Thursday, March 27, 2014

Town Hall-An MRP Tradition

Every spring, graduate students and faculty in the City and Regional Planning department hold a town hall meeting in which all participants are encouraged to air their grievances, get to know each other, or maybe just stop by for lunch.  We held ours last Friday in one of the common rooms of West campus from 1230-230.  Some years town halls are contentious affairs, fortunately at this year's meeting meeting spirits were high and remained that way throughout.  Much of the event's success is due to the Organization of Cornell Planning (OCP)'s dedicated organization and planning of the event, starting months before and culminating in a preparatory meeting of students (the Call to Action) in which we all ate together and formulated a list of our ideas for the program broken down by themes of facilities, professional development, and curriculum.

Overall, it was a great experience.   As with any two year graduate program, our time here is limited.  However, through something like town hall not only are we able to make our concerns or comments known, but we also get access to a much clearer picture of what decisions from situations in the past have created the department we have today.  It is also a unique atmosphere to  get to know each other and our professors better.  We were especially thankful to the faculty for their attendance--for us this is a rare and exciting event to let loose all the things we've wanted to talk about with everyone since we got here--for them it is a much more familiar experience.

Department Chair Kieran Donaghy

Koshy Thomas, MRP '15: "'Town Hall? More like Town Ball! As planners, Town Hall gave us the open and interactive discussion (and let's not forget the awesome lunch!) that planning is all about."

Isaac Robb, MRP '15: "I really enjoyed being able to hear the perspectives of the faculty, especially those that I haven't taken a course with. It was also important to learn about the history of past decisions, and how those will impact the program moving forward."

Lindsay Johnson, MRP '15: "I really enjoyed brainstorming short-term goals with my professors and classmates. We all recognize that some concerns are too big to tackle in under two years, so it's rewarding to have a list of realistic, tangible goals moving forward."

Town hall in progress