TSU Students, officials bury COVID-19 pandemic in time capsule, to be unearthed in 2041

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A TSU-inscribed face mask, a letter from the university president, and a Homecoming banner were among items recently laid to rest in a time capsule to remind those who open it 20 years from now of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

President Glover, Associate VP Frank Stevenson and student leaders bury the time capsule on the main campus. From left, are Mr. TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; Miss TSU Mallory Moore; SGA VP Jevaria Jefferson; SGA President Derrick Sanders; Dr. Glover; Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee; and Stevenson. (Photo by Andre Bean)

President Glenda Glover, along with student leaders and university officials, buried the time capsule during a lively, socially-distanced ceremony on the main campus on Oct. 26. It will be unearthed in 2041. Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees, conceived the idea for the capsule. She said it will tell future students about what it was like to live during COVID-19. 

“The time capsule is to make sure people know and have our firsthand account of how we dealt with this moment,” said Thomas, to a loud cheer from the crowd, including the Aristocrat of Bands, that provided entertainment. Her presentation was in the form of a letter to fellow students summarizing the events of the time. 

President Glover places an envelope in the time capsule containing a letter, a mask and an AKA pouch. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“There are going to be so many people writing history books, making documentaries, but we want to leave something that tells our story, to make sure it is as true and accurate as possible,” Thomas added. “We have been through so much and so many stories to be told from so many angles, and I just want to make sure we capitalize on that moment because, indeed, we are history makers.” 

Like many students at the ceremony, Terrian Jefferson and Kershaun Barksdale agreed with Thomas.

Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees, conceived the idea for the time capsule. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“This means a lot to me because future students can actually see what we dealt with in today’s time,” said Jefferson, a junior health sciences major from Memphis, Tennessee. “And for even those of us here today, this will remind us that this really did happen.” 

Barksdale, a psychology major from Holly Springs, Mississippi, added: “I feel like this burial is necessary because it puts us in a unique position to be able to accurately tell the story of what took place during this time.” 

Besides the mask and students’ messages, the time capsule contains a banner from the AOB, an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. pouch from Dr. Glover, who is also international president of the sorority, press releases, news articles, and memorabilia from the Black Lives Matter Movement, among others. Tuesday’s event also marked TSU’s weeklong 2021 Homecoming, which kicked off Sunday with a gospel explosion. 

AOB Drum Major Travion Crutcher places a banner from the marching band in the time capsule. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students, thanked President Glover for her leadership, Thomas for her foresight in conceiving the idea for the time capsule, and the campus family for their support. 

“As we bury this time capsule, let’s celebrate the brilliant leadership of President Glover during this pandemic; she was very intentional, and she required that out of all of her staff,” Stevenson said. “During the pandemic, we were left in the care of 2,200 students who stayed on our campus. We were the frontline workers. While other personnel were working from home, we had to be intentional about our presence. From our police department, health services to our residence hall staff, we were here, and we did it and we are excited to make this moment.”   

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.