Inaugural Indiana Civic Health Index Debuts Wednesday,
 Calling Attention to Efforts to Spur Engagement, Education

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Sept. 12, 2011

Inaugural Indiana Civic Health Index Debuts Wednesday,

Calling Attention to Efforts to Spur Engagement, Education

 A coalition of Hoosier organizations promoting active citizenship and civic education is releasing the first-ever Indiana Civic Health Index and launching an effort to bring new vitality to the state’s civic culture.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, Lee Hamilton, Director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University, joins with Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard to unveil the Indiana Civic Health Index, which they hope will focus energy and investment on increasing citizen engagement and strengthening civic learning in the schools.

“The Index will help us understand the civic habits and attitudes of Hoosiers,” Hamilton said. “Voting, of course, but much more than that: Giving and volunteering; participating in community and religious groups; exchanging favors with neighbors; staying informed on issues and discussing them with family and friends; working through the political process to address public problems.

“This first Index will give us a baseline, a place to start building up,” Hamilton said. “The path to improvement starts with an honest look at where we are.”

The Indiana Civic Health Index is drawn from data in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. The Indiana report, available here on Wednesday, is sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation, Indiana University Northwest, and the Hoosier State Press Association, working in conjunction with the National Conference on Citizenship. NCoC is a non-partisan, congressionally chartered organization that tracks and promotes civic and political participation, supports history and civics education, and encourages community and national service.

Chief Justice Shepard said the Indiana Civic Health Index can help identify the most pressing civic problems and needs, and spur action plans for change. “Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have not been content to be spectators,” said Shepard. “We have joined with neighbors in voluntary associations, religious assemblies, political parties, and a host of other efforts. We have studied current events and participated in debate on matters great and small, from the town hall to the national capital. 

“The Indiana Civic Health Index measures how successfully we are keeping faith with this tradition of engagement,” said Shepard. “We hope the Index will prompt discussion and action on how to get people doing more in the civic arena.”

Shepard and Hamilton will be available for media inquiries on the Indiana Civic Health Index project Wednesday afternoon, and at 4pm at the Indiana State Museum. The program to formally release the Index starts at 5:15pm and will be followed by the screening of a rough-cut version of the film We The People, by Inland Sea Productions. It chronicles America’s history and founding documents, and will be completed in the full screen IMAX version in 2012. At the advance screening, media video and still photography will be limited to the first five minutes of the film.

To schedule an interview with Hamilton and Shepard, contact: IU Center on Congress Outreach Specialist Phil Duncan at (703) 209-2005 or phduncan@indiana.edu; Indiana Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan at (317) 234-4722 or kdolan@courts.state.in.us; Indiana Bar Foundation Director of Civic Education Andrew Homan at (317) 269-7863 or ahoman@inbf.org; or Inland Sea Productions Director of Film Marketing Dave Brown at (734) 740-2492 or dbrown@midstateshistory.org.