators interested in Tucson, Arizona, and southwestern history and culture. In order to make this wonderful collection into an active, living archive, we need your help. Processing will require staffing and space, neither of which is in large supply these days.

Thanks to the monetary support of those who have already given we have been able to start inventorying, organizing, and rehousing the collection with the first phase of completion targeted for July 2012, but there is still much more to do. As a valuable international resource, preservation and online access to the collection is necessary to create an online environment for easy access around the globe. Digitization and migration of the audio visual materials is an important first step in achieving this goal. An archivist is needed to oversee and manage this work while also being fully committed to enhancing the archive through proactive collection development. This person must go into the Up with People community to acquire materials, collect oral histories, and engage with others who were impacted by Up with People and its mission, including host families.

To make a donation, contact Sofia Petropoulos, in Development, petropou@email.arizona.edu or 520.621.6431. You are also invited to inscribe an ornament on the Up with People Tree of Nations.