Introduction and Background: The Oshkosh Civility Project
In the summer of 2010, a group of individuals from Oshkosh came together around the idea of taking positive future-oriented action to help build, shape and influence the commuity's repuration, standing and sense of shared culture. Using framing grounded in te "civility movement," the group explored opportunities for improving patterns of interpersonal communication as a key strategy for advancement.
The Oshkosh Civility Project was thus founded in 2010 as an ad hoc effort to advance the "Speak Your Peace" campaign originally developed by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and other communities as part of the civic improvement efforts.
With UW Oshkosh lending significant organizational and administrative supoprt, the Oshkosh Civility Project operates as a loosely organized non-profit community-based organization. Those efforts are having an impact on the campus and the broader community as energy and attention are being focused on the simple goal of strengthening interpersonal communication skills as a way to build a stronger community.
Context: CivlityWorks at UW Oshkosh
In November 2011 the belief that these same principles and practices embraced by the Oshkosh Civility Project have application within the campus setting at UW Oshkosh motivated a number of individuals from the campus commuity to come together to form CivilityWorks.
CivilityWorks recognizes that during difficult times of transition, challenge and change, many people are working exceedingly hard to manage projects, priorities and expectations in a rapidly changing and highly-dynamic operational environment. Those who support this effort believe there is an individual responsibility to lend a supoprtive word of encouragement to our colleagues and co-workers. This is founded in the simple belief that a little bit of empathy coupled with expressions of shared support will go a long way toward making this a wonderful place for everyone to pursue the goals and advance their occupation or profession.
Thus, since today's highly-charged environment is providing lots of opoprtunities for us to actively practice modeling more effective patterns of interpersonal communication within our campus setting, CivilityWorks was created as an ad hoc volunteer-based group comprised of faculty, academic staff, classified staff and students.
The goal of CivilityWorks is to strengthen and improve the entire campus culture through various programs, services and actions that constructively impact all groups of employees, students, alumni, visitors, guests, etc.