Advancing Sustainability by Fostering Civic Engagement
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Sustainability is a fairly understandable concept when dealing with concrete examples. Buildings and urban planning can reach sustainable standards by conserving energy, efficiently handling waste or encouraging residents to utilize smaller carbon footprints. But how does sustainability pertain to communication? At the most basic level, if a community doesn’t communicate, its sustainability is threatened. The City of Salem, like many governmental organizations, seeks better communication with its residents. City leaders met with a graduate-level Journalism class in the University of Oregon’s Strategic Communication program to discuss how to foster more civic engagement between city staff and residents in order to foster a more sustainable community. Specifically, city leaders want to ensure they engage in two-way communication with the broadest audience possible and directed the Strategic Communication class to help achieve that goal. The city also specifically requested that any plans include the use of technology, possibly including podcasts, webinars, and the city’s website.