Empowering Students: Student Representatives Council 2024 Leadership Goals

I have one goal in January: lay low — no New Year's resolutions, no profound revelations from the year that ended, no grandiose expectations for the year to come. Rather than a time for taking action, January is the perfect moment for setting intentions.

Since making the transition from the Region II representative to the chair of the Student Representatives Council (SRC), I've wrestled with how to approach my new position and what impact I hope to make while serving my term.

Thankfully, I'm endlessly energized by my fellow SRC Executive Committee members, who have helped me put together the SRC's goals — our intentions, if you will — for the year. I'm honored to share the SRC's goals and, in doing so, invite you to consider your role in pursuing these goals just as I've considered mine.

Leadership Development, National Advocacy, Lifelong Support

The Student Representatives Council (SRC) outlines its three overarching goals:

Goal 1: Create leaders in planning and APA

Whether in formal positions or a self-identified state of mind, leaders are needed at all levels and in all positions. As the future of the planning profession and APA, students and emerging planners should feel empowered to meaningfully shape these spaces, and the SRC is committed to supporting the leadership development of the next generation of planners.

Goal 2: Develop and amplify a national voice for students and emerging planners

Students and emerging planners represent approximately a quarter of APA's membership but often feel geographically constrained or otherwise disconnected from the broader professional network. Creating a collective national presence will build community and create a platform to better advocate for students and emerging planners, particularly those from groups who have been historically silenced.

Goal 3: Ensure that student members become effective career planners and lifelong APA members

Equipped with the most relevant planning knowledge, students and emerging planners seek opportunities to apply their education in meaningful ways. Whether looking for a first job, first promotion, or first career pivot, connecting students and emerging planners with the resources available through APA will help establish them in the planning field and support them as they transition through the stages of their careers.

Promote Inclusivity, Share Experiences, Shape Future

If these goals sound lofty, it's because they are. If you're unsure how you fit into this mix, don't be too hard on yourself because I'm not entirely sure where I fit in either. What I do know is that one of my favorite parts of planning is the people who are planners (whatever that title means to you). Who you are, and your experiences have value.

Just to prove it, below is a bio with a bit more (arguably too much) information about me. If at the end of my bio, you find yourself wondering "If this girl can be involved in the SRC, then, could I be too?" Let me be the first person to emphatically tell you YES! You can (and should) lend your time and talents to the SRC not just because we want them but because we need them! The SRC, APA, and the whole planning profession rely on the people who do the work to help us do our work better than before.

Please send me (or Kohl, Mateo, Cameron, Beneetta, Katie, Johnathan, or Arielle) a message on the APA Students and Emerging Planners' LinkedIn or @APAStudents, and we will find space on the SRC or elsewhere in APA that's a good fit for you! With this exceptional new generation of students and emerging planners, I have hopes for a future that's ... well that might be too grandiose of a thought for me to commit to in January!

A special thank you to our 2022-2023 SRCEC – your efforts and contributions are greatly appreciated, and we wish you all the best in what comes next!

A special thank you to our 2022-2023 SRC Executive Committee! Your efforts and contributions are greatly appreciated, and we wish you all the best in what comes next!

Bianca's Bio (Director's Cut)

Bianca Mers

Bianca Mers

Astrological Sign: Sun – Pisces; Moon and Rising – Leo

Favorite Color: Purple (but I wear almost exclusively black/neutrals)

Favorite Food: I can't choose one, and since I'm writing my bio, I don't have to! Ha! Top contenders include scrambled eggs, spaghetti and meatballs, most Chinese food (i.e. anything I can put chili oil on, which is most things), matzo ball soup, and sushi.

Favorite Mode of Transportation: 1) walking 2) transit; honorable mention to biking (I have nothing but respect (and maybe some jealousy) for cyclists but despite my intense desire, I am not one)

Favorite Tattoo: Dagger on the back of my right arm (though I have plans for one on my thigh that might usurp this one)

Preferred Method of Communication: Selfies (see sample); but I don't have any social media except LinkedIn, and I have a real love — (mostly) hate relationship with it. Nonetheless, if you message me, I will respond!

Top image: iStock/ Getty Images Plus - baona

About the author
Bianca Mers is the chair of the Student Representatives Council.

February 7, 2024

By Bianca Mers, AICP Candidate