Guest blog by Mark McGuire and Chris Ritsma, Co-Chairs of the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee.
Mayor Rick Goldring met for the first time with a selection of 18 Millennials aged 18 to 35 who live or work in Burlington. The Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee is a new project in Burlington to engage with the demographic that represents 17% of the city’s population. Each month the committee will meet on the second Thursday at a cultural hub in Burlington to concentrate on the creation of opportunities to engage, attract and retain millennials in the city.
The meeting was held to develop topics for a year long work plan for the committee and to allow committee members to meet each other and discuss what they feel is important to Burlington for millennials.
Members spoke briefly about why they had an interest in being a part of the committee, which was fresh in their minds from the application they submitted to Mayor Rick Goldring. Committee members explained their personal relationship with the city of Burlington in regards to work and living. Some had been in Burlington a shorter period, while others had lived here their entire lives, giving insight into what causes certain millennials to stay, and others to come to Burlington.
Mayor Goldring gave an insightful presentation outlining Burlington’s recently approved Strategic Plan 2015-2040. In addition to that, the Mayor explained why he decided to initiate the millennial advisory committee. His hopes are that it will be able to provide fresh input as to how best the strategic plan can be implemented and include millennial engagement.
The members of the committee then discussed how the Mayor’s Advisory Committee could best be used to improve different elements of Burlington for millennial residents. The newly formed committee was energetic to begin working, and quickly formed numerous ideas, reflecting on the city’s culture, economics, lifestyle and future.
Once all the members had submitted their preliminary suggestions, it was discussed how these ideas could be connected, and the beginnings of an overview for how the year will pan out became slightly more clear. The following meeting will allow a plan to be drafted, and implemented.
The evening concluded with an election by ballot amongst the advisory committee members for two co-chairs to lead meetings, coordinate events, and submit committee budgets to the Office of the Mayor. Burlington residents Chris Ritsma and Mark McGuire were elected by their peers as the co-chairs for the Mayor’s Advisory Committee.
Mark and Chris believe in the engagement and influence of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee. Millennials are a large portion of Burlington’s population – and presently under engaged. Burlington is not just a young city, it is an opportunity to include a diverse range of groups to engage with the community for vibrant city building.