Do your friends and fellow students know what "planning" is? If not, then the time is right to tell your planning story. Celebrate National Community Planning Month this October by reaching out to non-planners, whether they're your fellow students on campus, members of your community, or businesses in your town. Educate them about the importance of our profession and why you are passionate about this field.
National Community Planning Month Activities
Organize a planning career fair
Help encourage future planners by organizing a career fair with planning jobs front and center at your school. Invite government agencies and planning firms to set up booths. Spread the word around campus, and reach out to fellow students in public policy, architecture, landscape, civil engineering, and other departments.
Organize a volunteer event
Organize a Box City event at a local school or youth club. This wonderful hands-on tool will empower others to learn about issues that relate to their built environment and show how planning can achieve long-term visions and create livable spaces. The Center for Understanding the Built Environment (CUBE) specializes in this kind of community-based education.
Share your success
Send brief descriptions of activities you are planning for the National Community Planning Month to email@example.com. Seeing what other students are doing around the country can stimulate additional public agencies, organizations, firms, and individuals to get involved.
APA scholarships are awarded to students currently enrolled in degree programs in planning or closely related fields.
Students are active in chapters, participate in APA governance through the Student Representatives Council, and meet and exchange ideas on campuses through Planning Student Organizations.
This month, celebrate National Community Planning Month with:
Show parents and your colleagues in other disciplines the power and importance of planning on and around campus or in your own neighborhood. Describe how planning made these places great and how future planning efforts can have a positive impact on distressed neighborhoods around your campus.
Ask your college dean and university president to sponsor a symposium or lecture series about planning efforts that are directly affecting your campus or community. Ask local APA experts to speak at the event.
Ask non-planning students about their favorite streets and neighborhoods on and around campus. Tell the planning story of these places and how they relate to students' daily life. For example, show your fellow students the benefits of taking transit to classes. Point out that the picnic areas and other green spaces that students enjoy are the result of hard-fought battles against encroaching development.
Contact your local jurisdiction about plans that are in the works, or those published, and see if they can organize an exhibition of their current programs on your campus. They may be thrilled to have this opportunity to reach out to students and the academic world.
A community service project
Organize a community service group in your planning school, and come up with local projects or events that will help your community. Ask your professors and see if you can blend this into your class projects. Ask local planners and businesses for assistance — you may be surprised by how much help you can get.
A local planning project
Attend a meeting of the local planning commission or city council. Encourage fellow students to attend with you to learn about the planning process. Volunteer to help local planning staff on a project, and ask your professor if the work can count towards a class assignment. Remember, planning is practical, and academic training can be tested in real world projects when you are a student. Also, ask your local APA chapter if you can be helpful in planning-related activities.
Use your video camera to capture life on your campus or in your community and show the challenges of growth and change. Then, upload your short documentary onto YouTube and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be showcased by APA.