Following is a sampling of the types of projects we have facilitated and where available, a copy of the final reporting is included. Please contact Lori Britt at firstname.lastname@example.org if your community organization or group has a need for or would be interested in helping host a dialogue or deliberation about an important issue in the community.
Student As Neighbor: Sharing and Shaping Community
Three 4C Student Associates working on a collaborative Honor’s Project designed and hosted a community dialogue titled Students as Neighbors: Sharing and Shaping Community. This conversation, which was attended by about 60 community members, students and JMU faculty and staff, explored how each group defines “neighbor” and engaged in dialogue about tensions between community members and student neighbors The perceptions and perspectives that emerged from this forum were used to shape a second forum which will focus on Engaging for Sustainable Solutions. This event will occur on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the JMU Student Success Center. See the Forum Report.
Harrisonburg and Rockingham Bike – Walk Summit
For the second year in a row, 4C facilitators led a collaborative planning discussion of the Summit and assisted participants in creating goals and establishing steps for supporting travel and tourism efforts as a way to gain support and funding for bike and walking infrastructure in our community. See the Forum Report.
The State and Marriage
Working collaboratively with a community coalition called the Public Dialogue Project, 4C students and faculty affiliates collaboratively designed a community dialogue to follow two speakers presenting differing views on the state’s role in defining marriage. Lori Britt, moderated the speaker discussion to produce civil and thoughtful exploration of differences and students facilitated small groups that discussed reactions to the moderated discussion. This event included an additional collaboration with the EMU Peace and Justice Studies program to utilize some of their students for facilitating the small group discussions of the nearly 100 attendees. See a Daily News Record article about the event.
Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley Community Conversation about Mental Health
4C brought together community members who have experienced the effects of mental illness in their lives, their families or the community, and those involved or wanting to be involved in helping to address the issue and provide support for those in need. National statistics indicate that one in four adults at some point in their lives will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder. Mental illness does not discriminate against age, race, or economic status and we are all impacted. Our community conversation was part of a larger national initiative to create community conversations around this important issue. See the Forum Report.
Access to Health: It’s Political — A Community Dialogue
Students training as facilitators in the JMU School of Communication Studies course Facilitating Public Engagement Processes, facilitated a community dialogue as part of the Book for the ‘Burg community reading experience. Students conducted interviews in January and February with those involved in delivering and helping others access healthcare in order to understand the issues in our community and structure a productive conversation. See the Forum Report.
Creating Our Town Forum
4C facilitators designed and facilitated a forum as part of JMuse Café’s series of three community conversations on place and history. The discussion focused on the future of the Harrisonburg community and creating concrete action steps that can be applied short-term and long-term. Citizens were asked to focus on identifying projects they were willing to champion, and the goal was for everyone to leave feeling empowered to work on these projects. Local experts were available to consult and to provide reality-checks on action plans. Discussion topics included support and redevelopment of Harrisonburg’s northeast neighborhood, issues of transportation and parking, public spaces and forums downtown, and creating processes to both safeguard and improve our community. Strategic goals were created by the participants and grassroots initiatives have continued to work to bring some of these ideas to life.
Harrisonburg and Rockingham Bike – Walk Summit
4C facilitators led the discussion portion of the summit and helped participants create a list of action plans for 2013-2014 that were collaboratively developed in a multi-part planning process. The action plans were focused on the five key areas that the League of American Bicyclists identifies as important areas to address in making a community bicycle and pedestrian friendly: Evaluation and planning, engineering and political connections, encouragement, education, and enforcement and safety. See the Action Plans.
Old Town Civility Forum
4C facilitators designed and led a forum with Friends of Old Town on civility in the Old Town neighborhood. The purpose was to identify methods of educating and integrating JMU students living in Old Town in order to create a safe, caring, peaceful, and beautiful neighborhood for all. Over 50 people attended representing residents, local businesses, city officials, landlords, local law enforcement, students, and JMU faculty and administrative staff. See the Forum Report.
Community Forum on Guns, Security, and Public Life
In response to a community need to talk about guns and safety after the Sandy Hook school shooting, students in the Facilitating Public Engagement Processes class hosted a forum on Guns, Security, and Public Life at the Lucy Simms center in downtown Harrisonburg. Preparations included logistics and stakeholder interviews, designing an original conversation format, and sending out invitations to community members. Students ran and facilitated the event and created a summary report of the discussions. The conversation centered on questions of values such as safety and freedom. The forum was attended by around 45 community members, and received highly positive feedback from attendees. See the Forum Report.
Forum on Energy, Natural Gas and Fracking, as part of the Madison Cup
Following an expert panel discussion on the topic, 4C associates facilitated a community dialogue about the issues of energy resources and fracking across the country as they relate to the values of economy, the safety of community resources, and protecting the environment.
Dialogue with the JMU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
4C facilitated a dialogue on diversity in journalism and led an activity that encouraged discussion about suspending assumptions about others in the process of interviewing others and covering news events in diverse populations.
Our CommUNITY Speaks Conversation Tent
JMU and Fairfield Center volunteers facilitated informal conversations with community members at the International Festival to find out the most important issues for the Harrisonburg community to address in future conversations.