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Gathering perspectives on the pandemic

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

Archives seeks personal stories from campus community of response to COVID-19 pandemic

University of Delaware faculty, staff and students are invited to share their personal experiences with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic as part of a special project organized by University Archives and Records Management. (UARM)

“We are living in an historic moment,” Ian Janssen, director of the office, said. “This pandemic has disrupted all our lives in many ways, scattering students, faculty and staff to our homes around the community, region, country and world.

“The University’s official response to this pandemic will be recorded and preserved by our office,” he said, “but we’re also interested in capturing how the members of our community lived through this time. For future generations, the experiences of everyday people will be crucial to understanding the past and how this pandemic changed our Blue Hen community.”

Members of the University community are asked to document their own experiences living through the pandemic, and that response can take any number of forms, including a journal or diary, short stories or essays, artwork/photography, poetry, video, audio recordings or saved social media posts. Both analog and digital materials will be welcomed and accepted.

“The focus of these personal reflections should be on self-expression, candor and a willingness to share,” Janssen said.

For those who would like to participate but are not sure how, a special Archives webpage features suggested prompts to help stimulate thoughts and remind contributors that some information will be important for future historians, including dates of events, observations, names of geographic locations and individuals.

Participants are asked to include their affiliation with the University, and in the case of students, class year and major. Other prompts include how you learned of the University’s decisions to close campus and how that made you feel, changes in your daily life and what you would want people of the future to know about life today.

Those who would like to take part in this special project are asked to complete this UARM online form. The office will respond in coming weeks with more information about submission procedures and copyright.

For more information, visit the special project webpage or contact Janssen at ijanssen@udel.edu.

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