August 28, 2013

Help the community improve

The Daily Citizen

— So, how are we doing?

That’s what some inquisitive folks at Dalton State College want to know about us as a community in terms of our civic activities. They have created a survey to find out how citizens of Whitfield County are faring in their civic duties. And it’s not just about if we volunteer once a week or once a year.

The project, sponsored by American Democracy Project, a New York Times-funded program on several college campuses including Dalton State, aims to help communities become more engaged in the democratic process. It also encourages college-age adults to get involved in the process in the hopes that they will continue to be involved well into their adult lives.

“The goal is to figure out how Dalton State students and the bigger community are engaged in these important things,” Amber Lesicko, coordinator for leadership and civic engagement in the Office of Student Life at Dalton State, said.

The survey wants to find out how often we’re voting, where we get news, how often we volunteer, how much we trust our neighbors and elected officials, and how we use new social media.

The survey is open through September. When the results are in, a committee, which includes members from the college, the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, the University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership, United Way, Dalton Public Schools and city government, will crunch the numbers in the following months with program planning set for May of 2014.

What will this mean?

Officials hope to use the survey results to see what areas are lacking so they can help the community improve with various programs. What programs might arise won’t be clear until the results are in.

As Lesicko told The Daily Citizen earlier this month, “The more civilly involved, the better the community is, the more people want to come here.”

We look forward to seeing where we stand and how we can improve that standing.

By the way, the survey only takes about five minutes to complete.

To take the survey, visit tinyurl.com/civichealth. For a version in Spanish, visit tinyurl.com/civichealthesp.