UConn Extension continues to answer questions during university closure

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The University of Connecticut’s Stacey Stears, a program specialist for UConn Extension.  Photo courtesy of UConn

The University of Connecticut’s Stacey Stears, a program specialist for UConn Extension. Photo courtesy of UConn

UConn Extension, a University of Connecticut website which seeks to provide readers with scientific resources and information, is continuing its services by providing coronavirus information, as well as continuing to answer other questions during the pandemic. 

“The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world,” the website said. “UConn Extension has curated the following resources for our audiences,” and lists links to resources and information specific to businesses or farmers, as well as more general resources for families and normal audiences. 

Many links and resources, including providing information for audiences on how to donate personal protection equipment, pet safety during the pandemic and managing stress are located on the page. 

Stacey Stearns, the program specialist, said that the coronavirus resources page was created in order for all audiences to find related information more conveniently. 

“The coronavirus page was created in response to our Extension Specialists requests to help their various audiences. We wanted to have one place where audiences could find all of our Extension materials,” Stearns said. “Our Extension Specialists often collaborate on projects, and understand that their audiences have many needs. We created the page to make it easier for our audiences to find resources.”

Michael P. O’Neill, UConn Extension’s Dean and Associate Director, describes the website’s main purpose as providing scientific knowledge and solutions to audiences, especially in the areas of agriculture, health and sustainability. 

“CAHNR Extension has two core missions: bringing scientific knowledge and innovations to families, businesses and communities across the state and facilitating solutions to critical problems related to agriculture, health and sustainability,” O’Neill said in an email. “Building and sustaining partnerships is key to our successes; we work with our partners to co-create knowledge and solutions needed to address the most challenging problems.” 

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We also have a page on our blog where people can submit questions online, it continues to receive numerous requests.
— Stacey Stearns

While in the past, UConn Extension has sought to cater information toward rural communities, it is continuing to expand its audiences to more urban and suburban communities. 

“Historically, Extension focused on agricultural and rural communities as their primary audiences. Land grant universities – like UConn – were created to bring education to a much broader segment of society and Extension expanded that education from classrooms to farms, towns and homes,” O’Neill said. “Over time, issues evolved that brought Extension programs more in contact with urban and suburban audiences to address healthy lifestyles and environmental sustainability.”

Stearns said that the page continues to receive questions, which can be submitted through a link on the webpage. 

“We also have a page on our blog where people can submit questions online, it continues to receive numerous requests, and those have mostly been gardening questions, and about soil testing. The soil testing lab has remained open as an essential service, but the protocols have changed during the coronavirus outbreak,” Stearns said. “When a question is submitted online it is routed to the appropriate Extension specialist to answer.” 

Stearns said that the page has already received over 2,000 views, with about 1,508 of them being unique, according to the resource page’s analytics.

Thumbnail image via UConn Extension

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Amanda Kilyk is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at amanda.kilyk@uconn.edu.

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