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Building Community in a "Connected Age"


Published May 9, 2008 at 1:58 p.m.

Governor Douglas has pledged to extend broadband and cell phone coverage to the entire state of Vermont by the year 2010.

That's a pretty ambitious goal. Who knows if we'll actually make it.

But let's say we do. What would a "connected" state look like? How will civic and community life change as more and more information goes online — and all Vermonters have the ability to access it quickly and easily?

Those are questions on the table at a day-long symposium on Thursday, May 29 — the official title is "Fulfilling Vermont's e-State Potential: Building Community in a 'Connected Age.'" The event is sponsored by the Snelling Center, and it's happening at Champlain College in Burlington.

I'm on the symposium organizing committee, and I'm pretty excited about it. If you have opinions or input or questions about the way Vermonters should use the internet, you should come. It's open to the public — admission is $45, which includes lunch and snacks. There are some scholarships for students.

The agenda for the day includes discussions and small group sessions. In the morning, we'll hear from keynote speaker Lewis Feldstein, author (with Robert Putnam) of Better Together: Restoring The American Community. Here's an intriguing little snippet from his bio on the Better Together website:

Feldstein worked with the civil rights movement in Mississippi and served for seven years in senior staff positions to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay... He is a graduate of Brown University and holds a Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University. Among his singular achievements were seven-year tenure as the MC of the International Zucchini     Festival, and a stint as wine steward and personal assistant to John Wayne on his yacht in the Mediterranean.    

I'm totally asking about John Wayne during the Q&A.

Click here to register. You've gotta sign up by May 23. If you can't make it, you can follow along as Candleblogger Bill Simmon and I live-blog it.