By Jeff Noble
A roundtable discussion on improving the overall civic health in Kentucky will come to the University of the Cumberlands next Friday.
And so will the prime mover of the initiative, Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Both the university and the Secretary of State’s Office will host the event, which gets underway Friday, March 22, in the Gatliff Chapel on the UC campus in Williamsburg.
The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 9:30 a.m.
“I’m excited to come together with members of the University and the community, including President Jim Taylor and Mayor Roddy Harrison, to explore strategies to increase civic engagement among Kentuckians. These events are forming a great foundation on which we can continue to work together to move Kentucky forward,” Grimes said in an email message Friday.
While on campus, she’ll speak about Kentucky’s first-ever Civic Health Index. That is a report released by her office that examines various aspects of public participation, which includes voter turnout, volunteerism, community and family relationships, political involvement, and group membership, comparing the state’s performance to other states and among demographic groups.
According to her office, Grimes released the Civic Health Index because Kentucky is one of many states that doesn’t have requirements to teach civics in the classroom to students today. Overall, the report showed civic engagement in the state is generally declining.
As a result, Grimes formed the Civic Health Initiative, and the statewide series of roundtable discussions to improve Kentucky’s overall civic health has so far visited seven state universities — Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, both the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University in Lexington, Murray State University in far western Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, and Kentucky State University in Frankfort.
Grimes will discuss the Civic Health Index findings and their implications to the Williamsburg community at the roundtable, as well as go into Kentucky’s civic initiatives and framing the local discussion.