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Students are required to attend (live or virtually) two local government meetings outside of class the course of the semester. (See attached sheet for information on meeting times in the local area.)  While students are encouraged to observe government meetings live where possible, due to the constraints of Covid-19 observing government meetings from live streams is an acceptable substitute.  NOTE: Meetings observed for this assignment

should be CURRENT, live meetings if possible, rather than old, pre-recorded meetings

from previous months or years. Students should take notes on what they observe, the content of the meeting, and the participation by outside groups (if any).   If it is possible to SAFELY attend a meeting in person, I highly recommend this experience—only if you are comfortable and it is safe.

You are able to attend/view any local or county board, commission, or council meeting.  These meetings should be a GOVERNMENT meeting.  You will find with a quick look at the website for any city, town, or county that there are many different commissions or boards that help support governance.  Most of these are staffed by appointed volunteers from the community.  Most communities have a webform or an application with the seat of government if you are interested in serving.  These range from the elected government in charge of legislative decisions (i.e., the city council or county commission) to appointed boards such as the County ABC Board, police department oversight boards, parks and recreation boards, zoning and planning commissions, etc.)  You can choose any three meetings to attend.  I have listed on the back of the syllabus a set of meetings available in the UNCP service region, but you are welcome to attend a meeting from anywhere.  If you are unsure of your meeting, please contact me.

Prompt for Paper #1


describe what you observed during the meeting. Your paper should provide a basic, detailed summary of the government meeting.  You should provide a discussion of

1) the agenda of the meeting,

2) observations about how the various board/commission/committee members worked and interacted with each other,

3) any participation by outside groups,

4) general observations about the meeting (audience, public comments, things you found surprising),

5) any strength or positive aspect of the local government meeting or the way local government operates (based on your observations), and

6) areas for improvement for the meeting.


make an effort to analyze the reading by utilizing examples found in the meeting you have observed.

Choose ONE concept from the chapters you have read so far

(i.e., did the meeting discuss revenues or expenditures?  If so, pick ONE concept or key term from chapter 4. Or was there discussion of what people in the community think? Then look into the discussion of public opinion in chapter 5)

. This paper should include some effort to connect the reading (including citations) over the course of the semester to the observations made in the second paper.  Be sure to use the book to fully define the concept and provide an effort to directly explain how the meeting element (i.e. action or topic) connected to that concept.

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