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Saturday, October 16, 2021


UH Libraries to continue collecting student pandemic experiences

The UH Libraries will continue collecting stories and reflections on students' experiences during the pandemic through 2021. | File Photo/The Cougar

The UH Libraries will continue collecting stories and reflections on students’ experiences during the pandemic through 2021. | File photo

The University Archives at UH Libraries will continue their initiative to collect and share stories and reflections from students about their personal experiences during the pandemic through at least 2021.  

Launched in Summer 2020, the project accepts work across multiples medias, including journals, photographs, interviews, illustrations, songs and monologues. While they hope for a balance between documentary and creative responses, University archivist and project leader Mary Manning said the library is happy to accept submissions of all forms. 

Manning came up with the idea for the project after communicating with other professionals in similar roles through an online platform.

“When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March of last year, university archivists, such as myself, all over the country were looking for ways to capture students’ response to the pandemic,” Manning said. “I adapted the UH Libraries project from ideas we were sharing across the archives community.”

Students preparing to contribute their work to the project are asked to consider how the pandemic has affected their daily life, wellness and family, as well as any lessons they have learned during the pandemic. 

Submissions will be displayed in an online exhibit that will likely launch sometime in 2021, although a specific date has not been set, Manning said. 

Students interested in sharing their stories and reflections can log in to the submission form using their CougarNet ID and password.

Psychology freshman Samantha Portele submitted a poem titled “The Hill” to the collection.

“I chose to submit because I, someday, would like to publish some of my poetry,” Portele said. “I feel that this pandemic and 2020 itself has brought out a lot of feelings that can be best presented through poetry.”

Initially excited for an extended spring break last March, Portele said the grim reality set in when she realized how others were struggling mentally during the pandemic. She grew closer to new people while practicing social distancing and feels grateful for the chance to share her work with others. 

“I hope that future readers are able to understand the toll the pandemic took on mental health and life itself,” Portele said. “I also hope that readers are able to interpret the different views on the pandemic because that offers insight into the minds of many.”

Health junior Xinyue Wu submitted a video of what happened when her mother got sick repeatedly during the pandemic and how she had to drive her to the hospital each time. Wu pointed out that it can be a risk to go to the doctor while the coronavirus spreads, as well as how she took all the precautions she could to prevent catching it.

“I think this video is very meaningful and can let more people know my story,” Wu said. “I want to always record the impact of the COVID-19 incident on me and everyone. I believe this will be an unforgettable period.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here

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