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Looking for guest speakers

Suburb Repairman

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Most of you know me as a lowly planning intern, but I am also president of my school's Student Planning Organization. We like to bring in guest speakers for our meetings and need some ideas. Texas State is in San Marcos, TX, about halfway between San Antonio and Austin. If you know of anyone in the South-Central area of Texas that would be a good guest speaker, please let me know. We've talked about having a Q&A session with a public sector planner and a private sector planner.

In general, our organization could really use some ideas for social/public events. Lots of our members are under 21, so pub-crawling isn't the best option! ;) :b:
 

Rem

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Instead of a Q&A they could debate - taking the role of each other (ie. the public sector guy could argue for the private sector, say "The Best planning is Done by Consultants"). This tends to expose some prejudices and generalisations. It can also be entertaining.

We did something similar with a panel of three from each side arguing "Anybody Can do Planning". We had a team of surveyors/engineers arguing that planning was a specialised activity that a properly trained person needed to be used to do. The planners argued the opposite.

It was a hoot.

I am happy to attend and participate if you meet normal travel and accomodation costs.;)
 

LouisvilleSlugger

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one time I set up this little activity I called a "Planning Chili Cookout", I know..tacky name! but, I arranged different scenarios in order to give people an opportunity to come up with different planning methods of styles of trying to address issues. the idea about role playing is so much! because, a lot of interesting perspectives come out!!!
 

LouisvilleSlugger

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Rem said:
Instead of a Q&A they could debate - taking the role of each other (ie. the public sector guy could argue for the private sector, say "The Best planning is Done by Consultants"). This tends to expose some prejudices and generalisations. It can also be entertaining.

We did something similar with a panel of three from each side arguing "Anybody Can do Planning". We had a team of surveyors/engineers arguing that planning was a specialised activity that a properly trained person needed to be used to do. The planners argued the opposite.

It was a hoot.

I am happy to attend and participate if you meet normal travel and accomodation costs.;)

Yeah, I've done this too!!!! and it was a total hoot!!!!! I learned a lot in terms of other perspectives and how others view things. especially when you look at planning theory, say for example how a strategic planner looks at things and solves them, incremental planner, advocacy planner, etc.
 

Cirrus

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I'm an officer w/ the Univ. of Colorado student APA... We've found field trips work better than guest speakers. If we pull in a speaker not very many people show up, since apparantly a lot of students (particularly underclassmen) get a lot of lectures in class. Day trips to interesting developments around the state, however, usually get good attendance (particularly underclassmen who haven't been exposed to anything new urbanist yet).

So yeah... I don't know much about the San Marcos development scene, but if I were you I'd look in to organizing a trip somewhere. I think there's a Calthorpe project in Austin somewhere (Austin Ranch or something like that)... maybe that big new skyscraper on Congress Ave would be an interesting trip... or hell, got many out of staters? Can't lose with the riverwalk in SA, right.
 

Cirrus

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Oh, another thing we've done that was very successful was a big reception type thing. At the end of the semester last year we organized an informal reception. Got a table of food (stuff like little sandwiches from Costco), put up a table of planning books, pinned some projects to the wall and had a slide show loop continuously on one wall. We mailed invitations to faculty, sent email invites to all planning students in the school, and put up colorful flyers all over the architecture / planning building inviting architects and undecideds. No speakers or anything. No assigned seating. Just an informal chance to mingle.

The idea was to get more people interested / involved w/ planning (there are only about 40 planning majors in a school with some 700 architects), and to get lowerclassmen involved w/ the student APA chapter... It worked out quite well.
 

Suburb Repairman

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Cirrus said:
The idea was to get more people interested / involved w/ planning (there are only about 40 planning majors in a school with some 700 architects), and to get lowerclassmen involved w/ the student APA chapter... It worked out quite well.

I feel your pain. We've got about 40 planners in our gigantic geography department (biggest in the country). I'm waiting on our TexasAPA check so I can plan a reception like what you've talked about or some kick ass field trips. There's a local developer that's doing a new urbanist thing in a nearby Austin suburb that I may talk to about scheduling a field trip or something.
 
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