2020! Oh, What a Year!

April 08, 2021
Article and image courtesy of Gonzaga Spirit Newsletter

Perhaps it was a little unsettling like George Orwell’s 1984, or eerie like Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Back to the Future, or somewhat scary like Y2K in 2000.

Foley Center’s University Archives and Special Collections is creating a grassroots community diary of how Gonzaga experienced this most extraordinary year, called “Our 2020 Project.”

“COVID-19 has already disrupted the campus life and instruction we’ve known, and may well dictate the terms of a new normal going forward,” says Archivist David Kingma, who along with Archivist Stephanie Plowman, is assembling this collection. “With economic and civic turmoil as an added backdrop, and the 2020 fall national election like no other, we can expect the past year to be a truly unique chapter in Zag history.”

Foley Center is asking faculty, staff, students and friends to be eyewitness contributors by submitting things you’ve written, photos you’ve taken or video you’ve recorded that give perspective to the year that was. “It will be your lives – your thoughts, feelings, decisions, creative expressions – that can shed light on the moment,” Kingma says.

How did your life change when COVID struck and employees were asked to work from home? How was it when your kids were home for remote learning and had double duty? How did your recreation change? Your reading? Your exercise? What changes surprised you on campus? How did you feel maintaining a job during the pandemic? How did you adjust to wearing a mask, social
distancing, not congregating with others? How was playing Hollywood Squares every day, or so Zoom meetings felt?

What was your reaction when George Floyd was killed underneath a police officer’s knee? Did you participate in peaceful protests? How did Gonzaga respond? Did it create a call to action for you? What did the fall presidential and other national elections and their aftermath tell us? What gives us hope or creates fear?

All submissions will be held from public view at least until Jan. 1, 2026. By then an entirely new body of students will be having their own Gonzaga experience, entirely reliant on the historical records we compile for a sense of what 2020 meant.

The Foley Archives’ entry page is the easiest way to learn more about the Our 2020 Project and use its uploadable submission forms. Foley will accept submissions through the end of spring semester.

For more information and perspective, contact David Kingma, 313-3814, kingma@gonzaga.edu OR Stephanie Plowman, 313-3847, plowman@gonzaga.edu.


Our 2020 Project Description