Share your voice with SCRC’s latest project – the COVID-19 Mason Community Impact Project.
The George Mason University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), home of Mason’s Oral History Program and the University Archives, is actively documenting the COVID-19 impact on the Mason community by archiving materials related to the university’s communications and the broader community experience.
One facet of this endeavor is collecting community stories via the COVID-19 Mason Community Impact Project – an effort to preserve the thoughts and experiences of George Mason University students, faculty, staff, alumni and surrounding community members during this difficult period. Preserving these experiences – as reflective of the time in which we live – is a core tenet of the SCRC. SCRC faculty and staff, with the assistance of Web Applications and Services Librarian Andrew Stevens, have designed the project to allow for text, video, and other media submissions.
Bob Vay, Technology and Exhibitions Archivist, reflects, “As archivists it is not just our job but our passion to preserve resources that help explain our past to people in the future. A university, or any institution for that matter, is defined by the people that belong to it. We are finding out this semester just how strong a university we are in the efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging issue with which the Mason community has ever had to deal. It has changed the way we educate, learn, interact with each other, and interact with our local and global communities as members of the Mason Nation.”
The development of the project was a team effort in SCRC, whose members are all invested in the documentation and preservation of historical and cultural moments, and who want to ensure that the collection of stories and reflections received represent the diversity of experiences. Liz Beckman, Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, remarks, “We want to make sure that the diverse voices of the Mason community are represented in the University Archives. Everyone is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects in a unique way, and we have the opportunity right now to document the variety of experiences of students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the midst of a time that will have a lasting effect on our world.”
Vay continues, “While faculty, students, and staff come and go, the university will continue to be a fixture in higher education for many years to come. Many years down the road, this unfortunate situation will be just a memory. Old newspaper articles, video clips, documentary films, and our fading memories will serve as the sources of information about this wide-reaching crisis. Recording our thoughts about this situation today is one way we can assure that people who come after us will understand what we experienced.”
Community members are invited to help in this endeavor by preserving a record of their personal experiences regarding the COVID-19 Crisis, whether in words, images, videos, or other media via this form. Questions? Please contact the Special Collections Research Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.