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Documenting the UB Community Experience during COVID-19 Pandemic

The University Archives encourages students, faculty, and staff to document their personal experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak and contribute them to the University Archives. As the campus community returns remotely and in-person for the fall 2020 semester, we acknowledge that this is a time of great uncertainty and stress for members of the UB community. Students have been impacted by great change to their learning environments, living situations, employment, and social connections. Faculty have adapted the ways in which they deliver course materials and interact with students. Staff have adjusted to changes in their work environments, both at home and on campus, all while coping with momentous change in daily routines, family life, and personal health and safety. The University Archives is actively documenting the university’s response to this public health emergency and recognizes the importance of also gathering a record of the community experience. By collecting and preserving these perspectives the University Archives supports the research mission of the university, allowing future students, researchers, and scholars to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, an undoubtedly transformative event in the history of student life and the academic experience at UB.


How to participate

Members of the UB Community may submit materials such as text documents, video and audio files, and photographs by first completing the “Submit Materials” form. The University Archives is particularly interested in the student academic experience including the various instruction modes that students will participate in during the fall semester. The Archives is also interested in the social and campus life of students in the context of safety guidelines such as social distancing and limitations on gatherings of large groups of people. Faculty and staff are encouraged to share stories about working remotely, adapting to new modes of instructions, and the experience of on campus work and in-person teaching. People are encouraged to think about questions such as:

  • Share your experiences with distance learning, in-person learning, and how you've had to adjust your academic routines.
  • Share your experiences with working from home. What does your home work area look like?
  • Share pictures of your on campus work areas. How have these spaces changed in response to safety guidelines?
  • Have you returned to campus housing for the fall 2020 semester or have you chosen to live off campus? What is that experience like?
  • Are you involved in student organizations, athletics or clubs? How has COVID-19 affected those?
  • For new students, what was orientation like?
  • Do/did you have a job on or off campus? What kind of work did you do, and how has that been affected by COVID-19?
  • Has your research or work become focused on COVID-19 or a COVID-19-related project?

Submit Materials

What we don’t collect

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, the University Archives does not collect personal health information and will not accept materials that include personal health information about you or others. Additionally, the University Archives will not collect personally identifiable information about other UB students, faculty, or staff. Please only submit textual, photographic, audio, or video material which you own or have created.


What happens to the material I donate?

Once you complete the submission form a member of the University Archives staff will contact you to facilitate your submission of materials to the Archives. The materials you donate will be downloaded by Archives staff and stored in our digital preservation environment. Your files will be secure and preserved for long term access. Archives staff will process your records; they will create metadata (unique description), ensure that the files are saved in stable preservation formats, and create copies of your files that will be used for access. Submissions will be made available to the public after they are processed by University Archives staff. Staff members are happy to answer any questions you may have about the submission process. They can be reached at lib-archives@buffalo.edu


About the University Archives

The University Archives houses the historically valuable records of the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). The Archives collects, organizes and maintains the records of UB academic departments and administrative offices, along with all university and student publications. The Archives also collects the private papers of administrators, faculty members and other individuals associated with UB, and has in the past collected records that document broader international, national, and regional events that impact the university.


About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Subsequently the virus has spread around the world. The first local (Erie County) confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported March 14, 20201. The first case of an individual from the UB community was reported March 18, 2020.


1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020) Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and you (CS 314937-H). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf.