Young Energetic Solutions (YES) is hosting a panel discussion at this year's SNEAPA Conference in Worcester, MA. The panel, which includes Windsor Deputy Mayor Dr. Jody Terranova, Farmington Town Planner Bill Warner, AICP, Spark Makerspace Board Member & Civic Entrepreneur Hannah Gant, Armsby Abbey (MA) owner Alec Lopez, and moderator Jason Vincent, AICP, Stonington Director of Planning, will discuss how cultivating civic engagement can help push the boundaries of economic development. The SNEAPA Conference is an annual

 

convening of the Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts chapters of the American Planning Association, and attracts hundreds of planners, landscape architects, engineers, academics, students and others each year. YES is a group that works to empower young people across Connecticut to create vibrant communities, and is co-chaired by CMSC's Christine Schilke and CIL's Diana Deng.

Over 
Mayor Drew tells young people how they can become involved. Photo Credit: HYPE
one hundred people registered for Boards and Commissions on Tap, an event for young people to learn how to become more involved in their communities, co-sponsored by YES and HYPE.
 
The February 22nd event featured a panel discussion moderated by CT DOT's Randal Davis on how young people can get involved in shaping their community by joining a local town Board or Commission. CMSC's Christine Schilke, YES co-chair, introduced Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Middletown Mayor Dan Drew who offered their thoughts on how young people can help shape their community. Attendees also had the opportunity to speak with town representatives from various boards and commissions in the Metro Hartford region.
 
Panelist Jonathan Cabral wrote a blog for the Partnership for Strong Communities on the enthusiasm he witnessed from young professionals interested in joining boards and commissions, while HYPE's Katie Kervick, member of HYPE's Civic Engagement Committee, offers an excellent recap of the event 
YES co-chair Christine Schilke was thrilled to present the millennial perspective during a forum on livability in Connecticut presented by the UConn School of Engineering and the CT Dept. of Transportation. Christine presented an overview of the economic factors impacting millennials including large amounts of student debt, Connecticut's high housing costs (for both homeownership and rental) and the cost of transit.  She also offered insight into what this generation is seeking in their communities, including walkable neighborhoods (whether in an urban, suburban or rural setting), as well as smaller, denser and more affordable housing, and proximity to transit options and amenities.   

 

The event featured guest speaker Andrew Cotugno, Portland, Oregon's Senior Policy Advisor to the Metro Council and Chief Operating Officer, who talked about his city's 30 year journey to becoming a national leader in transportation and

Photo courtesy of Chris LaRosa, UConn School of Engineering

livable communities. CT DOT Commissioner James Redeker spoke about the state's Let's Go CT! initiative - a 30-year transportation plan and its ambitious 5-year ramp up schedule, while Alyssa Norwood from the Legislative Commission on Aging provided a complementary view of Connecticut's aging population, noting that today's seniors are healthier and more active than their predecessors, desiring to also to live in walkable, vibrant areas; building communities responsive to their needs results in places that are great to to grow up as well as grow older.

 

This event was taped by CT-N and is available for viewing online.