IAP2 Student Webinar – Reflections From The Panel
Amidst looming end of term papers and finishing corporate quarterly reports students, faculty and practitioners alike took 90 minutes out of their days on March 31st to share experiences and dream about what’s possible for student engagement and IAP2. You can check out the full recording to feel like you were there, or simply read the reflections of two participating panelists below.
Wesley Lucas, Masters Candidate – University of Oregon, Marketing Director for University of Oregon Students for Public Participation (UO SP2)
When I was approached about this webinar, I was excited about the opportunity to talk to other students and emerging professionals in IAP2. As I shared during the conversation, one of the best things about being part of a student chapter is the sense of community, and shared passion for public participation. Hearing from other IAP2 USA and Canada members about their professional development and their reasons for involvement was great, because it helped build a similar sense of community across state and national boundaries.
The main thing I would suggest to other IAP2 student members is to start student chapters if you can – it’s a great experience. The University of Oregon has the first student chapter of IAP2, and with that has come many benefits. We’re a group of graduate and undergraduate students that gets together once a week to work on projects, plan events, and share what’s going on in our lives. The Cascade Chapter of IAP2 has been highly supportive of us, and offers a scholarship and professional networking events. I think the biggest benefit is simply feeling like you’re a part of something – college and grad school can be turbulent times, and UO SP2 has been a sort of safe haven where I could enjoy the company of people with similar ideals and life goals. I know that I have appreciated the opportunities for learning that have come with being a SP2 and IAP2 member, and with the North America conference coming up in September I am eager to see what’s next.
Students interested in finding out more can contact Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne Harding, IAP2 Canada President, participant in IAP2 Canada’s Mentorship Program
This webinar was a great way for like-minded students, faculty, and practitioners to connect and consider how IAP2 can better engage students and vice-versa. I appreciated the opportunity to reflect on my own experience since I discovered IAP2 when I was in the middle of my undergrad just over a decade ago. I found IAP2 as I was looking for the right career path to suit my interests, skills and passion for people, then drew on the organization for training and informal mentorship in the early stages of my career. It was an IAP2 connection (shout-out to Deb Eastlick!) who steered me on the path toward my graduate program and IAP2 events across Canada (and even in Australia) that have offered me the chance to share my research and actually have an impact on the practice through my ideas.
Volunteering with IAP2 to help host events and especially the last five years on the Canadian and Federation boards has without a doubt served me well in my early career development. I’ve connected with an amazing community of like-minded people and received opportunities to try things as a practitioner, citizen, and thinker that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to experience. I hadn’t planned to say it in advance, but as I reflected on this experience with IAP2 through the webinar, I realized that my involvement with this group has given me a leg up in my career, and put me ahead by at least five years for sure. This webinar provided an opportunity for others to share their experiences with the organization and how students can (and should) get involved today, like volunteering with their local chapter, starting an SP2 group at their school, serving as a board member, and participating in the mentorship program. I look forward to seeing the next generation of P2 practitioners engage with our professional association and help shape the community and practice for the future!