#CoverYourFangs: Behind the Mask of a University During COVID

In Fall 2020, St. Mary's University students in Dr. Lindsey Passenger Wieck's Introduction to Public History classes set out to preserve the stories of our campus community during the pandemic. These graduate and undergraduate students added items to the JOTPY COVID-19 Archive and then told stories about these items in the exhibits that follow. In these exhibits, you'll find examples of the struggles faced by our campus community as well as the ways that students, faculty, and staff persevered in the face of these challenges. You'll see ways that our campus spaces have changed and the ways that our classes have changed with virtual learning.  In 2020, many of us have learned that we are stronger than we knew.  Supporting each other through tough times is the most important things our community can do.

#CoverYourFangs with Rattler Man

Rattler Man reminds us to #CoverYourFangs, which inspired the creation of this #CoverYourFangs archive.

Student-Curated Exhibits

Below is a list of exhibits curated by undergraduate and graduate students at St. Mary's University in Fall 2020. Another exhibit, "A Snapshot of COVID-19 and the Changing World" by graduate student Eddie Paniagua can be found here.



#CoverYourFangs Submissions

  • Zoom: Grad School in Quarantine

    This meme is a visual representation of the feelings of many online students this school year. Professors have been doing their best in a situation that was handled so improperly by those in charge. However, many students feel resentment for their universities due to a lack of accommodation in such a tumultuous time. Zoom learning was offered as an alternative to in person learning but no one could say that the two are equal in comparison. The fact that many universities are charging the same amount for both types of learning is not lost on students and adds to the frustration that online learners face during COVID19. Many wonder where their money is going and if the universities actually care about their students and staff. It's important to remember that all of us in grad school are struggling with the same things, being flexible and empathetic is so important, now more than ever.
  • Zaragoza Training

    This item is a screenshot of Zaragoza leaders training for their upcoming Zaragoza days during the summer of 2021. These students were wearing masks accommodating to COVID-19 guidelines. The item was originally posted by the Zaragoza Leaders Instagram, a page used to safely reach out to students. This Instagram post shows Zaragoza team leaders following COVID-19 guidelines established by the university. In the days leading up to Zaragoza Orientation, team leaders were required to attend planning events to ensure the proper execution of safe orientation days for students and parents. Through this post, Zaragoza leaders were able to reach out to students and the St. Mary’s community in a safe and timely matter. Despite the restrictions brought to college campuses by the pandemic, St. Mary’s was able to find creative ways to remain connected to the community.
  • Zaragoza Orientation Program

    This orientation program shows the different accommodations that have been made to ensure a safe experience during Zaragoza days. Prior to the pandemic, the events scheduled for students would be held in person so that students would have the opportunity to interact face to face and make new connections with other students. However, the Zaragoza days held in August 2021 integrated both in person and online orientation events. This program shows that some of the scheduled events were held on Zoom during different sessions. This was to ensure that students were provided with safe and easy access to learn more about being and undergrad at St. Mary's while not completely limiting their orientation experience by still holding in person events that adhered to Covid-19 guidelines.
  • Zack Davis and Cece Chavez Oral History, 2021/11/19

    This is an audio interview with two members of the St Marys wind ensemble. It goes into how they were feeling when the university shut down, and their potential fears for the band program. It also goes into their experiences during online rehearsals and outdoor rehearsals.
  • Work Studies Begin Working Remotely for Fall 2020

    When I got the email saying that as a work-study student at St. Mary's University I was going to be able to work from home for the semester I was extremely excited. Before the pandemic, we were only allowed to work in-person while on campus. In March all work-studies were told that they would not be able to work at home, so it was stressful waiting to hear if we were going to be allowed to work. Being able to still work on the projects that we are assigned during this pandemic is a nice escape from reality.
  • What Keeps Me Sane

    Between working in a grocery store, and doing class work, I find myself busy and often stressed. I am lucky enough to have a partner, two cats and other luxuries that help me relax and relieve my anxieties. I included an older picture of myself and my partner, my switch, and my cats Wobbles (grey) and Jade (black). Having these distractions in my life have definitely made the pandemic a little more manageable. These things, along with my partner, help me count my blessings and appreciate what I have and have been able to hold on to during these anxious and stressful times.
  • What is Zoom Fatigue and what it means for students

    This article gives some context as to what "zoom fatigue" or "tech fatigue" is. It's not something I've really considered before this year. My previous years of having mainly online classes, were still broken up by at least one or two in-person classes, along with the other distractions of going the store or visiting family, and doing something fun or interesting, without the anxiety of getting severely sick, or getting my loved ones sick. The article also includes some basic "how to fight tech fatigue" tips which I think could be useful, however, this type of advice can easily fall into the one-size-fits-all category. This needs to be avoided, because there is a wider range of diversity and accessibility, and for some people the "20,20,20" rule, simply doesn't work.
  • Picture of five people holding stickers that read "Presidential Election 2020: I voted!" and "Future Voter!".

    Voting During a Global Pandemic: A Student's Experience Voting in Person

    The object is an image of my family and I after voting and holding our “I voted” stickers. The eligible voters in my household are my mother, father, younger brother, and myself. After becoming very invested in politics, my youngest brother, who is eight, got a future voter sticker for coming along. Voting, in general, is a significant task, but this year, with the presidential election, mass amounts of people were expected to vote in person and with mail-in ballots. The pandemic heavily altered what an election usually looks like. Voting in person looked very different and had additional procedures to be cautious. When we entered immediately, we were given a hand sanitizer and a disposable glove to touch the voting machines and ballot. The room setup was different as areas to walk marked off, waiting in line to check-in required voters to wait for six-feet apart from each other. The floors were marked to show directions you could walk in. The voting machines were farther apart than usual to keep everyone at a distance. It was strange to experience a COVID-19 election, especially as this has been an anticipated election for a few years now. Last year I could never have imagined voting in a mask and being given a glove to keep the voting machines clean. This year is notable for the difficult circumstances of COVID-19 and a year focusing on the historic presidential election.
  • Visiting with Friends during the Pandemic

    My friend Victoria, has shared ways that she has been able to keep in touch with her friends during this time of quarantine, social distancing, and precaution. Victoria captioned this screenshot with: "Before COVID, I would hangout with my friends in person which was a good and fun stress reliever. However, now that we have to social distance, I FaceTime them which helps just as much" I, personally have also resulted in communicating with my friends via video chat calls. I usually try and schedule a time to call them where we can catch up and chat. I usually am not a huge video chat fan however, with COVID-19, I have become one. In order to minimize the spread of the virus and keep our families safe, most of my friends and I, have been relying solely on facetime calls to catch up. It's weird but it's definitely better than getting sick!
  • Virtually walk/run a 5K with St. Mary's University.

    This email shows even through the pandemic of COVID-19 St. Mary's is going to continue to try to keep annual events running. Virtually accommodating participants from every city, state and country to participate. Personally I think this event will allow the St. Mary’s community to show their pride, even through COVID-19 the Rattler nation is still staying connected. In addition, it allows our members to do some normal activities that we did before the pandemic. We are all quarantined and allowing us to walk/run/hike from your home is a great idea. As a member of the St. Mary's Community I received the email.
  • Video Chat Birthday Celebration

    The pandemic disrupted the frequent trips I take to visit my friend Chrissie in California. We planned on celebrating her birthday together in person, but since we both lived in hot spots we decided it was best to postpone our festivities. I used some of the money I would have spent on traveling to buy her some very personalized gifts. When she received her presents I asked her to meet me on the Houseparty app so that I could see her reactions. They were priceless. I commissioned an artist friend to draw her beloved cat Dulce which I then printed on a poster. To add a Texas touch, I also got her a James Avery charm bracelet with an inside joke engraved on it. Even though I would have much rather hung out with Chrissie in person, this celebration was still special. Being away from made me think about how much I love and appreciate her. Quarantine allowed me the time to reflect on what makes her unique and what gifts would put a smile on her face.
  • Valeria Rodriguez Oral History, 2020/10/16

    In this interview Valeria Rodriguez shares about her experience as a St. Mary's University Freshman studying virtually from her home in Honduras. She highlights the ways in which she has overcome challenges and continues to look at the bright side of things. I believe that Valeria's perspective is powerful because her story shows her resilience and can inspire many other International students going through a similar situation.
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