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Project Title:Wii the People Civic Bowling LeagueInstitution Name:Western Kentucky University Innovation Category:Civic Engagement Project Director:Terry Shoemaker, Program Coordinator, Institute for Citizenship and Social ResponsibilityContact Information:(270) 745-3217 , terry.shoemaker@wku.eduWebsite:http://www.wku.edu/icsr
Project Description:

The ICSR will host the first Wii™ the People Bowling League; using the Nintendo Wii™ bowling game, teams will come together to foster civil discourse, find common ground with others while having fun. 

Each week, teams will be given a contemporary topic to discuss while they bowl. Instead of focusing on the differences that the teams might have, the teams will cooperate to build an agreement list pertaining to the given topic. It is our hope that participants will realize that there is much more common ground between groups than may be perceived. 

Objectives:
  • This program will promote civil discourse between groups that seem polarized.
  • This program will fulfill Putnam’s challenge to use electronic technology to foster civic engagement rather than forestalling it.
  • This program will cultivate discussion on contemporary topics of concern in our democracy.
  • Participants will gain a new perspective as a co-producer of constructive solutions.
Outcomes:
  • Students will be interviewed after the final game concerning how the experience affects their perspectives on engaged citizenry.
  • Twelve teams, including teams from African American studies, Young Democrats, Young Republicans, Baptist Campus Ministry, etc., will discover commonalities in personal narratives and approaches to contemporary topics.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Recruiting and marketing on any campus can be difficult because of the vast array of options that students have competing for their time. For this particular program, convincing certain groups to participate in a program that involved organizations/groups that were seen as diametrically opposed has been a struggle. 
Evaluation Approach:Wii the People bowling will be filmed by a local video production company. Students will be individually interviewed as well as surveyed concerning the league’s logistics and dynamics.
Potential for Replication:It seems that the Wii the People bowling league could be applied at any university or college campus in the United States. WKU’s ICSR will create instruction manuals on creating Wii the People bowling leagues for other interested campuses in the future.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Gary A. Ransdell , Presidentpresident@wku.edu
(270) 745-4346
Date Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011