The clipboard project

REDUCING BARRIERS TO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

I lead a working group at Chi Hack Night, a weekly civic tech meetup in Chicago, that is building a civic engagement platform. We call ourselves The Clipboard Project after a line in President Obama's Farewell Address (see below). You can visit our GitHub project page here. Our hope that new civic media tools like this can ultimately help us re-think how we conceive of our role as community members and what it means to be an active citizen.

Problem: Despite the desire that many people have to contribute to the (civic) life of their community, they sometimes aren’t sure how.

Solution: We believe civic technology tools can enable people to more easily and more effectively engage with civic life - and help all of us work together to make our democracy vibrant, active, just and truly representative. So we are creating a platform (website/app) to encourage active and informed civic engagement. People will be able to search for civic events using filters, read info on them, and commit to attending. The next phase of the project will add a “civic health tracker” so that people will also be able see their personal calendars, past activity and stats, and set their personal interests and goals.

Inspiration for the name + project: “Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.” -- President Barack Obama Farewell Address, Chicago IL