The following article was printed in the ICMA Newsletter, June 6, 2018.
FCCMA organizes a student-only summit developed specifically to engage Florida MPA students.
The ICMA Student Chapter Summit, a new initiative developed by the Florida City/County Management Association (FCCMA) specifically to engage Florida MPA students, took place at FCCMA’s annual conference. The summit—the first of its kind—marked the building of a substantial bridge in the state of Florida between local government leaders and students, current professionals and emerging professionals, and theory and practice. It also solidified FCCMA’s commitment to the next generation of local government leaders.
The event kicked off with a special Q&A session with the conference’s first keynote speaker, Dr. Natalie Stavas, an avid runner and participant-turned-field medic in the 2013 Boston Marathon and bombing. Students were then welcomed to the summit by FCCMA President Michael Cernech and immediate Past President Bobby Green, who explained the goals of the summit and FCCMA’s belief in the importance of participation in the development of students in the state.
Current ICMA Student Chapter members Maylee De Jesus and John Meyer, and past chapter members and current ICMA Local Government Management Fellows Marsha Noel and Ratna Okhai, discussed their experiences and offered advice to students on topics that included reactivating a chapter after the previous leadership graduates, fundraising strategies, navigating the fellowship application process, and making connections at professional events.
The panel was followed by a discussion with the manager of the ICMA Student Chapter Program, Kea’erra Wilson, who discussed current and future chapter initiatives, including the Best Chapter Event Contest, the new student chapter certificate program, ICMA scholarships to affiliate events, and plans for the 2018 ICMA Annual Conference. She also encouraged participation in the ICMA Coaching Program and the student chapter Facebook group.
The summit concluded with a presentation by Zachary Whalen and Stephanie Castro, outgoing president and vice-president of the University of Southern California ICMA Student Chapter, on their annual Local Government Case Challenge, which won the Best Chapter Event Contest in 2017.
The growth of the ICMA Student Chapter Program has created a unique space for state associations to engage with future local government professionals attending colleges and universities in their states. Students, a group that was once very difficult for state associations to tap into, have organized themselves into perfect audiences for emerging issues and leading practices in the field, mentorship from members, and overall state association engagement. Especially active student chapters are in the process of building lasting connections with their state associations. Those associations have not only opened their meetings to students—incorporating student chapter engagement into existing programming—but have also developed completely new initiatives for students.
Other state associations, including the Washington City/County Management Association, the Ohio City/County Management Association, the New York State City/County Management Association, and the North Carolina City & County Management Association, have made major strides to energize their student chapters as well. Engagement initiatives have included academic and conference scholarships, invitations to association meetings, participation at student chapter events, mentorship programs, and job shadowing.
For more information on how your state association can get involved with student chapters or to tell us about innovative work that your state is doing with students at any level, email firstname.lastname@example.org.