What’s been going on at WIPPS?

What’s been going on at WIPPS?

As we move full throttle into 2023, WIPPS has begun to adapt to the new normal, which for American society seems to be characterized by constant bickering, mistrust, stress, and zero-sum polarization around even the smallest of issues.

Fortunately, WIPPS has a set of core values that guide our path:

  • Balance
  • Civility
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusivity
  • Non-partisanship
  • Timeliness

For our board of advisors, staff, fellows, and volunteers, these are not just words—they are guiding principles that we fiercely defend. Our commitment to these values allows us to focus on what we do best: bring the resources of the University of Wisconsin System to address public issues through research, innovative best practices, and public education.

It is difficult to find balance in a highly partisan world. All the more why we are committed to organizing the state’s signature annual conference on equity, diversity and inclusion known as Toward One Wisconsin (taking place in Appleton on April 25-26, 2023). At its core, DEI is rooted in the Golden Rule and other basic human values such as love, caring, empathy, fairness, and equality.

At the same time, we recently concluded and released the results of a freedom of expression survey involving students from all thirteen UW universities. The results are leading to meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations at our public universities around freedom of expression and viewpoint diversity. As UW System President Jay Rothman explained about the survey, “We are not afraid of the truth.”

The fact that we are invested in both activities–and many more that cut across the political divide—is evidence that we hold to our values first and foremost. We are excited to see what 2023 brings, and rest assured that we remain committed and motivated to continue to serve the needs of Wisconsin.

Executive Director Eric Giordano

-Executive Director, Eric Giordano

WIPPS Updates

Tenth Veninga Lecture on Religion and Society

WIPPS was proud to welcome Dr. Jennifer Veninga, daughter of the late Dr. Jim Veninga, WIPPS founder and for whom this lecture series is named.
The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Veninga, daughter of the late Dr. Jim Veninga, spoke on “Citizen as Witness: A Theology of Grief and Solidarity for a Wounded World.” Drawing on research for her current book project and her recent experience as a hospital chaplain, she discussed how we are called to bear witness to the historical and present collective trauma and suffering of others.

New Neighbors Series

In 2022, Central Wisconsin welcomed more than 175 refugees from countries like Afghanistan, Congo, Syria and Burundi. In addition, an unknown number of immigrants arrived here seeking asylum from places such as Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The New Neighbors Series examined the histories and political situations in the homelands of our new neighbors. The events featured their journeys to our area and also what our communities can do to ease their transitions. This series was a collaboration between the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, Wisconsin Humanities, Ethiopian Community Development Council, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Toward One Wisconsin 2023

Toward One Wisconsin 2023. A conference on diversity, equity, and inclusion. April 25th-26th 2024. Hilton Appleton Paper Valley Hotel. Visit at T1W.orgWe are so excited for the next Toward One Wisconsin Conference, taking place April 25 – 26 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Held at the Hilton Appleton Paper Valley Hotel, the two-day event brings together a variety of sectors, including private business, non-profit, government, health and education, to prioritize the work of diversity, equity and inclusion and to empower and employ the full talent of all who live here in Wisconsin.

T1W 2023 features two keynote speakers, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, organizer, spiritual leader and Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ, and Wajahat Ali, columnist, writer and public speaker. Additionally, attendees will learn best practices and success stories from the over 50 presentations within the four conference tracks (Workforce, Community, Education and Health). Click here to view the conference schedule. 

To register and take advantage of early bird pricing, visit: t1w.org.

The Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network (H2N)

The Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network (H2N) collaborates with public health organizations, health systems, resource agencies, and community organizations to provide Hmong and Hispanic communities with resources and tools to better withstand the COVID-19 pandemic

H2N currently collaborates with over 20 organizations and has 23 people on staff. Over the last year H2N has held 48 events at which over 1,700 vaccinations were given.

H2N Announces New Health Navigator Position

H2N Health Navigators help Wisconsin residents secure health insurance coverage, seek timely care, and navigate the healthcare system with a focus on at risk communities. The team reaches Hispanic, Hmong and other marginalized populations in Marathon and neighboring counties to connect them to health care and health insurance access.

Navigators are certified through Covering Wisconsin, is a non-profit that connects Wisconsin residents with health insurance and other programs that support health. Health Navigators communicate complex policy using easy to understand language and collaborate with stakeholders to promote health insurance coverage and ensure that all residents have access to enrollment assistance.

WIPPS Launches Rural Resiliency Network (R2N)

The Rural Resiliency Network (R2N) was created to improve understanding of health information and access to healthcare throughout rural Central Wisconsin. R2N collaborates with public health organizations, resource agencies, and community organizations. Additionally, R2N representatives collect feedback and questions from community members to help understand and address their health concerns.

Young Adult Civic Engagement Award applications are open

We’re excited that applications are now open for the Young Adult Civic Engagement Award.

One $500, non-renewable scholarship will be awarded to a young person who demonstrates leadership abilities including initiative, integrity and service to others. The application deadline is March 27, 2023. Apply online by clicking here.

WIPPS Research Partners

The 2022 Building Better Connections with Families Project

The 2022 Building Better Connections with Families Project used facilitated small group discussions to gather feedback and insights directly from parents that can be used to create better partnerships between schools and parents and to improve the learning environment for students. The intent of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of focus groups as a tool or method for fostering parent engagement and well as to solicit parent feedback on the current state of engagement with schools.

The Lincoln and Marathon County Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Welcomeness Survey

WIPPS Research Partners recently released a report from a 2022 survey designed to gauge attitudes and perceptions toward diversity, inclusion, and community welcomeness in Lincoln and Marathon Counties.
During May to June, 2022, the survey was mailed to randomly selected households in the area and was also available online. Over 1,500 responses were received.

UW Free Speech Survey

University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman discussed results of the survey on free speech at a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 1, at UW Oshkosh. More than 10,000 students from across the UW System responded to the survey sent out last fall. Rothman was joined by Eric Giordano, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, which oversaw the survey. Rothman released the findings via Twitter, @JayORothman, on Feb. 1.


Metro Ride Transit Development Plan

During 2021-2022, the Marathon County/Wausau Metropolitan Planning Organization contracted with RLS and Associates to conduct a comprehensive community transportation system analysis. The Transit Development Plan included a comprehensive evaluation of current Metro Ride service as well as market conditions for potential expansion. As part of the larger evaluation, RLS and Associated partnered with WIPPS Research Partners to conduct focus groups designed to get stakeholder and community input on their views of the current transit system.

New WIPPS Fellows and Board Member

New WIPPS Staff

Thank you from all of us at WIPPS
Thank you!

For the last 15 years WIPPS has worked to educate and engage residents of Wisconsin, develop future leaders, and help communities meet identified needs. We couldn’t have done this without your help!

If you would like help ensure the future of WIPPS programs, please consider making a donation or singing up for the WIPPS annual membership program.