University Archives & Special Collections

The purpose of this project is to document, preserve, and make accessible the experiences of Tennessee Tech students, faculty, staff, alumni, and residents of the Upper Cumberland following the March 3rd, 2020, tornadoes and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Archives is already collecting the official response of the university to the pandemic and tornado, but the nature of such records neglects the personal experiences of the university community. Future researchers will value documentation of the day-to-day experiences of people during the pandemic, no matter how mundane it might feel to us now. Preserving these experiences is particularly important here in Middle Tennessee, where the dual crises of the March 3rd tornadoes and the quickly following pandemic have created a uniquely challenging situation.

The Tech Archives encourages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and residents of the Upper Cumberland to submit written, visual, audio, or video documentation of their experiences during the pandemic. There are no requirements for style, spelling, or grammar. The Archives will accept materials in any language, but materials in English and Spanish will be processed faster due to staff knowledge. Participants are welcome to document what they wish as it relates to their life following the tornado and during the pandemic.

Potential topics include:

  • How has your daily life changed or stayed the same? This can include such areas as home life, social life, work, school, hobbies, travel, or shopping.
  • Where are you living now? What is it like living there during the pandemic?
  • For students, parents, and teachers: how did you handle the transition to online and alternative delivery of classes?
  • How have you kept in touch with friends or family that you do not live with? How is this different than before the pandemic?
  • Have the March 3rd tornadoes shaped your reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, how?

Sample methods of documentation are:

  • Audio voice memos
  • Blog posts
  • Comics
  • Diaries or journals
  • Drawings
  • Essays
  • Graphic art
  • Memes
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Poetry
  • Screenshots of social media posts
  • Songs
  • Videos
  • Zines

Digital files can be submitted using the form linked at the bottom of the page. The form allows a maximum size of 100 MB per file and a maximum of 10 files per submission. If you wish to contribute more than 10 files, you may submit the form multiple times with the different files. If you would like to submit a file that is larger than 100 MB or items in the form of a website (such as blogs or public social media feeds), please email the Archives at to arrange a transfer.

If you prefer to send paper documents, please mail them to Tennessee Tech University Archives, 1100 N. Peachtree Avenue, Campus Box 5066, Cookeville, TN 38505. Please include at minimum your contact information (name, mailing address, email address, phone number) and information on who created the materials. Additional information such as dates, events, geographic location, names of people included, topics, and any other relevant information that would help with understanding the item(s) can also be included in the mailing or emailed to the Archives at Once your materials are received, the Archives will contact you to complete the formal submission agreement.

These materials ultimately will be made available online in a digital collection. Your submitted documentation will not be immediately available for researchers. The Archives will first process the submissions and check for personal health information and personally identifiable information of third parties. If you would like to request that your submission be restricted from access for a period of time beyond the time needed to process the materials, the submission form provides an option for a 5-year restriction.

Personal health information is protected under the United States’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The submission form includes a required Personal Information Agreement, in which you acknowledge that your documentation might include your personal health information and that you give permission for this information to be preserved and shared for future research.

If you wish to include other people’s personal health information in your documentation--such as discussing a family member’s or a friend’s underlying health conditions that makes them high-risk or discussing a family member who tested positive for COVID-19, please contact the Archives to discuss options to protect the privacy of the person/people. We might decide to make the data anonymous or request a HIPAA-compliant waiver from the individual(s).

All contributors must read and agree to a submission agreement that details the terms of the donation. Anyone who wishes to contribute that is under eighteen (18) years of age will be required to have a parent or guardian agree on their behalf. If you have any questions or concerns about the agreement, please email the Archives at

The submission agreement is below:

I acknowledge that I am the creator of the submitted materials. I hereby donate the submitted materials and grant a permanent and nonexclusive license to Tennessee Tech University Archives and Special Collections, maintaining my copyright over the materials. I consent to and authorize Tennessee Tech Archives to make the submitted materials available to all interested researchers to publish, re-publish, broadcast, re-broadcast, adapt, exhibit, perform, reproduce, edit, modify, make derivative works, distribute, display or otherwise use with attribution. Duplicate or out-of-scope materials may be disposed of in accordance with Tennessee Tech University policies. I understand that the submitted materials will be preserved and administered pursuant to library policies and procedures. Unless I indicate otherwise, my name may be released as the donor and creator of these materials. Tax law prohibits the Archives from providing a valuation on materials donated.

If you have a Gmail account, use this form:
Tornado & COVID-19 Project Online Submission Form

If you do not have a Gmail account and do not want to sign up for one, download this form:
Tornado & COVID-19 Project Downloadable Submission Form


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