Updated: May 5
On April 21, 2023, students of the Student Planning Organization (SPO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) travelled to downtown Chicago for the organization’s first “Firm Crawl.” The “crawl” was designed to connect students to a variety of firms with different focuses. During the daylong event, each of the 28 students in attendance had the opportunity to visit up to 4 firms of their choice, enabling each student to create a day that was tailored to their specific interests in planning.
Students spent the day traveling to different planning organizations in Chicago including The Habitat Group, PMA, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, Epstein Global, TranSystems, Power Construction, MUSE Community + Design, HNTB, The City of Chicago Planning Department, and SB Friedman. SPO was able to connect with these groups through APAs vast network of planners and through UIUC planning alums. Students spoke with planning professionals and learned about projects that planners and professionals with planning backgrounds were involved in. Projects that different organizations were working on ranged from affordable housing projects to bus route planning to construction management.
The visits helped undergraduate and graduate students understand the many different paths and roles that planners can take on in the field. The trip was able to help connect student’s work in school with work being done in the professional realm and gave students the opportunity to network and explore future career opportunities. SPO hopes to continue this event for years to come and extends a big thank you to everyone that hosted our students!
-- Natalie Crown, Graduate Student, Master of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; 2023 SPO President
Photo credits: Kayla Baldwin, Caelin Muniz, T Pines, Keenan Portis, and Gabriel Vara