||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
'Circle of Change' Seeks
MAILED: Jan. 5, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- Eau Claire community members are again being sought to lead and participate in local discussion groups regarding diversity in the Chippewa Valley.
For the second year, the University/Community Committee on Diversity is organizing discussion groups as part of its "Circle of Change" program.
"We've decided to continue the discussion groups at the request of leaders and participants in last year's groups," said Mike Huggins, assistant city manager for the city of Eau Claire and co-chair of the committee. "At least one group has continued to meet on its own and members of others said they'd be interested in meeting but want the program to have some structure."
The committee -- made up of UW-Eau Claire faculty, staff and students, city of Eau Claire personnel and community residents - is trying to provide that structure, Huggins said.
The committee hopes to organize 20 groups - each with 10-15 participants and two group facilitators - that will meet for two hours four times in February or March of 1998. Last year, 13 groups met during the winter and spring.
"The idea is to get a mix of people in each of the groups," said Sissy Bouchard, of UW-Eau Claire's housing and residence life program and co-chair of the committee. "We hope to get people from different ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages together in a room to talk about issues they face in the Chippewa Valley."
Group members from last year said they discussed things such as fear, ignorance, lack of contact with racial and ethnic minorities, and the role economics plays in prejudice and racial bigotry. Others talked about ways they could encourage community members to take advantage of opportunities that might lead to greater racial and ethnic harmony in the Chippewa Valley. And still others talked about the need to participate in things that may help ensure that the community in which they live accept all children regardless of ethnic background, race or socioeconomic factors.
Organizers will again arrange for groups to meet at varying times and days, and at locations throughout the city of Eau Claire, making it convenient for participants in terms of location and time.
"The facilitators are there to help ensure that all points of view are heard and considered during each of the sessions," Huggins aid. "The process is intended to make participants aware of others' opinions and ideologies as well as the implications of their own attitudes."
Topics to be discussed will grow from community concerns and will address how one's economic, cultural, gender, religious and racial attitudes affect community values and solidarity, organizers say.
Those interested in learning more about "Circle of Change" or interested in serving as a facilitator or participant, should call (715) 836-3630.
EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: If you are interested in talking with participants from the original groups, please call Sissy Bouchard at (715) 836-3630, and she will assist you.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Jan. 5, 1998