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.

Service and Learning

I am always so grateful for the creativity of my students.  They are so multi talented and capable.  They are also incredibly willing to go the extra mile to really learn those worthwhile bits of sociological information that will help our community make better planning and policy choices.  The range of ideas for research projects continues to amaze me.  They are taking on the tough issues like sexual consent, burial and death rituals, and the racial politics of voting.  It does not get more real.  They are reviewing the quality of housing stock, the availability of affordable housing, and the epidemic of residential segregation.  Others have focused on vaccinations, recidivism, community art, and more.  Please look forward to our May 1, 2019 unveiling of our new look which includes more about our students and their experiences as new researchers.  Community research has never been more exciting!

Getting Better All the Time!

Each semester I learn from the struggles of my students and integrate those lessons into the next class.  Knowing just where new scholars will be challenged by the project allows me to work them through it.  The result is another semester of research to rave about.  As the project grows, I encourage community partners looking to share data to connect with me.  You can leave a message for Crystal Edwards at the University of Nebraska Omaha Sociology and Anthropology office (402) 554-2626.

Getting to Know Omaha

After living in Omaha for ten years it is starting to feel like home.  Each semester I learn something new about the city thanks to the hard work of my students.  Here are some exciting new projects! Whether it is access to healthcare for low income women or homelessness for veterans, it pays to know what is happening in your city.

Crystal Edwards, PhD

 

About the Omaha Social Project

Omaha frequently makes top ten lists for many different reasons.  This website analyzes numerous sociological aspects of life in Omaha looking for a more thorough understanding than any top ten list can provide. This collection of research is part of an on going project directed by  Dr. Crystal Edwards through an Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Nebraska Omaha.  The students work hard to create projects that apply sociological concepts to  the world they inhabit.  Explore Omaha Social Project by clicking on the left-hand tabs.