COVID-19 has drastically affected everyone’s lives, and the University of North Georgia wants to know how it’s changed yours.
Allison Galloup, special collection and digital initiatives librarian at UNG, is heading up a project that will document life in Northeast Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Galloup decided to start the project after doing some research on the history of the Spanish flu pandemic in the area, which she said was not well documented.
“There was one mention of the infirmary getting a little more money in their budget in like 1920, but that was it,” she said. “We didn’t want that to happen again. We wanted to make sure that in 100 years or 50 years, however soon it may be, that scholars looking back or people looking back can identify what was happening in our community at this time.”
Now, she’s depending on the support of the community to make sure its COVID-19 story is told.
Galloup said she’s looking for submissions of all kinds from northeast Georgia residents reflecting on how their lives have changed in the last couple of months. Journal entries, pictures and videos are all welcome and can be sent in via the submission form on UNG’s website or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Galloup said she’s interested in any details area residents can provide about day-to-day life during the pandemic.
“We’re really looking for what has changed for the people who live in the community,” she said. “Are you now a stay-at-home parent who’s also working full time from your home office? Are you learning to home school? Or maybe nothing has changed. Maybe you’re still going to work. You’re one of the essential workers that still carries on with your daily activities. We want to know what’s happening.”
Galloup said the school hopes to turn the entries into an online and in-person exhibit that will provide visitors with a slice-of-life look at how COVID-19 has affected Northeast Georgia.
The success of the project hinges on participation by the community, and Galloup said she’s excited to learn the stories of everyone who makes a submission.
“We saw our world change drastically almost overnight,” she said. “We went from carrying on with our normal lives to working from home. We’re changing the way that we grocery shop or get takeout or eat at restaurants, and so seeing our response now can help future generations that may face the same issues. I’m hoping people will get excited to be a part of documenting history.”