Omaha Social Project Spots Weaknesses In Work Culture That Threaten the Economy, Explore Omaha’s High Rates of STD’s, and Reflect On Responses To Covid-19.

Omaha Social Project is a collection of research created by UNO sociology students for the community to learn more about life in Omaha that might otherwise go unnoticed. The collection is 5 years in the making and spans more than 20 subject areas. Health related topics are most popular followed by a strong interest in sex education and technology. Students have developed the site throughout the years and are responsible for the name of the project, the topics studied, the content of the projects, and continually improving the quality of research.

I want the city to know about the work we are doing here. UNO students have made a sociological library of life in Omaha. There are important stories to share including research that explains why veterans are homeless in Omaha, the nature of the affordable housing crisis, the politics of the delicate blue dot, why jobs and germs don’t mix, and what makes Omaha part of the Silicon Prairie. You can explore the virtual research library at omahasocialproject.com.

This is an exciting year because our work is timely and it is beginning to get attention. Consider the project Why Jobs and Germs Don’t Mix, although we don’t predict Covid-19, the project lays out some of the cultural obstacles we face in asking people to stay home even if they are sick, let alone if they aren’t! After reading Chlamydia and Social Factors in Omaha, stdtesting.org contacted Omaha Social Project. They have created a comprehensive guide on Chlamydia testing and would like to share it. Service providers and individuals currently facing the problem of STDs would find it to be of use. https://www.stdtesting.org/chlamydia-testing/

Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair, Daniel Hawkins, PhD, helped Omaha Social Project secure funding for the website. “Creating hands on research experiences for students is essential to preparing UNO students for involved citizenship and successful careers. Dr. Edwards is able to provide this in an introductory class, which is rare,” Hawkins states. “It’s an exciting opportunity for Omaha to see itself through a sociological lens created by its own students. Dr. Edwards is truly offering our students an ‘intellectual adventure’ as she promises on the first day of class.”

Julie Dierberger, Paul Sather Distinguished Director of the Service Learning Academy at UNO, says the contribution that students make to the community goes beyond monetary value. “Understanding life in Omaha in a larger context can help us make better decisions as a community and continue our mission to make a strong and equitable community” said Dierberger.

I focus on student passion and encourage every student to study an aspect of life relevant to themselves but from within the context of the community. This semester when we were sent online, I felt that the experience was too traumatic to continue with business as usual, so everyone in the class wrote an essay applying all that they had learned from the class to their observations of Corona Virus and Covid-19, please look forward to that upcoming page. To contact me with data and project ideas visit omahasocialproject.com or contact the University of Nebraska Omaha, Sociology and Anthropology Department at 402 554-2626 or caedwards@unomaha.edu, or crystalannedwardsphd@gmail.com.

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