UMass students made connections with local government during #LocalGov Lunch

The luncheon was sponsored by ICMA and the School of Public Policy


(Collegian file photo)

By Ana Pietrewicz, Assistant Op/Ed Editor

Students at the University of Massachusetts made connections with local government officials on Monday afternoon during the #LocalGov Lunch on Wednesday.

The free luncheon, sponsored by the UMass Amherst Student Chapter of the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) and the School of Public Policy, was held in the Hadley Room on the 10th floor of the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center.

“Our goal is to highlight and promote careers in public service and local government to students,” said Brianna Sunryd, a graduate student at the School of Public Policy, president of ICMA and communications manager for the town of Amherst. “Our hope is to create networking and educational opportunities for students who are interested in public service jobs while they are still in school.”

The event took place from 12-1:30 p.m. and featured appearances from Western Massachusetts government officials. Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Palmer Town Manager Ryan McNutt and Amherst Senior Planner Maureen Pollock were all in attendance.

“All of the people we approached readily agreed and were excited about talking to students,” Sunryd said. “We have two town managers, two planners, an HR director, a city finance director and the regional director of ICMA attending today.”

Students and government officials in attendance were treated to a buffet lunch provided by UMass Dining before sitting down at several round tables to discuss careers in local government and more.

Students attended the lunch to better their understanding of local government jobs, learn about local government opportunities, make connections and network with current public officials.

“I don’t know too much about local government opportunities,” said Alphoncina Lyamuya, a senior legal studies major enrolled in the 4+1 program offered by the School of Public Policy. “I wanted to explore and get my foot in the door of a local government career, learn what roles people play and hear from the experts.”

Lindsay Hackett, deputy chief administrative and financial officer for the city of Springfield, talked to students about how to first get started with a local government job.

“If you have an idea of where you want to work, just reach out,” said Hackett. “If you want to work for the city of Springfield, just reach out to the town manager.”

Hackett went on to discuss the unique benefits of working in a government job.

“My job is very rewarding,” said Hackett. “You can make a decision and see it the next day in the city you work in. It’s very fulfilling to see your work affect where you live like that.”

Officials in attendance also discussed the importance of young people getting involved in local government and in their communities, whether in a leadership position or otherwise.

“If people enjoy the community they live in and want to see it prosper, to give something back helps the community to grow,” said Patricia Vinchesi, Northeast Regional Director for ICMA.

Ana Pietrewicz can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @anapietrewicz.