The University Library is looking for participants for its recently released UNC Story Archive, a program where members of the campus community can tell their stories — all in their own voice.
The project is based in the Wilson Special Collections Library and is open to all members of the UNC community, including students, alumni and faculty.
Nicholas Graham, the university archivist, said the goal of the project is to build a more comprehensive and representative record of the UNC experience — especially those of students.
“It’s been hard to find traces of student life in the archives,” Graham said. “We have the official records of the University going back to 1789, but with much more of a focus on administrators and departments. We really wanted a way where students could contribute to the archives to make sure that their experiences at UNC are preserved, but preserved in their own voices and their own words.”
Those that choose to participate record an audio clip describing their personal experiences at the University. The recording, along with a transcript and optional self-selected images are then stored online in the University Library’s Digital Collections Repository.
So far, the UNC Story Archive has released four entries — three of which voice student experiences during the pandemic.
One of these voices is Sarah Bulger, a first-generation graduate student majoring in library and information science. In her story, she recounts her experiences of the coronavirus pandemic and how it impacted her first year of graduate school.
As a student with a concentration in archives and records management, Bulger said she has a deeper understanding of the significance of an archival-based project. She said she hopes her story, along with others, provides a historical resource for future students to understand the pandemic.
“In 100 years, UNC students can come back and listen to these experiences from real people,” Bulger said. “It’s just so valuable, especially the diversity of voices that they’re trying to curate.”