Conceived in 2008 as an institute within the School of Arts and Humanities, the PHI seeks to collect, explore, preserve, and promote the history of our region, namely Bakersfield, Kern County, and the Southern San Joaquin Valley, through projects and programs intended to engage the campus and community. Of particular importance is our support of oral history projects, undertaken mainly by the Historical Research Center of the Walter Stiern Library, under the direction of archivist Chris Livingston. These have included a focus on the oral histories of Dust Bowl-era migrants, members of the CSUB community, musicians of the Bakersfield Sound, and African Americans in our region. PHI events are generally free and open to the public, often focusing on agricultural, labor, oil, and cultural history, as well as important national events and the experience and effects of these events locally.