By Gina Peebles, Assistant County Manager, Alachua County and Brandon Henry, Community Planner/GIS Analyst, Safety Harbor
As Andy Stanley once said, “try to do for the next generation of leaders what the previous generation of leaders has not done for you.” FCCMA is doing just that through our Student Council, which exposes the next generation of public administration leadership to the trending topics facing Florida’s cities and counties.
The Student Council was formed to educate and stimulate student involvement in Florida local government and allows student chapters to have a voice with FCCMA; communicate statewide issues; exchange ideas; develop management and leadership skills; consider public policy; and gain knowledge and insight on current issues affecting local government.
The Student Council is an investment in the future of public administration. Serving under the purview of FCCMA’s Professional Development Committee, the Council consists of the presidents of all of Florida’s ICMA student chapters, interested city/county managers, and other students interested in the profession. ICMA Student Chapters have previously been established or are currently active at Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg College, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University – and are always looking to expand in other colleges and universities. The Student Council offers a medium for ICMA Student Chapter leadership throughout the state to coordinate their activities and to exchange ideas as it relates to the professional development of students.
However, the primary mission of the Student Council is to serve as the liaison between student, FCCMA, and higher education throughout Florida. The Council works on maintaining this relationship with colleges and universities by distributing FCCMA material and communicating FCCMA benefits to college and university contacts, including, but not limited to monthly webinars; training opportunities; building relationships with FCCMA and ICMA students and full members; reduced membership and registration fees; and applications for FCCMA’s academic-based scholarships (including the B. Harold Farmer Scholarship and the Raymond C. Sittig Scholarship) or Emerging Leaders Scholarships which provides free conference registration. By cultivating and maintaining these relationships, we hope to inspire more students to lead a career of public service within local government.
The Student Council actively looks for ways to tie students into FCCMA events (such as symposiums and institutes) either as attendees or to assist in its preparation, and coordinates with other FCCMA committees. The Council also helps plan student events at our annual FCCMA and ICMA conferences. Most recently, with the effects of COVID-19 cancelling many in-person events and closing campuses, the Student Council hosted FCCMA’s first “virtual” Happy Hour for both students and managers alike to great success.
The Council has also assisted FCCMA in other efforts directly related to student success. For example, FCCMA has recently published its Internship Toolkit with direct support from the Student Council, in order to assist local governments throughout Florida in starting or fine-tuning their internship programs. As you may know, such internships provide a valuable steppingstone for students looking to enter the world of local government. The Toolkit can be accessed by clicking: https://fccma.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Internship-Toolkit-Final-1_8_20.pdf
The Student Council also solicits students to share their Master of Public Administration Capstone Projects with FCCMA members by including their work on our online library. This resource is available to assist others in the field make informed, well-researched, decisions. The Capstone project library can be accessed on FCCMA’s website by clicking: https://fccma.org/white-papersresearch-documents/
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Now that you know about FCCMA’s Student Council, please consider being a mentor, or offering internships or job shadowing opportunities. They can offer you a fresh perspective on a wide variety of issues. For more information, or if you want to join the Student Council, please contact Student Council Chair, Brandon Henry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.