During the next two years, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Special Collections and University Archives will partner with faculty from the IUP Department of English and the IUP Department of History on a project to document the impact of COVID-19 on the campus and in the community.

Since the 2019–20 academic year, the IUP Special Collections and University Archives has been working to collect primary source materials relevant to the impact of COVID-19.

The partnership with faculty in the English Department and students from a variety of majors is designed to expand the reach of this initiative through interviews with students, recent alumni, employees, civic leaders, health care professionals, and business owners in Indiana County to document their experiences during COVID-19.  

As the project advances, faculty will work with current students to collect, identify, organize, and curate artifacts and interviews, which will be featured in small pop-up exhibits in the IUP Libraries, on campus, and in the community. The oral history interviews will be transcribed and collected resources about COVID-19 will also be displayed as part of the IUP@150 University Museum exhibit for the Sesquicentennial of the founding of the university in fall 2024.

The Special Collections and University Archives at IUP actively collects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to research materials, rare books, and artifacts related to the institutional history of IUP and more. Harrison Wick is the special collections librarian and university archivist.

“The IUP Special Collections and University Archives welcomes donations of all types of materials related to personal experiences during COVID-19,” Wick said. “This can include correspondence, course assignments, documents, interviews, personal reflections, photographs, scrapbooks, and social media posts.

“I am very excited about the partnership with the Department of English faculty and their students,” Wick said.

English Department faculty Veronica Watson and Mike Williamson and Erin Colin from the Department of History are part of the faculty team working with the project. The Office of the Provost has provided institutional and financial support.

“We are very pleased to be working with Dr. Wick, and to help to expand upon those initial efforts by creating a rich resource of materials that capture the experience and response of the university and the surrounding communities during the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Williamson and Watson said.

“This is also a great learning opportunity for our students on how to research original source materials, organize and share that information both within and beyond the university. It allows our students to get more involved in our local community—this is a win for all.”

For more information about Special Collections and University Archives, including how to provide information related to the COVID-19 project, persons can contact Harrison Wick at hwick@iup.edu.