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Coronavirus at UNC: Archive Your Story

Provides information on how the UNC community can help the Archives and Special Collections document the 2020 pandemic.

The University of Northern Colorado Archives and Special Collections is collecting personal stories documenting how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the lives of UNC students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and other UNC community members. The UNC Archives exists to preserve and provide access to campus history. By acquiring the recorded stories from the campus community we can document this extraordinary time in history, building a valuable resource for future students, historians, and scholars.  

Newspapers, websites, and official documents will provide general and factual information about campus reactions and impact, but your personal, day-to-day social and emotional experiences will record what life was really like during the 2020 pandemic. This is the information we seek to capture and the information that future historians will want to know.

There are a number of ways that you can help build a robust historical record. Be a part of UNC history by contributing journal entries, photographs, webcam recordings, and more. Your materials will be preserved in the University Archives, where they may be shared online, used in teaching, research, and exhibitions, or as promotion of the university and university libraries.

How to Document Your COVID-19 Pandemic Experience

Journaling / Personal Accounts

Journal entries can take any form-- you can write or record short thoughts, longer essays, stream of consciousness, poems, photos, etc. They can be a series of entries recorded over time, or a single account of your experience. The prompts below are ideas to help stimulate your thoughts, but you can write or talk about whatever you like. Important information for historians will include times and dates of events, observations, names of geographic locations and individuals, and other factual information that provides context to your entries.

Your personal experience can be recorded in several ways:

  • Written in a sharable digital format (Word document or GoogleDoc)
  • Written by hand
  • Audio recording using your phone or computer
  • Video recording using your phone or computer

Unless you wish to remain anonymous, please include your name and affiliation to UNC. If a student or employee, please provide your major or department. All materials donated to the Archives will be made accessible in our public reading room or online in Digital UNC. Please keep this in mind when reflecting on people other than yourself, and do not include medical and health information about others.

 

Oral Histories and Video Interviews

Archives and Special Collections will conduct interviews with members of the UNC community to document the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to be interviewed, please email Laura Uglean Jackson at laura.ugleanjackson@unco.edu, or call 970-351-2333 and leave a message.   

 

School of Art and Design Online Art Show

Submit your work - digital art, paintings, photographs, poems, sculptures, videos, etc.- to be displayed in an online gallery. All community members are welcome to participate and will have the opportunity to donate their work to the UNC Archives for the Coronavirus at UNC collection. More information about submitting work to the online gallery can be found here: https://unco.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6XspMWNKexMouMJ.  Should you wish to have your work preserved in the Archive, please select this option on the submission form. An archivist will send a gift agreement for you to complete and be able to answer any questions. Please also see the FAQ below for more information about donating to the Coronavirus at UNC collection.

  • Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
  • When did you become aware of the growing threat of the virus?
  • How did the transition to online classes go for you? What is enjoyable about it? What is not enjoyable about it?
  • What do you feel about the university's response?  What has been successful? What do you think could have been done differently? 
  • Have you been financially impacted by the pandemic? How?
  • What did you do today/this week that was different than what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
  • What are you anxious or frustrated about?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What do you miss most about the world right now, such as something that has been canceled or that otherwise can’t happen?

  • When did you become aware of the growing threat of the virus?
  • If you are teaching classes, how was the transition to online teaching?
  • If you are now working from home, what was that transition like? What is enjoyable about it? What is not enjoyable about it?
  • If you are not expected to be working from home, how are you spending your days?
  • What do you miss about working and being on campus?
  • What do you feel about the university's response?  What has been successful? What do you think could have been done differently? 
  • What are you anxious or frustrated about?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What are your predictions for the future? What do you think UNC will look like in a year to five years?
  • Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
  • If you are now working from home, what was that transition like? What is enjoyable about it? What is not enjoyable about it?
  • If you are not expected to work from home, what do you do during your days?
  • Have you been financially impacted by the pandemic? How?
  • What did you do today/this week that was different than what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
  • What are you anxious or frustrated about?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What do you miss most about the world right now, such as something that has been canceled or that otherwise can’t happen?

  • What do you think UNC will look like in a year to five years?

How to Submit Materials to the UNC Archives

All materials submitted to the UNC Archives and Special Collections will be made accessible for the purposes of research, teaching, exhibition, and marketing. Archival materials are made accessible to the public in our reading room or in Digital UNC.

All donors will be asked to complete and return a deed of gift (linked below). For more information about donating to the UNC Archives and Special Collections, please see our website.

There are two primary ways to donate material:

  1. Email your files or a link to your files to laura.ugleanjackson@unco.edu
  2. Email laura.ugleanjackson@unco.edu and receive a link in which to deposit your files. This is recommended for large file sizes, and may be required for files over 10MB.

If you do not have access to email, please call 970-351-2333 and leave a voicemail. Your call will be returned within a few business days.

If your material is in physical form (such as a scrapbook), please email or call us and we will coordinate a pick-up, drop-off, or mail delivery after we reopen.

View the Collection!

View the collection materials in Digital UNC. Much, but not all, of the Coronavirus at UNC collection can be accessed online. More materials will continue to be added.

View a description of the complete collection (the finding aid) here. This contains information about all materials in the collection, even those not yet made available online and archived websites. 

FAQ

What will you do with the stuff I send to you?

Your material will become part of our Coronavirus at the University of Northern Colorado collection. We will create an online description for it in our finding aids database so that it is discoverable by researchers. Should someone want to see the materials you donate, they will be able to view the material in our public reading room. It is also possible that your materials will at some point in the future be made accessible online in Digital UNC, showcased in an exhibit, or used for instructional purposes.

When should I send my materials?

If your material exists in digital format, then you can send it via email whenever you are ready. If you have materials to send us now, please do! If you would like to wait, that is also fine. For physical materials, please email or call us and we will coordinate a pick-up, drop-off, or mail delivery after we reopen.

Will you accept copies of my stuff?

Yes!

I’m interested in submitting material but don’t want it to be accessible to the public. Can I still send it to you?

Please speak to an archivist prior to sending anything that you don’t want to be immediately accessible. You can place reasonable restrictions on your material if negotiated with an archivist and specified in a deed of gift. Because access is our primary goal for materials under our expert care, we typically do not restrict materials for longer than five years.

Is there anything you don’t want?

Yes. Please refrain from sending:

  • Newspapers and newspaper clippings
  • Published materials available elsewhere (such as magazines)
  • Official communications from UNC president and provost (these are already being captured)
  • Accounts, photographs, scrapbooks, etc. that you did not create and do not have permission to donate
  • Medical information

Can I incorporate this into a class project?

Sure! Archives faculty can help develop a project or assignment centered around documenting the coronavirus on campus to meet the learning objectives of your class. Please keep in mind that student work is owned by the student, and it is up to them to decide to donate any materials to the archives. Archives faculty are also available for presentations on archives, documentation, and primary sources. We would love to work with you!

Acknowledgements

The information contained in this guide was borrowed from or inspired by the following institutions: