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Thread: Volunteering in a planning office (was: My first "in")

  1. #1
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    Volunteering in a planning office (was: My first "in")

    Hi all, thank you for taking the time to read this.

    So a few weeks ago, I posted here for the first time asking advice on internships and such. You all gave me very helpful responses and convinced me that volunteering was the best way to get my foot in the door of the planning career, even though I thought me degree in environmental studies was relatively unrelated and that no one would be interested. Thanks.

    So I sent out emails to members of the local planning community just about a half-hour ago. So far, I have gotten interested responses from two people, both who want to talk to me later.

    Basically, I would like to knoe how to suggest myself as being useful. These people are planning directors in the public sector. It is in Vermont, where there is a strong environmental conscience, as well as a focus on democratic decision making.

    I am in a GIS class right now, and will need to do a project towards the end of the semester. I was thinking I could do a project that would benefit the agency. Can anyone think of any other ways I could offer my skills to these people?

    On a side note, could anyone recommend some good planning books? So far I have only read 'Contemporary Urban Planning' by Levy. That was my first exposure so planning, and I was hooked. I would be really interested to read more.

    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    pick a very simple project that would be useful to you and them

    for example: go through a town's building permits over the past 3 years and make a map showing where the new housing units are going - a simple data set to produce a useful map

    I think taking an introductory planning class (UVM, St Mike's, Johnson State, Goddard, Lyndonville) would help you though most ES programs have you taking them anyway (?)

    good luck - also, work with your GIS teacher to see if he/she has any ideas too -

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Think of something but these directors may be calling you because they already have a project in mind.

  4. #4
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    Basically, I would like to knoe how to suggest myself as being useful. These people are planning directors in the public sector. It is in Vermont, where there is a strong environmental conscience, as well as a focus on democratic decision making.

    Good idea above about mapping. Show how you can solve a problem, any problem. Get some data, map it, and offer an analysis and a solution set. When you're in the interview, show in just a few paragraphs how you thought it through and solved it. Brevity is the soul of wit.

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