by Zachary Huneck, MPA candidate, Indiana University
A busload of Indiana University ICMA Student Chapter members traveled to Columbus, IN on October 6th, 2017 to explore a city unique for its display of modern architecture and public art. This was an opportunity for members to network with local officials, socialize with chapter members, and learn more about approaches to city planning and development.
Columbus, nicknamed "Athens on the Prairie", is known for being home to architecture from a number of renowned architects (e.g. Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, and Richard Meier) and served as a perfect backdrop for student-organized open discussion with Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Jamie Brinegar, director of finance, and Jeff Bergman, planning director. Discussions primarily focused on the impact of a cultural arts district to the growth of the town and afterward, students participated in the Exhibit Columbus Walking Tour with Anne Surak, director of exhibitions. Exhibit Columbus is an annual exhibition that celebrates Columbus's architectural and artistic achievements.
IU’s Local Government Management Association & ICMA Student Chapter will continue to plan activities such as this in the coming semester. Current plans include a Parks and Recreation Trivia Night and a Cities We Love Photo Contest. Membership in the organization has spiked in the 2017-2018 school year, and activities like these have been paramount to keeping members engaged and excited in local government activities.