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Panel discussion to focus on community

Submitted by Carla Browning
Phone: (907) 474-7778


The University of Alaska Fairbanks Northern Leadership Center is hosting a panel discussion at the UAF Wood Center Monday, March 3 at 7 p.m. upstairs in Wood Center Conference Rooms C and D.

The presentation, "Making Our Community Better: Building Social Capital," will feature community and university leaders will discuss what social capital is and how to build it.

Panelists include: Edda Cantor, director of Leadership New Hampshire and consultant to the City of Fairbanks Leadership Fairbanks Project; Sue Hull, active member of the Fairbanks Chamber and longtime member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board; Taber Rehbaum, director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Mike Powers, CEO, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital; Mary Ehrlander, co-director of Northern Studies and faculty teaching civic engagement and leadership at UAF; and Gary Kofinas, director of UAF's Resilience and Adaptation program. Susan Herman, director Northern Leadership Center, will facilitate the discussion.

What is social capital?
Social capital is basically the bonds that tie a community together. Healthy communities are safer, have better schools, and healthier citizens who are willing to invest in their communities, vote in local and general elections, volunteer in the community's non-profit sector, and care for one another. Communities with stronger bonds have higher educational achievement because all citizens understand the importance of education the community's children; faster economic growth, less criminal behavior, and attracting new residents with needed skills. In communities with significant social capital, it is easier to energize people to deal with community problems like drunk drivers or lack of child and eldercare facilities; and take advantage of opportunities that will benefit everyone such as building a bio-fuel energy source. Building social capital is critical to building and maintaining the quality of life for all our citizens.

Robert Putnam and Lew Feldstein address the topic further in the book "Restoring the American Community."

CONTACT: Sheri Layral at 907-474-5942, Susan Herman, 907-474-1939 for more information.

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