- Who can join an ICMA Student Chapter?
- What are the main benefits of joining an ICMA Student Chapter?
- How much does it cost to start a chapter?
- If my school has an ICMA Student Chapter, do I still pay the $25 student dues rate when I join?
- What are ways our chapter can raise funds for chapter activities?
- What is the role of the chapter president, faculty advisor, and mentor?
- How often does a chapter typically meet?
- What are some common student chapter activities?
- If chapter members attend the Annual ICMA Conference, what are some special activities that the chapter can participate in at the conference?
- Who are resources for the chapter to call upon as it organizes and plans its events and activities?
- What are some other ICMA resources to leverage in support of the chapter?
- What’s the best way to launch a chapter and sustain it 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?
Who can join an ICMA Student Chapter?
Any full or part-time undergraduate or graduate student currently not an ICMA member is eligible for student chapter membership in any position below Department Head (entry-level to mid-level positions) and still be eligible. Students that are already an ICMA member above student membership (affiliate, full, etc.) before they join the chapter will not be eligible for student chapter membership. They can be added to the chapter roster but will keep their current membership.
Students receive a special student chapter code from their chapter leadership to join.
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, 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.
- Hold events, bake sales (?!) or other ticketed opportunities.
What is the role of the chapter president, faculty advisor, and mentor?
The student chapter president is the student who is willing to lead the chapter and serve as the main liaison between the chapter and ICMA. Typically, this student will lead a board of leaders, including a VP, Treasurer, and Secretary, but some chapters prefer to have committee leaders instead. The chapter president usually shepherds the tasks and delegates to other chapter leaders, and communicates with the faculty advisor and the mentor. Some chapters have an election to select a chapter president after the chapter is a year or two old, while others keep an appointment system for the life of the chapter.
The faculty advisor’s role is to support the chapter academically and administratively. The faculty advisor is the chapter's go-to person for any university needs (for example: getting registered as a student organization on campus). They also serve as an anchor for the chapter in the event student leadership graduates and they need help finding new student leaders. Often this is in conjunction with the chapter mentor.
Faculty advisors, in working with the student president, can assist chapters:
- Establish a chapter meeting schedule and find physical or virtual space to meet
- Create a chapter charter or chapter structure (committees, executive board positions, etc.)
- Find guest speakers for events
- Find opportunities for scholarships or presentation opportunities
- Recruiting students from their classes/program
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.
The mentor to an ICMA Student Chapter can:
- Help facilitate connections between your student chapter and public service professionals/state associations
- Keep the chapter connected to current issues in the field
- Advise on topics/themes for events and guest speakers
- Review chapter’s strategic plan
- Work closely with faculty advisor to brainstorm professional development opportunities to suggest to chapters
- Support/assist with MPA Assessment centers
- Offer experiential learning in your community (projects, internships, job shadowing)
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
- Student Member Mixer
- Student focused educational sessions
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)
- ICMA Connect (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.