Medicine Hat College pair launches COVID experience site

Seeking people's stories

A student and professor at Medicine Hat College have teamed up to create something special for Hatters.

Sierra Zukowski and instructor Jason Openo recently launched the website Medicine Hat COVID Experiences and the duo is asking people to submit their own experiences during the pandemic.

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“We built a portal and are crowd sourcing experiences people have had throughout COVID-19,” said Zukowski. “We wanted to create a space where people could share what’s going on, and for people to come in the future to see what the time was like for people.

“It’s an interesting way for people living now to see what others are going through.”

Zukowski and Openo are asking people to submit photos, social media posts, journals, stories, blogs, essays, videos, songs, poems, artwork, posters or signs to the project.

The project has been in the works since the beginning of May, and the two have been constantly collaborating since.

“Right now we have a couple of submissions posted on the site for people to see,” said Zukowski. “We’re hoping now that we’re advertising it a bit, people will start sending more in.”

Zukowski is an Art and Design graduate and created the website and was in charge for the visual design. Inspiration for the design came from sidewalk chalk art that became popular during the pandemic. Students in the program were supposed to have a work term this year, but most were cancelled due to COVID-19. This project is replacing her work term.

Openo, the director of teaching and learning at the college, says this has been a fun project to work on.

“Our students needed meaningful work experience and this is something we came up with to provide that,” he said. “We’re not a research college or an archive college, so we had to find to make this a community college project.

“Our college is really integrated in the community, so this project is going to be for us now and for us in the future.”

Openo hopes this will be a good tool for people.

“We’ve all been living through this, and I don’t know if we’ve really had the time to reflect on what’s going on,” he said. “I think there will come a time when we need to look back and to reflect, and this project can help with that process.”

People can see submissions at http://www.medicinehatcovidexperiences.ca. Each submission will be sent to the site creators to review and approve before posting.

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