Emerging Issues Commons

IEI’s Emerging Issues Commons, a physical space in Hunt Library on NC State University’s Centennial Campus and dynamic online companion site, are designed to bring North Carolinians together around our state’s most pressing issues in the areas of education, health, economy, and environments.

Why the Emerging Issues Commons?  North Carolina faces a civic engagement crisis. According to the 2010 Civic Health Index, North Carolina ranks 42nd in the nation for volunteering, 44th for participation in non-electoral policy activity (such as public meetings), and 39th for group affiliation/membership.

Without reclaiming the ability to engage and collaborate, North Carolina is at great risk for failing to prepare our state and future generations for what is to come. The same study, however, suggests that North Carolinians would engage if they simply knew about opportunities and were asked to act.


We created a physical space and dynamic online hub where visitors could grapple with the biggest challenges facing our state, presented in a way that has never been done before in order to facilitate positive change at a rate that has never been done before.


To learn more about the Emerging Issues Commons, watch the Emerging Issues Commons (Overview) Video from Second Story.


We replaced charts and graphs with interactive tools that visualize more than 100 county-level data points, as well as their relationships between one another. In this way, users can see the connections between challenges, compare challenges between different geographies, and get a better understanding of the issues.


Numbers, however, only tell part of the story. We put faces behind this data in  short videos that highlight North Carolinians who have faced difficult challenges and used community connections to identify ways to move their town or county forward. The videos are designed to inspire users, illustrate important lessons learned along the way, and unveil possibilities in their own communities.


Armed with the data context and human implications of our issues, users can select different challenges to work on within IEI’s focus areas. Users can add their own ideas for solving our challenges, see what ideas others have offered, rate and rank those ideas, and add their opinions on how to make them stronger.

Each of these areas also live in our online, virtual platform. Visit emergingissuescommons.org today.

Interested in a tour of this space? Want to bring in your group to discuss education, economy, health or the environments using the Commons technology? Contact Simone Collman at rccollma@ncsu.edu.