What does life look like now?
Birthday parties have become drive-by parades, conferences and community events have gone virtual, and families, friends, and neighbors are figuring out life with minimal contact.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is a historical event — it’s been more than 100 years since the world experienced the Spanish Flu — UC Riverside is now building an archive to capture life at this particular place in time. For that, the university needs the campus community’s participation.
“This is open to all students, faculty, staff,” said Andrea Hoff, university archivist at UCR Library.
Hoff is the lead on this new project known as the COVID-19 Collecting Initiative.
“We don’t want to place a limit on what we can archive,” she said. “We want everything: journals, letters, paintings, photographs, emails, flyers, event promotions, special celebrations such as graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays, emails, websites, life as you are experiencing it. I’m hoping people also share the personal side of their lives.”
The pandemic has altered every aspect of our existence and merits creating a collection to capture our newfound intricacies, Hoff said, noting other universities across the country are doing similar projects so future researchers and future generations can learn how their communities were impacted, Hoff said.
Once all the material is sorted, the UCR archive will be housed in the library’s Special Collections and University Archives.
“This is an open-ended project, we are just starting to put the word out there,” Hoff said. “We would like to document a diverse range of experiences at UCR.”
People who wish to participate may do so by:
- Using the hashtag #Covid19atUCR on their social media posts;
- Tweeting directly at @UCRArchives;
- Emailing Andrea Hoff at firstname.lastname@example.org