I am excited to be starting my second year representing APA Region IV as a Director of APA. I admit that there has been a major learning curve over this last year; learning about all of the activities APA undertakes for the betterment of our profession and to ensure a value to your membership. Even prior to my time on the board, APA has been hard at work doing what many organizations do, which is increasing its membership numbers as well as enhancing the value of that membership. If you haven’t had a chance to read the most recent issue of Planning magazine, check out the website (the new version rolled out last year!), or read the various e-mail blasts, you are missing out on some new and exciting benefits to your membership.
First, starting this year, ALL members of APA will have digital access to the research produced by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS). Prior to this year, members could pay to purchase hard or digital copies of PAS reports or become subscription members, at hefty fees, to have access to research on demand by APA research associates. Now, digital versions of over 100 reports since 1996, plus any future reports, will be free to members. This is a substantial benefit to members as the reports provide detailed information on specific issues related to the work we do. On-call custom research is still available to members as a separate fee for service. For more information or access to the reports, check out https://www.planning.org/pas/reports/.
Second, APA has completely overhauled its approach to membership for students and emerging professionals who have recently graduated and are just entering the workforce. Before this year, students were only given the opportunity of one free year of membership and a reduced fee upon entering the workforce. From this point moving forward, if you are a student, regardless of how many years you have left or if you are in an accredited program or not, your membership in APA is free. That includes free membership in the national organization, free membership in your primary chapter, and free membership in up to five divisions. The goal is to encourage more students to participate in the organization as well as become lifelong members of APA. Our students are the future of this organization. Upon graduation, past students will be eligible for two years of reduced rate membership as they transition into the profession. For students who participated in the past programs but whose membership has lapsed, they will become eligible for free membership again. For emerging professionals who just graduated, or who are new to APA, they too will be eligible for two years of reduced rate membership dues.
I believe that APA has taken great strides in the last two years to improve member benefits and I hope you do too. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for enhancing your membership even more, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wendy Moeller, AICP, is the Region IV Director for the American Planning Association representing Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.