At IEI, we’re committed to discussing civic health and engagement across North Carolina. Our excellent Emerging Leaders Fellow, Maggie Woods and Alecia Page, recently launched the IEI Civic Engagement Blog, featuring programming details, commentary and guest posts from other North Carolina leaders committed to civic engagement. Don’t miss the guest post from YES! team lead Aidil Ortiz Hill on valuing youth voices.
The 2015 North Carolina Civic Health Index, released in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, demonstrated that, contrary to popular belief, civic engagement across the state is merely average when compared to national measures. While we participate in higher levels in schools, neighborhoods, community groups and religious institutions, we’re generally involved in rates lower than the national average in sporting and recreational groups. We aim to do our part to change these statistics, as we know that strong civic health encourages a high quality of living and can result in positive economic benefits.
We focused much of our efforts this last year around civic engagement, launching or strengthening programming like Summer in the Commons, the six statewide Discovery Forums and the #YouthEngageNC Summit to encourage North Carolinians to get involved in their communities.
Summer in the Commons welcomed nearly 1000 students in grades K-12 to the Hunt Library in 2015 to tour the Emerging Issues Commons, and our dedicated Commons Ambassadors led year-round tours through the Commons. Interested in volunteering to be a Commons Ambassador? We encourage NC State students (at the early college, undergraduate or graduate level) to apply for this year-long internship program, which features tailored leadership development sessions throughout the year.
For this year’s Discovery Forum series, presented with BB&T, we partnered with six universities throughout the state to host these social entrepreneurship competitions. This series allowed young adults to recognize the problems in their communities and take ownership of solving them. We received nearly 100 social entrepreneurship proposals, and our 500 attendees chose three finalists from each event. These 18 finalist entrepreneur teams will come to Raleigh in April to compete for a $10,000 top prize!
And the #YouthEngageNC Summit brought more than 200 people to the Hunt Library on November 6, 2015. We convened stakeholders from three key regions across the state to address the alarming decline in your engagement. We launched a subsequent youth engagement newsletter; subscribe here! You can watch the summit, including Leading to Change CEO Eric Rowles’ millennial engagement resources, here.
We’re so excited to continue our work in civic engagement throughout the state. We’re invested in North Carolina, and we aim to use our IEI Civic Engagement Blog to discuss and explore ways to improve civic health here. We want to hear from you! What topics in civic engagement are you committed to? How do you spend your time in your community? Comment on the blog, or use the contact form here to get in touch!