Taking Civic Action Planning Beyond the Campus: Weber State and Ogden City

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Brenda Kowalewski

Associate Provost: High Impact Programs & Faculty
Weber State University

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Bill Cook

Executive Director
Ogden City Council

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Chris Dallin

Director of PR, Marketing and Business Development
Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital

Weber State University in Ogden, Utah is taking a bold approach to community partnership in their Civic Action Plan. Brenda Kowalewski, Associate Provost: High Impact Programs & Faculty at Weber State University explains, “When we were tasked with writing a Civic Action Plan, it just made sense to us to take a look at that process as a joint process; as a process that we would not embark upon alone. We would want to do that with our community partners.” In June of 2016, Ogden City became the first and only municipality to endorse our 30th Anniversary Action Statement.

Weber State’s drive to involve their community in this process developed into the Ogden Civic Action Alliance, which came to include six anchor institutions: Weber State University, Ogden-Weber Technical College, the City of Ogden, Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital, Ogden Regional Medical Center, and the Ogden School District. Weber State is dedicated to collaboratively creating the priorities of this initiative with the community it is aiming to serve. Kowalski explained, “We’re going to define [our priorities] together. It isn’t the role of the university to define what these priorities should be. We have to discover them together as anchors in this community, and we have to discover them with the residents of the East Central Ogden neighborhood.” Bill Cook, Executive Director of Ogden’s City Council, echoed the very place-based spirit of the work they are undertaking, “We very much see this as doing this with the community, as opposed to doing this to the community”.

The Ogden Civic Action Alliance increases the ability of these anchor institutions to respond to the needs of Ogden City. Chris Dallin of Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital explained that this collective approach to Civic Action Planning, “has taken and enlarged our pallet to solve problems in the community. In the past we only had about half of those tools, but now with many of these experts within the community we’ve added to the pallet because we’re working together.” Through the Ogden City Action Alliance, stakeholders have identified three key issues areas to focus on: housing, education, and health. With this collaborative approach, the Ogden City Action Alliance hopes to leverage resources from everyone involved to create substantial impact for the residents of Ogden City.

Listen to the entire interview with Brenda Kowalewski (Weber State), Bill Cook (City of Ogden), and Chris Dallin (McKay-Dee Hospital) here:
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