Civic Health Webinar hosted by Connecting Young Nebraskans

We would like to thank everyone who attended the 2015 Civic Health webinar. If you were unable to attend, but are interested in learning more about this project, we invite you to enjoy a recording of the webinar.

Did you know that the youngest Nebraskans are consistently participating the least when it comes to civic engagement? The first-ever Civic Health Index for Nebraska shows that Millennials are the least likely of any age group to do things like volunteer, register to vote, show up to the polls, or contact public officials. However, the new report also shows that young Nebraskans have the potential to powerfully strengthen their communities.

To address this issue, Connecting Young Nebraskans is hosting an educational webinar with the Nebraska Civic Health Partnership on Tuesday, August 4th from noon to 1:00 pm. In addition to sharing information about the 2015 Nebraska Civic Health Index, the webinar will be a place to discuss practices for engaging young people in their communities. The Nebraska Civic Health Partnership is also releasing information about a new Civic Health Ambassador Program, providing an opportunity to connect with community leaders from across the state while improving civic engagement among local leaders.

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Tuesday, August 4
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CST

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Nebraskans for Civic Reform started the Nebraska Civic Health Partnership to bring together non-profits, educational institutions, and foundations dedicated to strengthening civic engagement. The Nebraska Community Foundation, Nebraska Public Policy Center, UNO Service Learning Academy, the UNL Center for Civic Engagement, and the Nebraska State Bar Foundation have gathered to document civic health through the 2015 Civic Health Index, and serve as civic health coaches to improve civic health in the future.

A View from Down Under: Fostering Capable Rural Communities, An Australian Perspective


We would like to thank everyone who attended our presentation of “Fostering Capable Rural Communities” with Dr. Jim Cavaye. If you were unable to attend, but are interested in seeing the view from down under, we invite you to enjoy a recording of today’s webinar here.

With a similar land mass area as the U.S., but only 10% of the population in comparison, Australia is definitely rural. Australia’s rural communities face many of the same challenges as their U.S. counterparts.

This seminar will cover the challenges and opportunities in fostering rural communities, highlighting many of the parallels between the Midwest and Australia. Dr. Cavaye will discuss agricultural viability, the provision of services and maintaining volunteering in communities. He will describe innovative local economic development initiatives, the effects of mining and coal seam gas development, a growing women’s movement as well as other principles of community vitality.

Attend in person or online:

Monday, July 13, 1:00 p.m. CST
University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus Union
Cottonwood Room

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Tuesday, July 14, 10:30 a.m. CST
Live Adobe Connect Presentation

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These events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

The Presenter: Dr. Jim Cavaye, Associate Professor, The University of Queensland, Australia

Dr. Jim Cavaye, Associate Professor, The University of Queensland, Australia

Dr. Cavaye is an accomplished practitioner, educator and researcher in community development with 30 years’ experience working with rural and regional communities. He has assisted over 120 local communities across Australia and internationally with community appraisals, community engagement processes, community planning and economic development strategies.

‘Hope Inspires Vision’ theme of 3rd Rural Futures Conference

“Hope Inspires Vision” is the theme of the third national Rural Futures Conference, scheduled for Oct. 21-23 in multiple Nebraska locations. Registration for the conference, which drew a sold-out crowd of more than 500 when it was last held in 2013, opens today at The conference is hosted by the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.

Attendees will be able to participate in this year’s conference from either the Nebraska Innovation Campus conference center in Lincoln or the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. Registration is $200 for the Lincoln location ($40 for high school and college students) or $100 for the Curtis location ($20 for students).

Conference sessions will encourage attendees to work together to build hope and develop a vision for invigorating rural communities. The conference kicks off on the evening of Oct. 21 with a lecture from Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett, authors of 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, a book about the limited opportunities people have to make a difference in the world. The Buffetts’ lecture, “Finding Hope: Pioneering Your 40 Chances,” is free and open to the public and is jointly sponsored with the Heuermann Lectures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Other keynote speakers at the conference include Clifton Taulbert, a noted author, entrepreneur and businessman who is president and CEO of the Freemount Corp., a human capital development company; and Shane Lopez, author of Making Hope Happen and a leading Gallup researcher on the science of hope. University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds will make opening remarks, “Dream Big With Me,” on the morning of Oct. 22.

“We know that hope matters tremendously to the success of rural communities,” said Chuck Schroeder, founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute. “Active hope, combined with a strong vision for the future, can energize rural people and places and ensure that rural communities are a viable choice for young people to live and work. Our first two conferences in 2012 and 2013 confirmed our thinking that the long-term economic success of rural communities is a critical area for research and engagement – one in which the University of Nebraska is well-positioned to play a leadership role. We’re excited to again bring together stakeholders from Nebraska and beyond to share our best ideas.”

Pre-conference events include the first-ever Rural Opportunities Fair on Oct. 21, an event similar to a career fair in which students will have a chance to explore opportunities to live and work in rural communities across Nebraska and the region. Other sessions throughout the conference will focus on entrepreneurship, broadband development, civic engagement, transdisciplinary education, eco-education, innovation, youth leadership and other topics. Faculty and students also will have the opportunity to present posters on research questions that showcase new knowledge and ideas relevant to the conference theme.

Complete conference details, including a full agenda, registration information, speaker biographies, poster session guidelines and more, are available at Up-to-date information can also be found by following the Rural Futures Institute on Twitter and Facebook and by using #RFC2015 on social media.