SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Some college students are trying to make a big change in the Beehive State.
As part of a year long Honors Think Tank at the University of Utah, ten students developed the Utah Transparency Project. They believe if it's implemented it will shine a positive light on local governments. And that light is going across the state. In fact, team member Theresa Krause says they sent their plan to "273 cities and counties in Utah."
Fellow student Tanner Gould says, "We believe that through simple and easy and cost effective ways our governments can vastly improve their transparency policies." The students came up with five point plan of openness, communication and public access. And they believe every local government could adopt the plan. Fellow student Tanner Gould says, "We believe that through simple and easy and cost effective ways, our governments can vastly improve their transparency policies."
The students at the transparency project kick off event at the Hinckley Institute in Salt Lake also cited research that says doing these types of things leads to more public trust and more public input. Alex Boren says, "When citizens are not informed, they cannot be effectively engaged. "
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has seen the project - and believes every agency could follow it. "It is something that can be easily adopted. I think governments - regardless of how big they are, how small they are. What their resources are."
And he adds, far too many local government agencies fall short when it comes to transparency. He thinks when they receive the student's project - they should consider it.
"I think for some of us in government we strive to open up what we do and engage the community as much as possible. For others it takes the pressure of the media," Mayor Becker says, "That is not right. We should be able to know what is going on. We should able to have input into decisions."
To see more of the Transparency Project visit: http://www.utahtransparencyproject.org/