Fifth annual social provides networking opportunities for students

Events such as the fifth annual MES-York Planning Alumni Committee (MYPAC) Social held on June 25, are touted by students and alumni as an ideal way to network and broaden their opportunities.

Right: Bob Millward, president of R.E. Millward & Associates Ltd. and former commissioner of planning & development for the City of Toronto; Stanley Makuch (LLB ’71), a lawyer with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP; and Oren Tamir (BA Hons. ’99, MES ’06), a City of Toronto planner.

“These events help me to not only grow my networking circle but also learn what other opportunities are available in the planning world. The degree of support is evident at events like these and it assures me that there is still a great deal of help out there for planning students and recent graduates,” says master in environmental studies (MES) student Kendra FitzRandolph.

A joint venture of the Faculty in Environmental Studies (FES) Student & Alumni Resource Centre and MYPAC,  the social welcomed members of the Toronto area planning community, along with York alumni, students, faculty and staff. It provided York’s FES planning community with an opportunity to interact with industry professionals. Each year, it is held at locations that have a connection to particular planning or design issues.

Left: Glenn Walker

This year, the social was hosted in the Field House at the Berkeley Church Heritage Event Venue – a church built in 1871 and transformed into a unique event spot. It is one of Toronto’s newest and most interesting indoor-outdoor spaces.

“The location of the event was ideal – a historical venue was perfect for creative minds such as ourselves and gave a great piece for opening conversation,” says FitzRandolph.

Glenn Walker (MES ’85), an economic development officer for the City of Toronto’s culture and tourism, remembered his experience as a student as well as the need for volunteer placements and hands-on experience. FES made such a lasting impression on Walker, that for the last several years he has given back by creating student placement positions within his division and making sure to hire at least one MES Planning Program student per term.

“This event is very beneficial because everyone involved has the opportunity to network and meet new people,” said Walker.

Right: The Berkeley Church Heritage Event Venue Field House

The MES Planning Program is a significant part of FES – about a third of MES students choose this program, which requires them to fulfil specific planning-related course and research criteria. Successful completion of the program leads to professional certification through the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and is recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners.

MYPAC was created in 2004 to help build connections between FES planning students, alumni and planning professionals. In addition to the annual networking event, the committee offers mentorship and speaking programs and raises money for student initiatives.