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Write It Down - USC Upstate Coronavirus / COVID-19 Community Archiving Project: Project Details

Invitation to share individual stories related to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic

What is "Write It Down"?

Professor Herbert “Tico” Braun at the UVA College of Arts & Sciences has invited his students to participate in a voluntary project to record their experiences and impressions of this tumultuous time in history (  Following his general framework, USC Upstate Archives and Special Collections invites students, faculty, staff, and community members to participate in our own version of "Write It Down". 

As Professor Braun mentions in the article above, “There is much that all of us and each of us have already experienced in the past few weeks that is shocking, unexpected, unpredictable, unknowable, new; much that we have not felt before or seen.”  Your experiences, emotions, and interactions with this new reality are shaping your everyday life, and the lives of those around you.  Social distancing, quarantines, and shortages of daily essentials present never-before-seen challenges for everyone, but these challenges are not felt or experienced equally across the social spectrum.  Institutions around the globe including hospitals and healthcare offices, small businesses, industries, and even the global economic markets are being tested in ways never before imagined.

The University Archives and Special Collections invites you to participate in creating an archival collection documenting the experiences and impressions of you, your family, and your friends both near and far during this time.  We welcome submissions from anyone, whether they are directly affiliated with USC Upstate or not.  Each individual perspective is valuable, and adds to the richness and breadth of the story as a whole.  Please see the guidelines below and on the following page for formats and submissions. 

Thank you for your willingness to share your story and "Write It Down"!  

~ Ann Merryman, Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections, USC Upstate      


Types of Submissions

The archives is accepting submissions in a variety of styles and formats that showcase the wide range of experiences our students, faculty, staff, and community members are having during this time in history.  Indeed, the formats individuals choose document not only this specific moment in history but also the various modes of communication available to society as a whole.  This variety adds to the historical record.  Please be aware that video (including video recorded on cell phones) will be more difficult to preserve than photos, text, or audio.  

Some options for submissions:

  • Answers to suggested questions, in list form
  • Blogs
  • Poetry or haiku
  • Original artwork
  • Photos, including photos of your work-from-home setup 
  • VLOGs
  • Podcasts


Questions to Consider Answering

The following questions are only suggestions.  Answer as many or as few as you wish, or feel free to add your own topics or observations on other events or subjects relating to COVID-19 and the current state of our campus, our state, the U.S., and the world.


Think about YOURSELF (general themes:  your emotions, concerns, your experiences with how the world is changing and your reactions to these changes)

  1. What were your early impressions of the coronavirus back in January, before it was documented in the United States?
  2. What effect did the early stages of national and global reporting have on your daily life?  
  3. Once the coronavirus began to appear in the United States, how did your daily life change?  If if didn't (or hasn't) changed, why not?
  4. What are your concerns with how the coronavirus is changing your immediate environment and experiences?
  5. Has the change in social restrictions affected your emotions?  If so, how?
  6. If you work as well as take classes, how has your work situation changed?  
  7. What techniques are you using to combat stress or "news fatigue"?
  8. If you are a graduating senior, how is the world situation affecting your job searches?  

Think about YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, and OTHERS you encounter in daily life (general themes:  your friends and family and your relationships with others, and how these are changing now that we must perform social distancing, self quarantines, and other measures to "flatten the curve")

  1. How have your close relationships (friends and family) changed? 
  2. How have your interactions with strangers changed?  
  3. What are your impressions of how others in society are interacting with each other during this time of social distancing and uncertainty?
  4. What economic impact is the coronavirus having on you, your family, and your close friends?

Think about SOCIETY, INSTITUTIONS, and THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY (general themes:  society, institutions, the different aspects of these times, the virus itself, the stock market, hoarding, public events, hospitals, universities, work, media, etc.)

  1. What changes in societal behavior have you observed once the reality of the pandemic set in?  Are there behaviors you have heard about but not witnessed first hand?
  2. What employment changes have family or friends undergone due to the coronavirus, if any?
  3. How has your news-seeking and news-consumption behavior changed since the pandemic began?  How has this change affected you?
  4. What events or reactions by institutions, businesses, or industry have surprised you the most and why?
  5. For college students or college professors, how has the mandated change to online instruction affected your daily routine?  

Final thoughts:

  1. What lasting societal changes in the United States do you believe will definitely result from the coronavirus pandemic?
  2. What changes do you hope will result from the coronavirus pandemic?