Oct 232007
Authors: Cece Wildeman

Imagine a community where opposing sides listen to each other, communicate effectively and small problems are solved without outside aid from the government.

Martin Carcasson says he can.

He founded the Center for Public Deliberation, a CSU program aimed at enhancing local democracy and constructive dialogue.

Each semester, ten new students are admitted to the program and typically stay for two semesters. The first semester consists of training the students and the second semester consists of working on projects, Carcasson said.

The Center for Public Deliberation will be holding an informational meeting for those interested in joining in the Lory Student Center Room 220 today at 9:30 a.m and 1:30 p.m.

Dawneen Banks, a senior speech communications major involved with the center, said the opportunity presented itself at a pivotal point in her life and in her education.

Banks is very politically active and saw this as another opportunity to get involved.

“This is just one more way I can make a difference in my community, and ultimately, I hope to make a difference in my world,” Banks said.

Banks is not sure if public deliberation is something that she would like to do as a careeer, but said it has been a life-changing experience and something students should check out.

The Center for Public Deliberation was founded in fall 2006. Carcasson said that it was part of his job description to organize something that gets the community involved with the students.

They work on a series of projects with the community to teach people how to talk to each other, not past each other, Carcasson said.

“We work to improve the quality of community communication,” he said.

The Center has three broad goals that they work to accomplish through all of their community service projects. They hope to teach people how to talk to each other effectively, teach the government how to collaborate with the public to make decisions about important issues and improve civic pedagogy, or the science or profession of teaching.

Carcasson works to find projects in which he, his students and the public are interested.

They work on organizing public meetings and forums to address issues such as health care reform, education and drop out rates.

On November 12, they will be holding a public forum from 6 to 9 in the Lory Student Center to address a range of topics.

These topics include the role of campus newspapers, Colorado health care reform, poverty in Larimer County, alcohol and its impact on the community, town issues, energy problems and peacemaking.

By organizing these meetings and forums, Carcasson and the people he works closely with hope to frame issues in a way that moves away from generalizations and polarizations, as well as helping people realize they do not always need an external government to solve community issues.

“My favorite part is that it’s fun to watch the students work, and it is interesting to see the community reactions,” Carcasson said.

He said having young people run meetings and work with other people is rewarding, and most community members do not expect to see young people dressed up and ready to run a public forum on a Saturday morning.

Staff writer Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com.


What: Center of Public Deliberation info meeting

When: Today, 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Where: LSC room 220

Get involved:

What do you believe should be the primary role(s) of a campus newspaper? Why?

E-mail your answers to coloradostatecpd@gmail.com

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