COVID-19 Experience Project

The Eberly Family Special Collections Library invites members of the Penn State University community—including students, staff, faculty, and alumni—to participate in this effort to document their personal experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects on our day-to-day lives.

Our community is experiencing a historic period—one that will be a topic of future research and scholarship. Students are finishing the school year off-campus, faculty are teaching courses remotely, researchers have paused their efforts, and many staff members are not working. The COVID19 Experience Project has been designed to document this experience for future scholars.


The growing coronavirus pandemic and the global efforts underway to stop its spread have greatly impacted Penn State University life and experience. In an effort to document this significant and unique period for preservation in University Archives, we invite students, staff, faculty, and alumni to share your experience through any of the following means:

  • Written journal, diary, or log (daily, every other day, or weekly entries)
  • Photo essay
  • Video or audio piece
  • Zine

To participate, please complete this form to help us learn about your project. We will be in contact to facilitate delivery of materials. At this time, there is no deadline for project submissions. We expect to continue to accept submissions into the fall 2020 semester.

University Archives will accept all relevant materials (physical and digital) as donations, and they will be added to the “Penn State COVID19 Experience Project collection.”

For questions, please contact Angel Diaz, University Archivist,

Project Prompts

You may choose to document your experience in one day, maintain a diary for several weeks, create reflections once a week—this is up to your own direction. We want to get a sense of how the Penn State community is carrying on with studies, research, work, and life, as well as how you’re feeling throughout this period. You may choose to use the following prompts to guide the process:

  • Name, Academic Year, Areas of Study, Workplaces, other Campus Involvement
  • What did you do over Spring Break? Did you have to change plans in any way?
  • How did you hear that you were being encouraged not to return to campus? What was your immediate reaction?
  • Share your experience/s with online learning. Has it been a challenge for anyone?
  • Are you able to work from home? How has the transition affected you and your family?
  • Where are you physically located now? If on campus or State College, what is it like being here at this time?
  • How has your routine changed?
  • Daily check-in with feelings, thoughts, activities.
  • How have you discussed these events with your family, friends, professors?
  • How do you keep in touch with friends? Has anything changed?
  • What are your news sources? How do you find out about what’s happening at Penn State?

Related Initiatives

Viral Imaginations: COVID-19

The Viral Imaginations: COVID-19 project seeks to capture imaginative and artistic expression by Pennsylvanians in the forms of creative writing and visual art made in response to their first-person, lived experience of the coronavirus pandemic. Current and former Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this project.

Resources for Penn Staters

Contact information and resources for members of the Penn State community.