Community Connect: A Forum for Civic Participation
The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at the University of North Dakota has launched its 'Community Connect' website, an online forum for community members and university faculty, students, and staff to collaborate on local projects. The site is one part in CCE's ongoing efforts to document how participants create community content and to provide a mechanism for enriched civic communication.
Many communities around the US do not have appropriate places or offer enough opportunities for their members to put together the diversity of their voices and cultures and produce and exchange civic information. 'Community Connect,' a community-university project coordinated by the CCE, began over three years ago following over 30 conversations with diverse groups from urban and rural communities across North Dakota to find out how they access and produce information, as well as to evaluate existing and possible community-university collaborations.
With support from a Collaborative Grant from the SSRC, the project has involved dozens of North Dakota organizations, communities, and community members in community-university forums, particularly those in rural parts of the state. It has developed into an ambitious effort to connect regional communities through an annual forum, a journal, and an interactive website. The project is designed to create opportunities for ongoing conversations in-person, in print, and online between communities, neighborhoods, and the university. Participants are able to find and share resources and address common community issues and ideas.
The Journal of Civic Voices, published yearly, welcomes contributions from community and university voices. It is free of charge, and is broadly distributed to regional communities, groups, organizations, and residents of North Dakota, as well as available on the web.