The 20/20 Project: University Archives seeks submissions to help document a difficult and singular year laden with unprecedented societal challenges

A collage of various words cut from different newspaper headlines

YPSILANTI – By almost any measure, here, near and far, 2020 has been a remarkable and all too memorable year.

Given that already singular status, the Eastern Michigan University Archives is embarking on a special 20/20 Project, inviting the EMU community to contribute any materials to assist in documenting the coronavirus pandemic, the political turmoil and racial unrest of 2020.

Official communications regarding the events of this year will, of course, be collected, but the EMU Archives wishes to ensure that the personal, day-to-day stories and experiences of the EMU community is preserved as well.

EMU students, faculty, staff and alumni are being asked to submit content of any format. This can include recorded Zoom meetings, photography and video (phone or otherwise), journal entries, original poetry, school assignments, reactions to decisions made on and off campus, and all other representations of 2020. All of these are welcome additions to the Archives’ 20/20 Project.

A chance to have many voices heard

“This collection will document the personal and professional experiences of EMU in a much more intimate way than what you may find in public relations reports and official press releases,” said EMU Archives lecturer Matt Jones. “This is a chance for everyone on and off campus to have their voices heard, and their stories put ‘on the books’ as part of EMU history. In the decades to come, we want to make sure that our account of this tumultuous year is not only accurate, but all-inclusive.”

Contributors can submit digital items by filling out a form using their .emich account, and can submit up to ten files at a time. For physical submissions, an appropriate drop off day and time can be arranged by emailing the University Archives at

Guidelines for submitting materials to the EMU Archives 20/20 Project:

  • The University Archives will accept journal and diary entries, social media posts, videos, photographs, audio, and all other digital documentation
  • The University Archives will also accept physical items. Contributors must make an appointment for drop off at the University Archives, within Halle Library.
  • Topics materials should document include the following areas of campus and community life:
  • Remote learning and its accompanying struggles/successes.
  • Displacement from housing in spring 2020.
  • Delayed return to campus in fall 2020.
  • Social distancing, COVID testing, and quarantine.
  • The overall effect of the pandemic on the experience of the contributor.
  • Racial unrest in America in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor killings.
  • Reactions and responses to allegations of police brutality.
  • Apprehension involved with returning to campus in a national climate of increased political and racial tension.
  • Hopes and fears surrounding the 2020 elections.

Project must reflect this diverse community

Jones said that all perspectives are welcome.

“The University reflects its greater community and the viewpoints expressed in this collection should perform the same function,” he said.

Other key project details include:

  • Materials documenting the experiences of contributors will be made immediately available for researchers upon submission.
  • Any contributors appearing in video or audio recordings must sign a permission form upon submission. Archives staff will contact contributors with emailed or personally delivered permissions forms.
  • If submitting social media posts, the EMU Archives requests that you save and submit them as screen shots (JPEGs).

You can submit your 20/20 materials for preservation at this special project website link.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

November 04, 2020

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom