Introducing a New ELGL Column
ELGL is going back to school. We’ve enlisted the help of Connor Reed, a sophomore at Indiana University. We’ve asked Connor to write about what (if anything) college students think or know about local government.
Connor holds the distinction of being the first undergraduate to join the Local Government Management Association at Indiana University. Connor represents the demographic that local government must connect with in order to stave off an eventual leadership crisis.
For his first article, Connor writes about the series of events that led him to Indiana University and his experience joining the Local Government Management Association.
Exploring Local Government
The first time my parents whisked me off to Chicago, I was overwhelmed with wonder. The idea that man was capable of creating this complex relation of social, architectural and economic phenomena was unbelievable. I stared in amazement at the enormous buildings and marveled at the countless cultures at play in the streets. The feeling and the life of the community was attractive to me. From that point, I knew that I wanted to surround myself with the atmosphere and culture of the city.
Twelve years later, I am a sophomore at Indiana University pursuing a double-major in Business Economics and Public Policy Analysis in the Kelley School of Business with a double-minor in Geography and Urban Planning & Development through the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Public & Environmental Affairs, respectively. I found my academic direction from an interest in economics and politics, as well as a passion for city government and urban planning.
As an underclassman, I am just beginning my studies and exploration of local government and city management. I was introduced to the field by a fluke. While attending an involvement fair at the School of Public & Environmental Affairs, I came to a table promoting the Local Government Management Association (LGMA). After reading some articles about the organization, I thought it sounded right up my alley, pertaining to elements of my majors in policy and economics, as well as my minor in geography. I decided to attend the call-out meeting.
I arrived at the meeting and took my seat. I noticed that the student organization was small. There were no more than 10 students in the room. I also noticed that all of the students looked older than me and, in general, more put-together and more confident. When the introduction to LGMA began, I heard mentioned that the organization was for graduate students. My face turned red with embarrassment in realizing that I had accidentally attended a call-out meeting for graduate students. I sheepishly raised my hand and apologized for my mistake, but was surprised to find that all of the graduate students were very welcoming. I was invited to stay.
Headlining the call-out meeting was SPEA professor Orville Powell, a dynamic speaker and former consultant in the field of local government management. His discussion of local government captured my interest greatly. The opportunity to be a part of the process that orchestrates and drives cities and towns was one I wanted to take full advantage of. The field struck me as accessible, necessary and dynamic. After speaking with the President and Vice-President of LGMA, I committed to the organization as its first ever undergraduate member.
Beyond a doubt, my membership in the Local Government Management Association is one of the things that excites me most about returning to IU as a sophomore. To be a member of an organization in which I can learn, not only from the City trips, the distinguished speakers and the faculty advisors, but also from all of the graduate students who are my fellow members is one of the best educational experiences I could ask for.