Increasing civic engagement is the goal of Northern Arizona University’s American Democracy Project, which will kick off with a discussion led by one of the national program’s founders.

George Mehaffy, vice president for academic leadership for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities will speak at 4 p.m. April 3 in Fremont Room at the du Bois Center on the importance of preparing students and faculty for effective citizenship. A 5 p.m. reception will follow in the Meadows Room.

The association works with colleges and universities in helping implement the American Democracy Project by providing local sites with national support such as sharing ideas, information and platforms for projects that worked elsewhere.

Developed in collaboration with the New York Times in 2003, the project is intended to increase the number of students and faculty who understand and are committed to meaningful civic actions. It also works to focus the attention of policy makers and opinion makers on the civic value of the college experience.

“We’ve had a lot of civic activity going on around this campus for a long time and we are proud of our students,” said Marty Lee, a professor in the School of Forestry and NAU American Democracy Program coordinator. “The democracy project will help us integrate and celebrate what’s going on at NAU to civically engage our students.”

Lee said the university’s American Democracy Program is forming a steering committee to audit current civic engagement, provide developmental opportunities for faculty, develop ways to recognize involved faculty and staff, and is working to develop a website.

“Our project focus for the next year or so will be on stewardship for a public lands,” Lee said. “The project will support including public involvement and decision making in local land policies.”

For information click here.