Student Chapter FAQs

  1. What are the main benefits of joining an ICMA Student Chapter? 
  2. How much does it cost to start a chapter? 
  3. If my school has an ICMA Student Chapter, do I still pay the $25 student dues rate when I join?
  4. What is the role of the chapter mentor?
  5. How often does a chapter typically meet? 
  6. What are some common student chapter activities? 
  7. If chapter members attend the Annual ICMA Conference, what are some special activities that the chapter can participate in at the conference?
  8. Who are resources for the chapter to call upon as it organizes and plans its events and activities?
  9. What are some other ICMA resources to leverage in support of the chapter?
  10. What’s the best way to launch a chapter and sustain it over time?
  11. What if we already have another government- or public-service-oriented club? Can we use that organization as an ICMA Student Chapter since some of the involved students may be interested in pursuing local government careers? 
 

What are the main benefits of joining an ICMA Student Chapter?

  • Unlimited student memberships in ICMA for FREE
  • Includes one academic membership
  • Full digital membership, including ICMA’s Newsletter, PM Magazine Online, members-only files, and content (such as the Job Hunting Handbook and Leading Ideas interviews)
  • In addition to MPA/MPP students, a chapter can include undergraduates and students outside MPA program (urban planning, etc.)
  • ICMA-sponsored competitions (i.e. responding to case studies, best event contests, etc)... with prizes!
  • Free chapter-only content (archived webinars and custom webinars)
  • Free registration to the ICMA Annual Conference

How much does it cost to start a chapter?

  • Nothing! Student chapters are now free! Thanks to a grant from ICMA-RC, through the 2017-18 academic year, chapters may join without a chapter fee. Thank you, ICMA-RC!
  • If students want to join ICMA without a chapter, individual students may do so at $25.

If my school has an ICMA Student Chapter, do I still pay the $25 student dues rate when I join?

No, student chapter members do not have to pay dues to ICMA. Each chapter is granted unlimited student memberships and one academic membership.

What are ways our chapter can raise funds for chapter activities?

In the event that your chapter needs to raise funds, or may have to charge students chapter dues, 

  • You can solicit donations from alumni, or from your state association (for specific fundraising goals)
  • Some chapters have accessed other larger clubs to “nest” the ICMA chapter, such as within a larger MPA student organization with established budgets and to access that club’s resources.
  • A chapter can raise the funds by hosting a 5K campus run, in honor of ICMA’s new “Life, Well Run” campaign. A “life, well run,” run!
  • Hold events, bake sales (?!) or other ticketed opportunities.

What is the role of the chapter mentor?

The chapter mentor is primarily a resource in the profession whom the chapter members can go to for guidance or connections in the field, use as a guest speaker, use to get access to other guest speakers or as a judge for chapter events, and so on.The second role of a mentor is to act as a stabilizing force should the faculty advisor leave the school. With both a faculty advisor and a mentor, we reduce the chance of a chapter dissolving should one of them depart.

How often does a chapter typically meet?

We recommend a monthly meeting at a minimum to have any productive impact.

What are some common student chapter activities?

  • Schedule guest speakers in the profession (manager, department head, elected official, young professional or recently hired) or a panel discussion
  • Host a discussion on economic development for the school, with a local panel of experts
  • Work on small consulting projects for nearby local governments (a good resume builder!), which can also generate chapter funds
  • Present to undergraduates or high schools about local government, civics, or other topics of interest
  • Submit articles to ICMA for the Knowledge Network, Newsletter or PM Magazine
  • Schedule and go on site visits (to local government offices or satellite departments for a tour)
  • Attend a state association meeting together
  • Host a networking event to either teach networking skills, or facilitate building connections
  • Give a presentation at a local council meeting

If chapter members attend the Annual ICMA Conference, what are some special activities that the chapter can participate in at the conference?

  • Chapter representatives meeting (ICMA meets with the chapters to discuss the conference, ICMA, chapter goals)
  • Requests by the chapter (if you want to hear something, we can organize it for you)
  • Speed Coaching
  • Mixer

Who are resources for the chapter to call upon as it organizes and plans its events and activities?

  • Chapter mentor, primarily
  • ICMA senior advisors
  • ICMA staff
  • All ICMA members
  • Other chapters

What are some other ICMA resources to leverage in support of the chapter?

  • ICMA’s Job Center
  • Coaching program (webinars, one-to-one coaching)
  • Knowledge Network (Groups, Q&A, document sharing, who’s who)
  • Career Resources (Career Compass, First Time Administrator’s Guide, Job Hunting Handbook, etc.)
  • Free annual conference registration

What’s the best way to launch a chapter and sustain it over time?

To date, most chapters begin with either a group of passionate students or passionate alumni; or both. However, without student champions, it is unlikely a chapter will develop deep roots and sustain itself over time.

What if we already have another government- or public-service oriented club? Can we use that organization as an ICMA Student Chapter since some of the involved students may be interested in pursuing local government careers?

Yes, you can structure how your chapter is governed and where it resides in the university student organization structure as you see fit. Some schools ‘nest’ the ICMA Student Chapter within a larger public service club or organization to avoid additional school charters or set-up costs. Others keep the ICMA Student Chapter separate as its own entity. Either way, we encourage you to seek membership from outside the typical MPA/MPP schools.

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