e-Citizenship initiative at FHSU encourages using social networks for civic engagement

Fort Hays State University and almost 40 other state colleges and universities were recently selected out of more than 130 institutions to participate in a three-year online social networking experiment called "e-Citizenship."
"The participating institutions will work together to study the relationship between social networks and civic agency," said the invitation from the American Democracy Project (ADP) of the American Association of Sate Colleges and Universities (AASCU).

"Our goal is to provide insights into and strategies for engagement with social networks and technology tools that can be used to prepare undergraduates for lives of engagement and participation," said the invitation.

"FHSU has proven time and again that we prepare world-ready students, and the e-Citizenship initiative gives us another way to spread the message of civic engagement," said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, associate professor of political science at FHSU.
"All over campus, you can see students, faculty and staff using online social networking to teach, maintain contact with friends and family and organize," he said.

Each participating institution will be asked to create teams which will supervise the related activities on campus. At least one person from each team will be asked to attend the organizational meeting on Nov. 12 and 13 at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

By participating, the students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to participate in a nation-wide research project. They will have the chance to meet with students from other institutions, create presentations and publications, engage in research and civic action and "develop a sense of civic agency and empowerment," said Rackaway.

"We're going to be doing any number of things. The nuts and bolts are being worked on."

FHSU's Center for Civic Leadership will provide the necessary equipment for the investigation of how technology can encourage citizens to study the elements needed for democracy.

For more information on ADP and e-Citizenship, call Rackaway at (785) 628-5391 or e-mail crackawa@fhsu.edu.

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