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NDSU Awarded Funds to Develop Statewide Social Indicators Website

Fargo, N.D. – NDSU and Wilder Research of St. Paul, Minn., are teaming up to develop North Dakota Compass, a website that will provide users with reliable, objective and uniform social indicators useful in identifying issues that affect North Dakota.

"A basic vision of North Dakota Compass is to promote civic engagement," said Richard Rathge, who is heading the project for NDSU and is a professor in the Departments of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and Sociology and Anthropology. “Thus, residents are encouraged to become an active part of this exciting new venture.”

Rathge urged interested persons to visit the advance website at and volunteer to serve on a committee or nominate someone to serve. He asked people to participate in the online polls to indicate which issues should be priorities and offer opinions about the new website.

When the North Dakota Compass website is fully operational, data across a spectrum of issues, such as the economy, aging, youth, health and housing, will be available. In addition, the website will serve as a repository for localized data and research. The North Dakota Compass project is modeled after a similar project in Minnesota that was developed by Wilder Research.

The rollout of North Dakota Compass will occur in three phases. Through March, committees were created to guide the development of the website. By the end of April, committee members will have identified social indicators that will be used in the site. Soon after, the site will go live with theme areas being added in a staged process as they are finalized. Efforts then will be dedicated to working with communities to incorporate locally relevant information. Initial funding for the project came through grants from the Bush Foundation, Otto Bremer Foundation and Dakota Medical Foundation.

"North Dakota communities are facing several challenges and opportunities created by an aging citizenry, out-migration of young people, the oil boom and other similar issues," said Elli Haerter, North and South Dakota manager of activities for the Bush Foundation. "As North Dakotans contemplate how to ensure their future vitality, they recognize the importance of access to accurate and meaningful data. As a result of the NDSU and Wilder partnership, citizens will be able to confidently craft bold and sustainable solutions to their tough problems."

NDSU is a student focused, land-grant, research university – an economic engine that educates students, conducts primary research, creates new knowledge and advances technology.

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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
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