The Village of Waunakee has launched a survey in hopes of gauging residents’ perceptions of equity and inclusion. The survey is intended to help village government listen and learn about matters of equity and inclusion in the village and to help establish some baseline information from which to measure improvement over time.

The polling service, Polco, which is affiliated with the National Research Center, has a system allowing organizations to launch surveys of topics to their choosing as benchmark surveys, said Todd Schmidt, village administrator.

Schmidt said the recent survey on COVID-19 was also a benchmark survey. Just released this week was a community equity and inclusion survey communities can choose to use.

Schmidt added that the company has the expertise to design and construct the survey, along with the technology to run it and coordinate its results.

Schmidt had emailed his contact at Polco to see if a survey on race and equity would be considered as a benchmark survey and learned that it would soon be released.

“When I heard that, I was certain I wanted to use that to help us understand a baseline,” he said.

With an analyses of the thoughts, attitudes and feelings of Waunakee citizens now, village officials can measure progress as it works on these issues, he said. Identical surveys will likely be repeated.

Last week, village board members also hosted a public hearing on equity and inclusion. Schmidt said the survey is meant to inform village officials.

“Which is also, I guess, a component of being good listeners,” he said.

He hopes village officials work to “absorb and understand some of what we might learn from the survey,” he said.

It may lead to further levels of research or convening special groups.

“It will start to be clearer what we need to do. It really is intended to inform our decision making and assist our learning process,” he said.

The survey was launched early last week, and as of Friday, already 264 people had responded.

The survey can be found at https://polco.us/n/res/vote/waunakee-wi/village-of-waunakee-equity.

A version in Spanish is also offered. The survey will continue through the end of July.

Answers will kept confidential. It does provide an option to register on Polco, but those who take the survey can opt not to.

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