Student collections provide memories

St. Louis, MO. junior Amanda Miles keeps a mug collection to remind her of the many travels she has had with her family. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Editor

By Clarissa Pompa | Reporter

Dorms and apartments are filled with things or decorations that reflect the person who lives there. Whether it be intricate wall hangings or movie posters, making a room feel like home takes effort. For some students that effort is visible in large collections.

Amanda Miles, a junior Business Fellows, finance and accounting major from Missouri, makes her home her own by collecting mugs. Miles’ personal collection was started with her family as they traveled. With a total of 20 mugs, her family travels almost twice a year, adding to their respective collections each time.

“My mom will collect Christmas ornaments when we go on vacation to remember things by,” Miles said. “I think, around the time I started touring colleges, we got a few mugs at the different colleges we went to and then just from there it was like, why not just collect mugs. We try to get souvenirs on trips that we can actually use and not just have little trinkets all around the house.”

While most of Miles’ collection is with her family, she continues to add to it even now. With seven mugs bought since starting college, Miles’ trips have not slowed down. Over winter break, she added a mug from a trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean with her family. However, her favorite mug so far is the one she bought in Budapest.

“That’s when I was backpacking Europe after freshman year,” Miles said. “Budapest was towards the end of the trip… just made sure to be extra careful with that one.”

Miles considers her collection to be a great way to remember where she has been while looking to the future. Her family is already planning a summer trip to Canada but Miles says she is the one that could have been a travel agent in another life.

Where her collection is more functional and with a bit of fun, Andy Racoti’s collection of memorabilia is fun with a side of functional. Racoti is a senior from Robinson, studying film and digital media. He collects items and figurines from movies, video games and shows, such as “Lord of the Rings.”

“Anything I have a connection to who I am or my childhood, I kind of display that throughout my room,” Racoti said. “I have a lot of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars stuff. Teen Titans was a big thing when I was kid … I love all of that stuff.”

Racoti’s collection began as a child when his father bought him kids meals from Burger King. Since then, his collection has expanded to include Funko Pop figures, with Miles claiming that as one of the larger parts of collection. Starting with a childhood interest in movies, such as “Toy Story,” to an in-depth interest beginning with the Star Wars prequels, Racoti has used his interests to lead him to film and digital media where he now collects items from his own short films.

“Now that I’m making movies, my own shorts, I tend to keep my props,” Racoti said. “When I’m writing something, I’m always in the back of of my mind, ‘Well, I’d like to have that prop in my collection.’”

Many of these props are those that Racoti makes himself. He continues to add to his memorabilia collection with these as well as with art he makes. His pieces are visible throughout his family’s home, with his more niche pieces accompanying his collection.

“I do a lot of art, a lot of paintings, so I kind of have a lot of my pieces around the collectibles to complement them,” Racoti said. “Basically everything that I have is supposed to represent me and my interests.”

Both collections originate from childhood and provide a sense of where Miles has been and what Racoti hopes to do. On the other hand, Miles hopes to travel to New Zealand one day and Racoti has some figurines from his childhood displayed.

“I just remember the trip like, ‘Oh, I forgot we visited here,’” Miles said. “It’s nice to remember … like with the Budapest mug, remembering I got that at the flea market in the city center.”