Alice Staples with PSU COVID-19 Archives: How and Why You Should Contribute

By: Shannon Francolini, Managing & News Editor

Since the very beginning of March, the COVID-19 pandemic took over our lives whole heartedly. Daily routines and schedules became discombobulated and life went up in an uncontrollable whirlwind. Navigating through such unprecedented times may seem difficult at certain times, but there is always good to be taken away from this. We can all use this time to care for each other, help one another learn, and challenge each other to become better. Change is upon us and is more than less inevitable. As a generation and then some, we are experiencing a revolutionary time that will be history before we know it. Alice Staples, an associate professor for Plymouth State University, also puts her hard work and dedication into her passion as University Archivist. After learning how other universities were creating platforms for people to share their personal experiences with COVID-19, Alice felt inspired. She wanted to “begin collecting information and artifacts about this unique time in history”, as who knows if or when this will all end. Taking something so negative and ultimately turning it into a learning opportunity to share with fellow peers and colleagues is PSU’s first step towards a positive future.

Whether COVID-19 has impacted you personally or not, we can all agree this pandemic has affected our lives in more way than one. Anyone connected or affiliated with Plymouth State University is encouraged to participate. Including faculty, staff, and alumni, students should use this opportunity to their advantage. It is unimaginable all the intriguing and spontaneous facts, items, or stories we will encounter through this project. Alice is accepting photographs, forms of writing including poems, news releases, three-dimensional objects, artwork, and even COVID-19 specific items such as clean masks or previous testing bracelets. It should be noted that theydo analyze every submission, and if deemed inappropriate, some items may not be included in the archive.

Preceding the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 and 1919, Alice felt “disappointed to learn that there was not much of a record in our archives for that time and wants to leave a better record or the future.” Alice is passionate about archivism and is always putting others before herself, wondering what people at PSU will find interesting in some 100 years from now. During the times of the Spanish Flu and even Scarlet Fever that occurred in the 1920’s, Alice recovered scrapbooks that students had made representing their times in quarantine. Even then, Alice is determined to have a full collection of items, keepsakes, and memorabilia that will represent this challenging time we were all able to overcome. Capturing Plymouth State as a University and not so divisive, contrary to COVID-19, will leave “future generations with a clear picture of what it was like to attend PSU in 2020.” Remote isolation and virtual learning will hopefully not be in our future forever, yet it is important to educate younger and future generations about what we all experienced, how we overcame it, and how this epidemic transformed and shaped our future unreservedly. The COVID-19 pandemic has been unexpected and destructive. Instead of adding to all the pessimism, you can reach out, lend a hand, or give back to your community when you can. Alice Staples along with the rest of Plymouth State University are awaiting your submissions and awaiting an extremely bright and promising future.

Here are the links below to submit!