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Archives and Special Collections: Juniata 2020: A Collaborative Archive

Why Preserve?

History is written by reading then analyzing or interpreting documentation of lived experience.  

In the Fall of 2019, Beeghly staff met with First Year classes and had them read and discuss documents about the origins of Mountain Day. These students learned about this college tradition and how a narrative is constructed from parts.  

How will we remember 2020?  

The Juniata College Archives invites members of the Juniata College community to submit documentation about how life has changed throughout 2020 & 2021.

How to Participate

The Juniata College Library Archives are interested in your experiences with:

  • The shift to remote instruction and learning
  • Studying and working from home
  • The impact of closing residence halls and other campus services
  • Ways you and your friends and family are staying/stayed in touch during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Participating in physical or virtual protests
  • The Presidential Election
  • Preparing for Fall 2020, Spring 2021
  • The Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Semester
  • The emotional impact of 2020 & 2021
  • Other topics related to 2020 & 2021

How you record your thoughts and experiences is up to you.  For instance, you can write in a journal, record voice memos, save your social media posts, take photos and/or videos of life as you see it, or create multimedia works of digital storytelling. 

Please comply with county and state stay-at-home orders while self-documenting.

Not sure where to start? Read one of the following articles for some ideas or prompts.

Selected Submissions

“This is an Instagram post that I made after my time on Juniata’s campus abruptly came to an end. Normally I make a post at the end of the semester with a photo from somewhere on campus but I decided that it was the right time to make the post after moving out for the last time.”

- Sarah Rohrer


Dearest Juniata,

I have written one of these at the end of each semester but this one will be the most heartfelt. I knew it would be difficult to write this last one but this added layer kinda sucks so please bear with me. It’s a little jumbled, I’ve been thinking about this specific post since the end of my first semester and I’ve been editing it since then. I just moved out of my room for the last time. Being abruptly told to leave 6 weeks early has been very hard but I’m working through it slowly. Juniata College has been my home for the last four years. This small campus has taught me how to truly be happy. I have experienced the most amazing memories with the best people that I have ever met. It truly is a quiet and powerful place. I have learned to think about who I am, and also how to evolve and how to act. I have been so lucky to have absorbed wisdom from the best professors (and librarians). They have taught me more than just the curriculum. They have helped form me into an adult capable of taking on the world. I have had the best job with the best supervisor. Working as a marketing photographer for Juniata brought me out of my shell. My eventual promotion brought me more responsibility but I had the best team who made my job so much easier! I’ve gotten to meet more people, go to more events, and make connections with almost everyone who comes in contact with the school. As Nerf Commander for the last 3 years, I have learned how to lead a rambunctious group of college students as they scream like their heads are cut off. I may not have loved every second of it but you’ve taught me how to solve problems to make the game more fun for everyone. In the past few days, I’ve had to learn to cope with this new reality. I love this school. I love these people. While my time here has been cut short, I know that the lessons I take with me will never be invalidated. I have so many people that I wish I had the opportunity to thank personally and unfortunately, I will not get to tell all of you but please remember this. I love you all. This has been a crazy year. Thank you for being my happy place. #constellation2020

Submitted May 14, 2020

Submitted May 27, 2020

May require a Google log in to view.

A Sky Full of Stars in New Zealand

By Grace Singer and Melissa Nix, as originally appeared on the webpage.  Used with permission.

Grace Singer, a New Zealand semester student, reflects on life in Dunedin and the difficulties of returning home abruptly from such an experience. 

I remember the day I found out that I got the Gilman Scholarship to go abroad. I read the email about 6 times before believing it. Many thoughts floated through my brain: what if they accidentally emailed me? What if I misunderstood the email? I didn’t want to believe it too quickly. It wasn’t that I wasn’t confident in my abilities; it was more that this has been a dream for me. I’ve always wanted to spend a semester abroad, and getting a scholarship to be able to afford it was unbelievable. I was so excited and wanted to tell everyone about receiving the Gilman. I thought to myself: You are going to New Zealand… this is happening; it’s going to be a reality. 

My name is Grace Singer and I am a junior at Juniata College studying bio-psychology. I was born in Michigan, grew up in the United Arab Emirates until high school, and then moved to Pennsylvania to continue my education. My parents and my only brother still live in the United Arab Emirates, which I go visit once a year. Since my freshman year of college, I always knew I wanted to study abroad. I made it a goal of mine to spend a semester abroad during my junior year. I wanted to study abroad in a place that would allow me to take classes that would count for my genomics certificate at Juniata, and I found that in the South Island of New Zealand at the University of Otago. Before conducting my research on New Zealand, I knew nothing about it other than the fact that it is so far away. The more research I did, the more I fell in love with this country, and I knew that I had to spend my semester there. I wanted to learn more about the Maori language and culture as well as explore New Zealand’s beautiful nature. 


Having to choose one thing that stood out to me from my program is hard. I made so many amazing memories. I had a great flat with two American flatmates and a Kiwi host. My flatmates became a family to me and flat 693 was a place I called home. In addition to my flat-mates I had a great group people in my Amizade-BCA program. Our group consisted of five American students that went on adventures and explored the beauty of New Zealand together. We got to see lakes, rivers, beaches, penguins, kiwi birds, and mountains together. We also went on many hikes that I loved. Two of the most memorable trips we went on were the trip to Lake Wanaka and the trip to Mount Cook. I’ve never seen views as beautiful as the ones at Lake Wanaka and Mount Cook. It’s unreal how gorgeous nature is in New Zealand.

I’ll never forget the day I found out our program was shutting down. That was on the morning of our last trip to Mount Cook. I had spent the night before looking at my schedule of trips and re-decorating my room. It was a nightmare. My worst fear just became a reality. It felt like my study abroad experience was taken away from me. It wasn’t fair. I spent the whole bus ride on the way to Mount Cook crying. After all the hard work and the nights spent writing essays for scholarships and filling out applications, I didn’t want to believe that I had to leave just like that. I was devastated. That bus ride was so quiet: for the first time the five of us had nothing to say. That day we made the decision to make the most of our last trip.

After a long day of adventures, when it finally was dark outside, we went stargazing near Mount Cook. I don’t have the words to describe how magical it was. Antonio, our driver, brought out his guitar and played a couple of songs while we all sang along and watched the stars. Ashley, our program director, pointed out a couple of stars to us while telling us fun facts and making us laugh. Thinking about that night makes me tear up every time. We got to see a couple of shooting stars too. I took some pictures of the sky with my phone, so they aren’t great quality, but I’ll still share:

That night meant so much to me that I got Mount Cook tattooed with stars on my side when we got back from our trip. I went with two of my friends from my program and each one of us got a tattoo.

It was really hard for me to leave, especially because I couldn’t go back to my parents—the UAE closed their borders—and Juniata didn’t want any students on campus, so I had to find a place to stay. Luckily, my flatmate Hannah offered to have me over at her place in Seattle, Washington. 

Grace (left) and Hannah in Seattle

Looking back at it today, I am so grateful for everything that New Zealand has given me. The friendships I made, the unforgettable memories, the tasty foods, and the best ice cream. I can’t lie and say that I am not upset by everything that has happened, but I can definitely look at all the positives that came out of this experience. I never would have thought that I would share a flat with a person abroad and end up quarantining with them in Washington (I’ve never been to WA before this!) I am so blessed to have met such wonderful people that would open up their homes and welcome me in the times of a global pandemic. 

My advice to students going through these hard times is to give yourselves time to heal. You are not alone in this. These are hard times on everyone so it’s okay to be upset about it.

What happened isn’t fair to any of us, but what truly matters is what we do with everything we learned. How we grow as individuals because of everything that has happened.

I encourage you to try to reflect on your experience and share your story, so others know that we are in this together. One thing that has really helped me is reaching out to my friends and listening to their stories. Take the time to check up on your loved ones and schedule time for yourself to go on a walk or meditate. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

Here’s a video I made to remember my time in New Zealand.

Thank you, Grace, for sharing your story with us. Even though your experience in New Zealand was cut short, you have some unforgettable memories and great advice for other students! 

Submitted May 18, 2020


I was the only person on campus who got the virus, and was able to just stay home and let it take its course.  But, I personally knew of five others who had the virus…including one death, one hospitalized for several weeks on a ventilator,  and another person in the hospital for several weeks on oxygen.  I am happy to say that both of them are now recovering.  I knew another acquaintance who just stayed home and waited it out.  And, a person who the doctor’s think actually had it, but the test was negative…the doctors feel it was a false negative.

Some people do not understand that this is real.

I went on spring break to attend a relative’s wedding to Jamaica.  I believe I contracted the virus either on the plane from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, or in a bus going to the hotel from the airport in Pittsburgh the night before we came home.  I came down with the symptoms exactly one week from my return to the US.  At the time, there was only one case in Jamaica, so we are pretty sure it didn’t happen there.  There were 50 of us at this wedding, and I was the only one who came down with the virus! 

I could add that my symptoms were  an unbelievable headache, nausea, low-grade fever, chills, body aches, and I lost my sense of taste and smell.   I thought I had the flu and that is why I called my doctor.  He said to just go get tested at the lab in Huntingdon, where they came out to your car to do the test.  I was shocked when the doctor’s office called me and said I was Positive.  I emailed the folks that I could remember that I was around in any kind of close proximity.  It was a circus the day the diagnoses came back…I had calls from the CDC, the Department of Health, the HR person at the College, and others!  I had to self-quarantine myself for a month…friends brought food to my porch.  It took a few weeks to feel great again.

Submitted June 4, 2020.


All designs by Isaac Baker.

 In November 2020, the Juniata College campus community was encouraged to create pandemic haikus to be shared through the Daily Announcements.  Jodi Althouse provided the following prompt: "In times of stress we all need ways to relax and be creative. Submit your haiku about COVID-19, the semester, or your experiences. It can be serious, funny, silly or sad. Your haiku will be entered into a drawing to win!"

Haiku author listed on each image.

All graphics designed by Grace Singer Class of 2021.

The Juniata Podcast A Podcast for Juniatians, by Juniatians | Brought to you by college students.


Season 3 Episode 1:

In this episode Grace Singer interviews students around campus, collecting their personal stories over the course of the pandemic.

This episode features: . Rohan Bandekar · Katey Meehan · Ethan Stenley · Sudhakar Arran · Kyle Louder · Kei Takahashi

Submit Your Response - Juniata Students, Faculty or Staff

Alumni, please use this Google Form to submit responses.


Thank you to Katie Howell of J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina Charlotte for allowing the use of text and ideas from UNCC’s “Contribute Your Stories of the COVID-19 Outbreak” website.