Is there a critical housing shortage in San Mateo County? If so, what should be done about it? A scientific sample of county residents recently participated in a Deliberative Poll® sponsored by Threshold 2008, a coalition of civic groups in the county. The weekend sample of 238 participants considered competing policy options, became more informed about them, questioned competing experts and by the end of the weekend, changed their views. The Deliberative Poll®, conducted as part of a Countywide Assembly on Housing Choices, was hosted by Cañada College on the weekend of March 15-16, 2008.
How might Deliberative Polling® be used on college campuses to engage students, faculty, staff, and/or members of the broader community in discussions of public issues? Could those deliberations contribute to a more informed community, to better democratic processes, and to the strengthening of the work of preparing undergraduates to be informed, engaged citizens?