After the success of last year’s Citizens’ Institute program in which over 40 organizations were represented, the Township of Livingston invites residents to continue community dialogue about local issues and priorities in the 2012 Institute. All Livingston organizations, houses of worship and committees are invited to nominate one of their members to participate in the Institute.

Nominees should be Livingston residents who enjoy discussing issues, meeting new people, and hearing different perspectives. Residents are invited to nominate themselves or people they think meet the criteria for participation. The Citizens’ Institute exists to further the vision of Livingston as a community where conversations and dialogue take place across political and cultural lines, where difference perspectives are respectfully considered, where residents have the information and skills for making informed judgments about issues that affect our town, and where all residents feel motivated and enabled to be engaged in the affairs of the community.

“Fostering this kind of non-partisan, community-building dialogue is a hallmark of progressive communities,” commented Township Manager Michele E. Meade, who is the co-chairperson for the Institute. “We hope that many Livingston organizations will want to be represented in this civic dialogue, and will choose to submit a nomination.”

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Institute sessions will be held on three evenings: March 14, March 28, and April 18 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the Senior/Community Center on Hillside Avenue. Community members will have the opportunity to discuss questions such as “What makes a great community?” “What municipal services support a great community? and “How can we empower ourselves and others to build and sustain a great community?”

New elective sessions will be offered this year and will be open to the entire community, including alums from last year’s Institute. “This will be a unique opportunity for residents from all segments of the community to have quality conversations with each other about what matters most for our community, now and in the future,” said Arlene Johnson, co-chairperson of the Institute. “The Institute experience will not only have an impact on the direction of our town, but also will be a fascinating experience for anyone who enjoys discussion and learning.”

The Citizens’ Institute Governing Board is working with Meade and Johnson in developing this three-session series.  The Governing Board consists of Christopher Bickel, Heidi Cislo, Nancy Dinar, Helen Flores, Lori Goodian, Walter Joyce, Alan Karpas, Barbara Levadi, Sangeetha Nayak, Komal Pajabi, Susan Ridley, Xiaole Shen, and Cindy Wang.  

Nominations should be sent by February 15 to Lorri Patino, Livingston Municipal Building, 357 S. Livingston Avenue or emailed to: lpatino@livingstonnj.org. Nominations should include two to three sentences about why the person is being nominated. Up to eighty participants will be selected from all components of Livingston’s population, based on nominations and applications. If you have any questions about the program or your nomination, please contact Arlene Johnson 973-994-2314, or Walter Joyce 973-992-8317. Or visit the Institute website at www.livingstoncitizensinstitute.org for more details.