March 30, 2021

Archives and Special Collections seeking submissions for COVID Stories project

Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, in conjunction with Purdue Libraries administration, the Office of the Provost and WBAA public radio, is asking faculty, staff and students to submit their personal stories for inclusion in the newly launched Purdue COVID Stories project.

Archives and Special Collections has been collecting campus communications, records and objects like the Protect Purdue wellness kits to capture and preserve this moment for future generations of Boilermakers, scholars and researchers. Now, through the Purdue COVID Stories project, archivists are putting together a collection of written memories, oral histories, videos, photographs, and more, detailing the personal experiences of the Purdue community during this unprecedented moment in history.

No story is too great or too small for addition into the project, says Sammie Morris, head of the Division of Archives and Special Collections and University archivist.

“One of the most important goals of the project is to capture the full spectrum of the pandemic experience at Purdue, from the life-changing to the smaller impacts to a person’s daily routine. Every story is valuable and important to us,” Morris says.

The goals of the Purdue COVID Stories project are threefold: to provide an accessible and therapeutic means for members of the Purdue community to share their experiences during the pandemic; to preserve those stories for posterity in the University Archives, providing evidence of the remarkable ways that members of the Purdue community adapted and persevered during this time; and to provide a rich archive of stories that can be used as source material for future research and learning.

So, what is a COVID story?

“A COVID story is a record of your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Morris says. “The story may be told through interviews, poems, journals, videos, photographs, or any other means that shares your experience. A COVID story is your story, and we all have one. Your unique perspective adds to our understanding of the pandemic’s impact upon the Purdue campus community and its people.”

Morris says the staff are just beginning the material collection phase, and they plan to keep submissions open for at least a year.

"Ultimately, our goal is to create an accessible e-archive where anyone curious about the response and resilience of our Purdue community can explore and reflect on these stories for many years to come," she says.

How to participate

Those interested are encouraged to visit the new Purdue COVID Stories Project website to submit their own stories for inclusion. Submissions should focus on individual, personally lived experiences. Information regarding acceptable file types and size restrictions, contributor rights, and sample prompts also can be found on the project website.

For more information

Any additional questions should be directed to Archives at archives@purdue.edu.


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