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Want to strengthen civic ties in your community? A new toolkit from UNH aims to help

A sign in Dalton advertises the selectboard, planning board and conservation commission
Zoey Knox
As seen at Dalton's 2023 town meeting.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy have long tracked the state’s civic health — looking at how many people vote, volunteer, attend public meetings and engage with their community in other ways.

Now, those researchers want to help local communities take stock of their own civic well-being. They’ve put out a comprehensive guide that people can use to measure and strengthen civic engagement where they live.

"As we look at national polarization happening in politics, and across race and class, sometimes we can feel like this is an unsolvable problem," said Quixada Moore-Vissing, one of the authors. "But if you concentrate on the local level, there’s really a lot of progress that can be made.”

The guide has details on how to do that work from start to finish, including creating surveys and hosting dialogues, engaging diverse voices and acting on the results.

Related coverage: Listen to Moore-Vissing discuss New Hampshire's civic health in this 2021 interview with NHPR's Morning Edition.

Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at
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