The University of Iowa's planning program was represented at this spring's APA meetings in Philadelphia by 18 students, one faculty member, and dozens of alumni. Despite the massive rains, canceling opportunities for many mobile workshops, the general response was "awesome experience." As one attendee put it, it really helps when you're a student to find you're part of 5,000 planners all gathered in one place, talking about so much exciting work they're doing. While students found a few of the sessions less than stellar, the majority turned out to be truly worthwhile.
Many thanks to the Iowa chapter of APA, which helped to offset part of the trip expense with grants of $50 per student. Both UI student government and the Planning Program also helped out by supporting the vans used for transportation, drawing on alumni donations to the Program for part of the funding.
First-year students are already looking ahead to next year's meeting in Las Vegas, although Philadelphia, which proved to be a surprisingly livable, even fascinating city, with its mix of old and new, may be hard to top as a conference venue.