‘It’s still a wonderful life’ says Warner

top-story-warnerThe good news according to UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Lora Warner, is that research supports that Brown County is still highly valued for its quality of life.

Warner (above with her students) presented to a near-capacity crowd at UW-Green Bay’s After Thoughts event, Tuesday, March 3.

The director of UW-Green Bay’s Center for Public Affairs has a front-row seat to all the community has to offer after leading a number of community-wide quality of life studies, including serving as principal investigator for the Fox River Region Leading Indicators for Excellence, or LIFE Studies, the first large-scale, two-year effort that concluded in 2011.

The Life Study included multiple surveys and focus groups, combined with an analysis of census, health, education and other data. The report date was finite, but work to protect all that we hold valuable in the community continues, Warner said.

This wide-ranging study of the quality of life in Northeastern Wisconsin looked at 10 key areas of quality of life (arts, community, health, vulnerable groups, education, environment, leisure, safety, self-sufficiency and economy) in Brown County, the Fox Cities and Oshkosh.

Research supports tremendous satisfaction from both community leaders and community members.

The community is not without its challenges, however. On the top of the ”challenge” list:

  • Achievement gap
  • Water quality
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Health
  • Community life and diversity issues
  • Access to higher education

For instance, 66 percent of Green Bay Area Public School children are considered economically disadvantaged, and despite efforts for years, there are still huge gaps in their educational achievement.

Warner has continued to explore these issues with the Center for Public Affairs, which connects students and faculty with the community through research, internships, service projects and various courses. Students take on high-impact experiences while the community benefits from the expertise of student and faculty, resulting in more engaged citizens and better community strategies for enhancing quality of life.

Warner said that educating oneself and getting involved are keys to strengthening our local community and protecting our current quality of life. Warner points to student-initiated activities such as UWGB’s Steps to Make a Difference Walk and the partnership with the “Learning by Giving Foundation” by which her students receive a $10,000 grant to research, solicit nominations and eventually award to other non-profit organizations — as novel ways to advance the next generation’s understanding of philanthropy and improve the lives of others.

Warner’s “After Thought”… “YOU have a role in our quality of Life. Do something.”

About After Thoughts:
After Thoughts connects women in the community with UW-Green Bay. The gatherings showcase University faculty, staff and guests after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions are so named because they provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave.

The final After Thoughts presentation will be April 7, with presenter Kristy Aoki, UWGB’s International Student Adviser, who will speak on the value, challenges and joys of international education.

Each After Thoughts takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center. The events begin with time to network, mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the featured guest speaker begins.

The cost of each program is $14. To reserve your spot, send a check (payable to “UW-Green Bay Foundation”) to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311; or register online. Walk-up registration also is an option. Call (920) 465-2074 for more information.

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Photos by Eric Miller, Marketing and University Communications