Public to decide topics for Community Connections forums

Elon students will have a chance on Tuesday, Aug. 30, to fill out a ballot for topics to be discussed during the three public forums this academic year. 

Community Connections — a joint effort by Elon University and The Times-News of Burlington — will return for a fourth year this fall, with the public helping to determine the topics of discussion for the series. 

Elon students will have the opportunity to cast ballots for their choice of discussion topics for the series of three public forums on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at College Coffee in Phi Betta Kappa Plaza, the university’s first of the 2016-17 academic year. Those ballots will be combined with those cast online through The Times-News website to help set the focus for Community Connections. 

The 2015-16 Community Connections series focused exclusively on racial division in America which Times-News Editor Madison Taylor said produced “one of our strongest seasons of Community Connections.” This year, the series will return to an earlier format that allows the public to help decide the focus of the forums.  

Community Connections features three forums held during the fall, winter and spring terms at Elon with the goal of fostering community discussion and engagement while also helping introduce Elon to those in the surrounding community who may not be familiar with the university. Naeemah Clark, associate professor of communications, will moderate each of the forums, with the first to be held at 7 p.m on Nov. 15 in McKinnon Hall at the Moseley Center.

The topics to choose from this year are: 

  • Wellness in Alamance County
  • Objectivity in the news
  • The #BlackLivesMatter movement
  • Early childhood education
  • Freedom of expression
  • The future of the Democratic and Republican parties
  • Gun violence in the U.S.
  • The role of government

Organizers of Community Connections along with Taylor are John Dooley, assistance vice president for student life and dean of campus life; Brooke Barnett,  associate provost for inclusive community and professor of communications; Tom Arcaro, professor of sociology; Jason Husser, director of the Elon University Poll; and professor of political science; and Catherine Parsons, program coordinator at Elon.