Giving Weight to Course Concepts

Caela O’Connell, assistant professor of anthropology and part of the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program, quickly realized that the COVID-19 pandemic is an immediate concern in the lives of her students.

She is shifting the students’ projects to COVID-19 related research in two of her classes.

In her large “Introduction to Anthropology” course, the students are contributing to the Foxfire COVID-19 Oral History Project by recording oral histories of how their family members are coping with the pandemic.

In O’Connell’s smaller “Food, Environment and Sustainability” service-learning course, her students are documenting food access resources and food insecurity related to COVID-19. They are building a website that will address needs and problems related to food insecurity, will create a clearinghouse of organizations tackling food access issues and will curate resources to help families in need and to share information about how communities are impacted.

“This is applied research that will benefit the community,” O’Connell said.

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