Ball State University is providing a way for people to share their experiences during or related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Document Your Story: COVID-19 Pandemic Project is an ongoing endeavor, spearheaded by the Ball State University Libraries Archives and Special Collections, to collect and preserve items that document the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities.

“Even as the pandemic subsides, I believe it is important for us to continue to reflect on the strength, resilience, and innovation of our community—which I’m sure will be of great interest to future historians and researchers,” said Matthew Shaw, Dean of University Libraries at Ball State.

Emma Cieslik, a 2021 Ball State graduate, contributed two months of her daily journals, from March 2020 to May 2020, to the story archive project. In one journal, she shared a touching story about what she and her mother did to lift the spirits of her younger sister whose high school prom was cancelled.

“There were many important things going on back then, like vaccine development, hospitalizations, and hospital bed availability issues,” Ms. Cieslik said. “I knew that it would also be important to understand the social and cultural impact of this pandemic, and to hear it from everyday people. In those moments, when I was writing my journals about things like cleaning often with disinfectant, struggling to find different grocery items, or missing out on pivotal life experiences, those were among the most important pieces news of that day, in my life.”

University Libraries will accept typed or handwritten reflections, poems, writings, artwork, drawings, photographs, and videos—items that help tell the stories of individuals’ experiences specifically during or relating to the pandemic. Contributions are being sought from Ball State’s campus community: faculty, staff and students; Ball State alumni throughout the world; and residents, community organizations and local businesses in Muncie and other parts of Delaware County, Indiana. Materials can be digital or physical items.

The project, which was launched in tandem with the Everyday Life in Middletown Project and the Muncie Public Library, began accepting items last year. So far, the collection includes photographs, journal entries, class projects, and videos. The digital collection alone contains 267 individual items.

Another significant part of the collection is documentation of Ball State University’s response to the pandemic. The project’s digital collection can be viewed through the University Libraries Digital Media Repository.

There is no deadline for submissions. Digital materials can be submitted to local collections in three ways:

To donate physical, non-digitized items or to ask questions, email Sarah M. Allison, University Libraries’ Head of Archives User Engagement.

Archives and Special Collections preserves and provides access to over 1.5 million rare and unique archival materials of enduring research value. Collections are accessible to all researchers and the general public, and open access digital collections in the Digital Media Repository are freely available to a worldwide audience online.