Mayor Ed Braddy wants to get students more involved in the City of Gainesville with a revamped internship program.
Interns used to do little more than shadow the City Commission, but Braddy said this semester, he’s hoping to create a more hands-on experience by having interns manage projects and work on policy.
“When I campaigned, I told the Student Body I would be willing to work with them,” Braddy said. “I want to make them know they are a part of our community … to give students an idea of how their local government works and give them an opportunity to participate in a more hands-on manner.”
Often, the only times Braddy hears from students are when they show up to meetings expecting overnight change, he said. By getting interns more involved in City Hall, he said he hopes students will get a better idea of how the local government works.
Meredith Ryan, a 19-year-old UF political science junior, applied for one of the positions and said she is excited about the changes.
“This shows me that accomplished leaders in the community care about young people and their ideas,” she said. She said the internship gets students personally involved in local government, which is vastly different from state and national government.
Braddy said the program is still in its early stages, but he wants it to become a part of the bigger picture of student engagement in the city.
“Maybe we’ll submit student bids as well as professional bids,” he said, suggesting a possible marketing program for RTS. “But that’s on the drawing board.”
What’s most important is student inclusion in Gainesville city life and government, Braddy said.
“My ultimate vision after my three years in office is that the Student Body feels appreciated and ... that they’ve had a good opportunity to participate and engage in city life,” he said. “If they didn’t, it’s not because the city didn’t listen.”
[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 2/26/2014 under the headline “Mayor Braddy revamps City of Gainesville internship program"]