EDITOR: Aurora should be commended for the successful launch of its Citizen’s Academy. The program, initiated by Councilwoman Angela Lawson, provides Aurorans a working knowledge of city government, opportunities to engage with city leaders and pathways to get involved in local affairs.
The five-week program was outstanding. It provides an excellent model for municipalities seeking to increase civic engagement. During each session, everyday people from all walks of life listened respectfully, asked good questions and shared their opinions with city leaders and fellow attendees. City officials were prepared, responsive and committed to a rich exchange of ideas.
Looking ahead, communities here and around the world will face increasingly complex challenges. Finding innovative and sustainable solutions to our problems will depend on increased civic participation and better community conversations. The Aurora Citizens Academy is planting seeds for better discourse and a hopeful future.
— John Poynton is a graduate research associate at CSU and board member of the International Association for Public Participation