The Center for Public Deliberation, an institute dedicated to facilitating public dialogue around civic issues, has been charged with conducting an extensive and comprehensive public input process regarding Colorado State University’s plans to consider building an on-campus stadium.
The center will distribute feedback forms at Friday’s preliminary meeting of the Stadium Advisory Committee and has been asked to conduct a series of meetings and input sessions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, community members and neighborhoods.
The data collected on Friday, as well as data continuously gathered from e-mails and message boards, will be used by center staff and students to design interactive meetings to allow participants to discuss the proposed stadium and provide input on key issues in a respectful and productive manner. The questions asked on Friday’s feedback forms will also be available online.
The center is currently working on scheduling feedback sessions and is charged with providing the Stadium Advisory Committee with input from the broad range of constituents interested in the stadium process.
“Our goal with this process is to not only ensure that everyone gets heard, but that interested individuals—whether they are for, against, or undecided about the proposal—get a chance to work through this topic and interact with fellow community members about the numerous issues connected to the stadium. Ultimately, the more people work through the issue and learn from each other, the better the information will be that we provide to the committee,” said CPD Director Martín Carcasson, who also serves as an associate professor of Communication Studies at Colorado State. “Difficult issues like these call for high-quality communication and engagement, and the Center will be focused on providing such opportunities.”
The Center will work as an independent entity during the process. All raw data collected from the sessions—such as survey forms, notes from the discussions, and wireless keypad data—will be posted on the CPD website. That data will then be organized and analyzed for presentation to the Stadium Advisory Committee, with those reports also made public.
“The role of the CPD is to be a resource to improve the quality of conversation and help people overcome the polarizing talk that too often dominates our public discourse,” Carcasson said. “To serve that function, transparency, trust, and impartiality are critical, and we will be careful to continue to build our reputation for serving in that manner here in Northern Colorado.”
“The Center for Public Deliberation is a leading academic center focusing on improving public communication and community problem solving,” said Amy Parsons, vice president for University Operations at CSU and co-chair of the Stadium Advisory Committee. “The staff has helped facilitate many complex discussions in the Northern Colorado area, and having their guidance and support ensures all voices in the community will be considered as we move through this process.”
The Center for Public Deliberation, founded in the summer of 2006, is dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication and community problem-solving. It serves as an impartial resource for the northern Colorado community. Working with local city and county governments, state representatives, school boards and community organizations, the center organizes and hosts many events in the local community, including public forums on national and local issues and various workshops tied to public participation and civic engagement. CSU undergraduates participating in the CPD’s student associate program as well as interested community members are trained as impartial facilitators and process experts and provide critical capacity for community to address difficult issues in more productive ways.
Its stated mission is to promote the development of a vibrant, deliberative democracy in Northern Colorado and has three broad goals: Enhance the local civic culture, expand collaborative decision-making and improve civic education.
For more information on the Center, visit http://www.cpd.colostate.edu/index.html.