Amherst, MA Relies on CivicPlus® Solutions to Power Positive Civic Experiences
What Civic Experience Means in Amherst, Massachusetts
“The term civic experience encompasses every citizen-government interaction—positive and negative,” said Brianna Sunryd, Town of Amherst Communications Manager & Community Participation Officer. “It includes everyone who wants to participate on a committee and everyone who needs to pay a ticket. It encompasses everything from the roads citizens drive on to the process of running for election. Our job is to improve each of those experiences.”
In Amherst, a vital component of positive civic experiences is facilitating trusted interactions.
“CivicPlus has helped us improve relationships with our community members and build trust in a number of ways. First and foremost would be our town website. We’re able to keep communications and information current and accessible. Having a trusted place to check information and combat any misinformation that was out there is really important. It was especially important over the course of the pandemic to have a trusted source of information for our community members.”
Civic Experience Use Case: Vaccine Distribution Communications Using the CivicPlus Mass Notification System
To help mitigate language barriers among its international student population and extend the reach of both emergency and routine communications, Amherst relies on the CivicPlus Mass Notification software solution to create positive citizen interactions.
“[The CivicPlus Mass Notification system] was crucial for us during the pandemic,” said Sunryd. “We spun it up quickly in the early days of the vaccine distribution process. Since we needed to communicate who was eligible to be vaccinated based on age and eligibility guidelines. We had many anxious seniors and residents who speak English only as a second language. So we used [the software] to broadly distribute news and alerts and also to allow citizens to sign up for relevant eligibility notifications and receive those messages in their preferred language.”
Looking Ahead to a Future of Digital Interactions and Positive Civic Experiences
In addition to the Town’s continued reliance on CivicPlus' Mass Notification system, Sunryd says that Amherst plans to expand its reliance upon CivicPlus’ 311 and work order management software to improve cross-departmental collaboration and rapid responses to citizen requests and inquiries. She adds that utilizing digital tools that enable accountability and progress visibility will help Amherst improve digital interactions with its citizens.
“We’re relying on our CivicPlus technology to help us communicate the work we’re doing in better ways and help us showcase our key projects and how we’re meeting our goals,” said Sunryd. “The question we’re asking ourselves now is ‘how can we tell our story and share information in a way that is easy for people to access?’”