COVID-19 Journaling Project

History is happening now. In the future, scholars will look back on this time to learn about individuals’ and societies’ responses to a worldwide pandemic. While archived news and internet sites will be essential primary sources, the day-to-day, mundane, social, and emotional experiences of individuals can get lost in the fray.

The University Archives invites you to help us document and preserve our communities' experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. GVSU students, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in contributing are asked to journal about their experiences and thoughts through this unprecedented time. The Archives will gather these materials together in an online digital collection, as a contribution to the historical documentation of these events.

Questions can be directed to Annie Benefiel, University Archivist and Digital Collections Librarian, at [email protected].

You can write your journal from home, using the technology you have on hand.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

How to Journal

The best way to start journaling for the University Archives is in a Google Doc or MS Word document. Journal entries can take any form--you can record short thoughts, longer essays, stream of consciousness, poems, photos, etc. These prompts below are ideas to help stimulate your thoughts, but you can write about whatever you like. Important information for historians will include times and dates of events, observations, and entries, names of geographic locations, organizations, or people, and other factual information that provides context to your entries.  

Please do not include any personal information, aside from names, of any individuals including yourself. Personal information includes addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. 

Submissions of short video, audio recordings, and important images are also being accepted. Be sure to fill out as much descriptive information as you can in the submission form to enable their later discovery and use in our digital collections.


  • How has the pandemic changed your personal life, routines, and day-to-day activities?
  • What have you been doing to pass the time at home?
  • What has been essential to getting through this time? What would you share with someone facing a similar situation in the future?
  • What have you struggled with during quarantine?
  • How has it felt to prepare for returning to school?
  • How did the beginning of the school year this fall feel different from other years?
  • Are all of your classes online or do you have some face-to-face? What are those changes like, and how does learning in this new environment differ from the past?
  • Are you involved in student organizations, sports or clubs? How has the pandemic changed how you engage with extracurriculars?
  • Are you or anyone you know sick? What symptoms, response from medical personnel? Have you been able to receive testing and health care?
  • What do you think about news and media reports now and over the course of the pandemic? Are there particular media sources you trust or rely on? 
  • Do you engage with social media or other online communities? How has your online life changed since the pandemic?
  • If you are working, what changes did you have to make to your workday? If you became unemployed due to the pandemic, how are you dealing with it?


Submit Your Journal 

*Please read the terms and conditions before submitting your journal. You may submit via URL or file upload.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting your journal to the University Archives, you agree to the following Terms and Conditions:

  • You grant a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to Grand Valley State University to preserve, reproduce, and distribute your work as part of the GVSU COVID-19 Journaling Project. This permission includes the right to modify your material to conform to the goals of the project, to reformat it as necessary to preserve its perceptibility and usefulness, and to make it available for educational, research, and promotional purposes outside the project, in perpetuity and in all media forms. This license does not authorize the exploitation of your contribution for profit or commercial use.
  • The material you submit must have been created by you, wholly original, and shall not be copied from or based upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have the permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by "Fair Use" as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright laws.
  • In granting this permission, you affirm that you are 18 years of age or older and have the full power and authority to consent to this agreement, that your submission does not infringe any existing copyright or contain any libelous matter, nor invade any third party rights of privacy or publicity. You further agree to defend and hold harmless Grand Valley State University, Grand Valley State University Libraries, its board of trustees, and its officers, employees, and agents against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses including attorney's fees incurred for any and all claims of copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory course of action arising from the use of your material.
  • The University Archives and University Libraries have no obligation to use or publish your contribution. You retain ownership of and copyright in the material you share. 
  • Contributors who provide their name in the NAME field in the submission form agree to the public display of such contact information in connection with the materials submitted under that form, unless they elect to submit anonymously. 

Page last modified March 8, 2023