Your History is Carolina’s History: Collecting Stories About the COVID-19 Pandemic

This is an unprecedented time in the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Never before in its 225-year history has there been a time like this: classes continue while the majority of faculty and students are working and studying remotely. All of us – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – face the fear and uncertainty that come from living through a global public health emergency. 

In the Wilson Special Collections Library, we are committed to preserving a record of Carolina’s history. As we work through this difficult period, we invite all members of the university community to share their experiences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. These accounts will be preserved as a part of the permanent collections of the University Archives at Wilson Library. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I document? 

The pandemic and stay-at-home orders are affecting each of us in different ways. Think about the ways that this is affecting you, and what you feel comfortable sharing. Listed below are a few suggestions. You are not required to use the suggested prompts. 

Suggested Prompts: 

For students 

  • What is it like to take all of your classes online? What do you feel like you’re missing from not being in the classroom? Are any parts of the experience better? 
  • What do you miss most about the campus? 
  • How has socializing changed during this period? What about dating? 
  • If you’re graduating in May, how are you planning to celebrate? 

For faculty and staff: 

  • If you’re at home, what has it been like? How much of your work can really be done remotely? 
  • If you’re still on campus, what is it like with so many people working and studying remotely? How are you keeping safe? 
  • Are you trying to balance work with caring for children or family members? 
  • How are you keeping up with your colleagues? 
  • How much of your teaching have you been able to move online? How have you adapted your syllabus and teaching style? 
  • Are you able to continue with your research? How has your research process changed? 

 For everyone: 

  • How are you communicating with family and friends? 
  • What is life like in Chapel Hill, or in your hometown, during the pandemic? What does social distancing look like around you? 
  • How has your relationship to food changed? Are you cooking more? Ordering takeout? 

How Should I Document My Experience? 

It’s up to you. For submission to the archives, we recommend written accounts (e.g. a journal or blog post), short video accounts (2-5 minutes), audio accounts (e.g. podcast, interviews), or photographs.  

What Kinds of Materials Do You Accept? 

We can accept material in a variety of formats such as handwritten documents, digital documents, video or audio files, web pages, or photos. While the University Libraries are closed, we’ll be unable to accept physical materials, but digital materials can be submitted anytime. When we are able to return to work on campus, we can work with you to donate physical materials. 

What Happens After I Submit My Material? 

  • When we receive your submission, we will review it and check in with you if we have any questions. The digital files will be added to the library’s digital repository where they will be preserved as a permanent part of the University Archives. 
  • We will add a short description of your submission to the library catalog and open it up for people to view. 

What If My Material Includes Private Information or Accounts From Other people? 

  • Please only share things that you are comfortable with other people seeing. The submissions we collect will become a permanent part of the University Archives and will be available for research. 
  • If you include other people in your submission, please make sure they are aware that the material will be archived and available to the general public. We’ll ask you for submission of supporting documentation about this. If you’d like assistance, please contact us at archives@unc.edu. 

 How Do I Submit? 

  • If you are creating physical documentation, we’ll have to wait until on-campus operations resume before accepting the submission. You are still welcome to contact us now to discuss the material. 
  • If you are creating digital documentation, we can accept submissions anytime. Contact us at archives@unc.edu at any time with questions or when you have something ready to share.