Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar 


University of Charleston, Geary Student Union 
2300 Maccorkle Ave SE
Charleston, WV 25304

Driving Directions 


Sutton Stokes 
West Virginia Center for Civic Life 

Civic Life Institute 2016

Why should I attend?   

Because we have to find more ways to talk to each other.

Even when we disagree.

Especially when we disagree.

Otherwise, how will we ever get anything done?

Effective ways of talking and working together on issues that affect the quality of life in West Virginia--that’s what the Civic Life Institute is all about.

During fourteen hours over two days, our stimulating learning environment will provide you with opportunities to learn from communities in this state who are “doing community well.”

You’ll also get to try your hand at (or gain additional practice with) the proven convening and discussion techniques that are helping those communities move forward.

Afterward, you'll head home with new relationships and new ideas to try in your community, no matter what issues you want to work on.

What will I learn?

You’ll explore effective practices for:

  • Bringing people together to talk about tough issues
  • Keeping those conversations productive
  • Moving from talk to effective action (not just generating “community wish lists”)
You’ll also have the chance to:
  • Try (or practice) various essential roles for running effective community forums (convening, facilitating, recording)
  • Learn about other West Virginia dialogue initiatives that could help your community build conversations around specific tough issues (see more information below)
  • Connect with others who are building these practices in their own communities

Together, we’ll explore some of West Virginia’s current dialogue-to-action initiatives, including:

  • What’s Next, WV?

Since 2014, What’s Next, WV?—a nonpartisan, statewide initiative designed to (1) support community-based conversations and (2) help communities move from dialogue to action planning—has helped more than two dozen West Virginia communities formulate their own ideas for building stronger local economies. Come to the Institute to learn from communities that have already seen success through this initiative. Maybe your community will be the next What’s Next, WV community!

  • Other West Virginia dialogue initiatives

The WV Center for Civic Life has worked with partners from around the state to develop other dialogue initiatives on a range of issues facing West Virginia, including access to healthy food, prescription drug abuse, and building safe neighborhoods. "A conversation" (more likely--MANY conversations) is at the heart of these initiatives, but they involve so much more. At the Institute, you’ll learn more about these initiatives so you can see if your community could benefit from talking and working together on one of these issues.

Sounds good.  How can I register?

You can register by hitting the little blue button at the bottom of this page. But please take a moment to read about the different levels of registration costs first.

Registration Cost Information

As you can imagine, putting on an event like this one is resource intensive.

Fourteen hours in a stimulating learning environment, full of hands-on practice and productive conversations with dozens of people from all over the state, in a comfortable setting, with lunches and snacks--it takes some doing! (Not to mention producing the binder you’ll take home as a valuable reference, full of tools, further reading, and great ideas to try in your community.)

We are pleased to offer the following pricing levels:

Civic Life Champions ($149)

Civic Life Champions support the Center in raising up the power of community conversation by registering at this level, which “breaks even” (i.e., covers one participant’s share of costs for materials, room rental, food, and staff time for both advance preparation and presenting/facilitating at the event). This year more than ever, West Virginia needs its Civic Life Champions!

Civic Life Defenders ($129)

Civic Life Defenders take a stand in support of democratic practices and civility in our communities by registering at this level, which covers about 85 percent of each participant’s costs (everything except staff’s advance preparation time). Help us develop stronger civic life statewide by registering at this level!

Civic Life Promoters ($95)

Civic Life Promoters know how important community conversation is and want to do everything they can to help promote these ideas in their communities and across the state. To make the Civic Life Institute available to more West Virginians, we offer this registration level, which covers about 65 percent of each participant's costs.

Ready? The little blue button awaits.


If you can't attend, and/or if you want to help us make sure that as many voices are in the room as possible, please consider a tax-deductible donation to help someone else attend.

A full scholarship would be $149, but any little bit helps. Thank you for considering it!