Elementary, Middle and High School students from around the metro will team with political science students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) on Thursday, Oct. 17, to survey Omaha’s city council’s districts as part of a service learning project focused on citizenship.
Nearly 150 students from Liberty Elementary, Norris Middle School, South High Magnet School and Millard South High School will meet that morning Liberty Elementary to hear from Omaha Councilman Gary Gernandt on the importance of citizen engagement with their communities.
After Gernandt’s speech, the schools will split into groups and join UNO students from Paul Landow’s “Introduction to American National Government” class and travel to a designated district in the Omaha-metro area to look for issues that should be addressed by the Omaha City Council.
Upon completing their canvassing, the groups will meet at the Thompson Alumni Center at UNO over the noon hour to write letters to the council members of the districts they visited in order to raise awareness for those issues.
The students will receive guidance on their letters from Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen, who will be on hand to explain how these types of letters are received and how best to get the attention of government representatives, whether they are at the city, state or federal level.
Thursday’s event is part of a partnership coordinated by UNO’s P-16 Initiative.
As part of UNO’s Service Learning Academy, the P-16 Initiative facilitates partnerships between three key groups:
- UNO students and their teachers
- Pre school-through-high school students and their teachers
- Community organizations and their members
Through these service-learning partnerships, P-16 brings the classroom into the community through application of education to find solutions to real-life problems.