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What’s Your Pandemic Experience?

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EWU archivist will use student, faculty and staff submissions to construct a Covid chronicle.

As EWU continues to navigate the impacts of Covid-19, JFK Library is in the process of building an comprehensive archive to chronicle this moment in time — and Eastern students are encouraged to participate.

The library is asking students, as well as faculty, staff and alumni, to submit any form of writing, music, art, or pictures that has to do with the pandemic and, specifically, the 18-month period of time when the university delivered most of its instruction online and the campus was predominantly empty. 

This collection will serve as a resource for the future and as a record of history. “I want a record we can use 20, 50, or 100 years down the road for folks looking back to have a more intimate understanding of what it was like to go to Eastern or to work at Eastern,” says Steve Bingo, acting university archivist.

Bingo believes various interesting projects, research and creative work could arise as a result of the archived pandemic stories. “I want to create a rhetoric of what it was like to be in this unusual time,” he says. 

In the past, Bingo has received questions about the Spanish flu pandemic. But, he found that  there’s not a robust record. That lack of historical framework is partially what inspired this archive project. 

“I want to do better this time around,” he says.  

Bingo’s team has already received various forms of submissions since the project started last spring. For example, Eastern students, faculty and staff have submitted poems, photographs and simple journal entries. They’ve even received a song written by a musician during the pandemic that arrived in the form of sheet music. 

“When I field questions about Eastern’s past, it does have a lot to do with student experience,” Bingo says. 

So far, faculty and staff entries have far outweighed student submissions. This quarter, Bingo and his team are focusing on increasing student submissions and they’ve created a contest to encourage those students to send in their pandemic stories. 

When students submit a written piece, they’re entered into a drawing for new Airpods. The number of written submissions by students has increased since the contest was recently launched, but Bingo hopes far more students will  share their stories.

Please visit the EWU Libraries pandemic stories website to make a submission.

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