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

It’s been a long year. Our campus closed in the spring and classes moved online; students returned to campus, then left, then (slowly) came back again. Off campus, businesses and schools closed and then faced difficult choices about reopening while we all struggled to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Over the past year and more, all of us – students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members – have faced the fear and uncertainty that come from living through a global public health emergency.

As we look back over the past year, many of us are taking some time to reflect on the experiences we’ve had, and the many ways things have changed for us, during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are doing the same, consider sharing your thoughts.

In the Wilson Special Collections Library, we are committed to preserving a record the history of our campus and communities far beyond Chapel Hill. 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 archival collections in Wilson Library. 

Share your stories with the library using this online form, or contact us at for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I document? 

The pandemic and stay-at-home orders have affected each of us in different ways. Think about how your experiences with learning, teach, and socializing have changed over the past year. Listed below are a few suggestions.

Suggested Prompts: 

For students 

  • What has it been like to take classes online? What have you missed from not being in the classroom? Are any parts of the experience better? 
  • What have you missed most about the campus? 
  • How has socializing changed during this period? What about dating? 
  • How did you commemorate milestones like the first day of class or graduation?
  • If you’re back on campus, what was it like to return?

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’ve stayed 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 has life been like in Chapel Hill, or in your hometown, during the pandemic?
  • Did you travel over the past year? If so, what was that experience like?
  • How has your relationship to food changed? Have you been 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. Submitting physical materials require advance coordination, but digital materials can be submitted anytime.

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 

 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. Use this online form to submit on your own, or contact us at at any time with questions or when you have something ready to share.