Sharing the Journey: Documenting COVID-19 at Clemson

The purpose of this project is to record and preserve the personal experiences of Clemson University’s members during the coronavirus outbreak. While official University responses to this unprecedented event will be recorded and preserved in the University Archives we want to ensure the inclusion of our members’ experiences and reactions in the University Archive. It is the mission of the Clemson University Archives, to preserve and share the documentary history of the university for current and future generations, and we hope you will help us by including YOUR experiences as part of this story.

What Types of Materials Can I Contribute?

What you choose to document and the method that you use to record your thoughts and experiences during this time period is up to you. Some suggestions include writing a journal or a diary of your thoughts and experiences (no stress needs to be placed on “good grammar,” spelling, or style), recording voice memos to make an audio oral history, saving your social media posts, writing poetry, creating digital art, or taking photos and/or videos of life as you are experiencing it right now. We are interested in stories about the shift to remote learning, being displaced from student housing, how has the pandemic affected your off-campus or on-campus jobs, the ways you and your family and friends are staying in touch during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine, what is happening in your daily life, the challenges of international students or those with families abroad, and so on. We are interested in your self-expression, candor, and a willingness to be a social commentator.

Join the Project

To participate, please fill out this Google Form to help us gather your information and so that we follow up with you regarding your submission and so that we can keep you up to date as this project develops and moves forward.

The University Archives can handle just about any format you create, but if you’re uncertain about something please reach out to the University Archivist Krista Oldham at kristao@clemson.edu.

How to Submit

Once we have received your information via the Google Form, we will reach out to you to coordinate your submission and have you digitally sign a deed of gift.

If you interview other people in the course of your documentation, we will also need their permission so that we can preserve and share the recordings with future researchers. If we do not receive permission from you and all other participants we cannot preserve the materials.

If your submission is in physical form (for example a handwritten diary or art) we can coordinate with you on either dropping it off at the Clemson University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives once we reopen or mailing your submission in.

Ideas for Documenting

Questions to guide your response:

  • How did you learn of the University’s decisions to close campus and cancel activities?
  • What was your experience of actually leaving campus – thoughts and emotions about the process?
  • How the pandemic was discussed and/or handled in classes and extracurriculars before the campus closure?
  • What are your impressions of the media coverage surrounding the virus and pandemic, both before it arrived in the United States and South Carolina, as well as after?
  • How has restrictions, quarantine, and social distancing have affected your daily life and adjustments you have had to make? This could include anything from grocery shopping to your breakfast routine.
  • What are your experiences with distance learning and how have you had to adjust your academic routines?
  • What role has technology played during the pandemic – as a method of sharing information, as a method of communicating, or as a method of entertainment?
  • What is your day to day life like? What would you want other people to know in the future about this time in history?
  • What has been most challenging about this time? What do you miss about your life before COVID-19? Are there specific places or things on campus that you miss?
  • Essential is a word we are hearing a lot right now. What does essential mean to you? Who is essential? What are we learning about what is essential?
  • What is COVID-19 making possible that never existed before? What good do you see coming out of this moment? How can we re-frame this moment as an opportunity?
  • What is it you want to remember about this time? What have you learned?
  • After this pandemic ends, will things go back to the way they were? What kinds of changes would you like to see? How will you contribute to rebuilding the world? What will you do differently?

Digital Archive

We intend to create a digital archive of Clemson University’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 using the materials archived by this project. Our goal is to make these materials accessible to current and future generations.

Acknowledgement

These guidelines were adapted from the UNC Charlotte University Archives, Indiana University, Bloomington Archives, and University of Minnesota, Duluth Archives.