2019 Quad Cities Big Table season empowers community doers, student leaders

Jack Cullen | February 5th, 2019

Community members are invited to host their own Big Table conversations April 26-27 and take action on issues that matter to them to make the Quad Cities better.

An initiative of the Quad Cities’ Q2030 Regional Action Plan, the 2018 Big Table brought together more than 5,000 people over a 48-hour period and encouraged them to identify issues and produce solutions.

A scene from the 2018 Student Big Table at Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline.

Now that we have the recipe, and we have seen successful outcomes, we want Quad Citizens to connect and take stake in our region’s future.

Unlike last year, no registration is required to participate this spring, and Q2030 will not collect and process feedback from every dialogue. Downloadable resources are available at www.Q2030.org/documents to help interested table hosts guide meetings, and groups launched by the Big Table may update Q2030 via email or social media (@IntheQ2030) as they make progress — big or small.

This is the time for aspiring grassroots community leaders to bring their tables back together or organize new discussion circles. Engaged Quad Citizens also may have the opportunity to contribute to the efforts of the following volunteer-led Q2030 Workgroups:

  • Interstate 74 Gateway Corridor
  • Welcoming & Inclusive
  • Talent Development
  • Mississippi River
  • Community Collaboration
  • Cultural Amenities
  • Neighborhoods
  • Regional Branding
  • Healthy People
  • Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

“The future belongs to those who are willing to take action to improve our region,” said Greg Aguilar, director of Q2030 for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. “Communities that share a common vision are those that will develop and win over the next generation of talent and businesses, and we believe the Quad Cities is on this path.”

Those interested in joining a Q2030 Workgroup may contact Q2030 Project Manager Jack Cullen via email.

Student Big Table

The Q2030 Community Collaboration Workgroup and Chamber staff are organizing the Student Big Table to build stronger leadership skills in young adults, a need identified in the Big Table survey results released in July.

Sixty students from these 15 area public and private high schools are slated to participate Feb. 28 at Deere & Company World Headquarters: North Scott, Alleman, Assumption, Bettendorf, Davenport Central, Moline, Davenport North, Orion, Pleasant Valley, Mid City, Sherrard, Rivermont Collegiate, Rock Island, United Township and Davenport West.

School superintendents, principals and other administrators selected a diverse group of budding student leaders to rally around the following three causes to make the Quad Cities the ideal place:

  • Safety, Security, Support 4 All Students
  • #reduce #reuse #recycle #CleanerQC
  • Opportunities for Alternative Interests

More than 300 students created these and 34 other slogans as causes that were important to them during a Big Table forum last year at Deere.

Q2030 Champion Mara Sovey Downing has played an instrumental role in coordinating the Student Big Table. She is vice president of brand management and corporate communications at Deere and president of the John Deere Foundation.

“We believe the Big Table is going to be transformative for the region,” Downing said after last year’s event. “You know, when you think about it, the students are really the ones with the big ideas of what it’s going to take to have a cool, creative and prosperous economy.”

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