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... documenting the history of the University of Delaware

Contribute Your Stories of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Handwritten letter.Like millions of people around the world, the entire University of Delaware community is living amid a historic crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives in many ways, scattering students, faculty and staff to our homes around the community, region and country. The University’s official response to this unprecedented event will be recorded and preserved by University Archives and Records Management (UARM). However, in the future, historians will want to know how each of us lived through this time. The experiences of everyday people will be crucial to understanding the past and how this pandemic changed our Blue Hen community.

UARM invites members of the University community to document their experiences of living during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This documentation can take the form of a journal or diary, short stories or essays, artwork/photography, poetry, video and audio recordings, saved social media posts, etc. Both analog and digital materials will be welcomed and accepted. The focus of these personal reflections should be on self-expression, candor and a willingness to share. If you’d like to participate, but aren’t sure how, please see our suggested prompts for guidance.

To participate, please fill out this online form to help us gather your information. We’ll respond in the coming few weeks with more information about submission procedures and copyright.

If you have questions about the project, please contact Ian Janssen, UARM Director at

Journaling Prompts

The prompts below are ideas to help stimulate your thoughts, particularly if you are not accustomed to keeping a journal, but you can write about whatever you like in relation to your experience with the pandemic. Keep in mind that important information for historians will include dates of events, observations, and entries, names of geographic locations and individuals, and other information that provides context to your entries.

  • What is your affiliation with the university? If you are a student please state your year and major(s)?
  • How did you learn of the University’s decisions to close campus and cancel activities? How has that made you feel?
  • Where are you living during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What is daily life like for you? What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally, and/or emotionally) since this crisis began?
  • How are your family members/friends/partners/etc. doing?
  • What do you want people in the future to know about what things are like for us now?
  • Think of your work. What is your job normally like? What is it like right now? Are you still working, whether on-site or remotely? Why or why not? How is that going?
  • Are you practicing social distancing? Why or why not? What are you doing? How is this affecting your relationships? How do you stay in touch with family and friends?
  • What has been most challenging about this time? What do you miss about your life before the pandemic? 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 have you learned personally, societally, globally?

Prompts specific to students

  • Did you move off campus suddenly due to COVID-19? What was that experience like, what kind of help did you have? Do you still have personal belongings on campus?
  • How are your online classes going? What kinds of messages have you received from professors? How are other students handling the changes? How are you handling it?
  • Are you involved in student organizations, sports or clubs? How has COVID-19 and campus response affected those?
  • Do/did you have a job on or off campus? What kind of work did you do, and how has that been affected by COVID-19, lock-downs, and quarantine?