COVID-19 Safety Information

SUNY Cortland planning COVID-19 time capsule

SUNY Cortland planning COVID-19 time capsule


For many, the past 12 months have been a year to forget.

But that’s not SUNY Cortland’s attitude.

The university is looking to preserve the history of the COVID-19 era on campus, both as a service to future scholarship and also as a time capsule that will be opened during the university’s bicentennial celebration in 2068.

Input and submissions from students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the local community who are engaged in campus life — are currently being sought.

The aim of the project is to help future generations understand the public health challenges SUNY Cortland faced throughout the pandemic as well as to highlight individual perceptions of this truly unique time in world history.

“This is an opportunity for the university community to transform the challenges of today into the historic resources of tomorrow,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “At SUNY Cortland we strongly believe in the value of educational experiences. For more than a year, we have all been living the shared experience of attending this institution during the most devastating pandemic in a century, and we have all been learning from it. This will help make sure those lessons are not lost.”

Health Professor and Director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies Jena Nicols Curtis, an organizer of the initiative, echoed that theme.

“The time capsule gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own individual experiences over the past year — both what we’ve lost and also how we’ve grown,” Curtis said. “It will also, thanks to the guidance of the Library Archives and History Department, allow us to create a historical record of what our campus experienced during the COVID pandemic. From the materials that we donate, future generations of Red Dragons will be able to learn firsthand how we sacrificed and supported each other during a time of great loss and uncertainty.” 

Potential items for inclusion in the project include, but are not limited to:

  • Photographs and video
  • Student and faculty projects and research related to COVID-19
  • Personal statements or recollections of this period in written or audio formats
  • Physical artifacts, i.e., masks, posters, etc.
  • Messages from today’s students addressed to the students of 2068

To submit digital material for consideration, please use this online form. Physical items may be mailed to the library at: Memorial Library, Attn: College Archives, 81 Prospect Terrace, Cortland, N.Y. 13045. For questions or issues, contact the College Archives by email.

A digital exhibition of select items will ultimately be displayed through the College Archives.

For questions, contact Jena Nicols Curtis at 607-753-2979.