ULI Foundation Governor Bruce Etkin pledged $100,000 in 2017 to support four additional district council student scholarship programs, which began at ULI Colorado. The ULI Colorado program supports undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as they launch their careers in real estate and other land use professions. The funds for the expanded program will be competitively awarded over two years to district councils to support student memberships, networking and mentorship activities, and involvement with ULI at the local level.
“The $50-or-so fee to attend a district council event might not seem expensive, but many students simply can’t afford it,” Etkin says. “Building your professional network through ULI is an essential building block early on in your career, and it was important to me to expand this program so that more deserving students benefit from the important skills and connections that a ULI membership brings with it.”
Five district councils have offered the scholarships so far in the 2017–2018 academic year.
ULI Baltimore’s programming for its 16 student scholars is proceeding as planned. The scholars have participated in multiple rich mentoring opportunities and are closely connected to a core group of professionally successful Young Leaders. The scholars will attend an exclusive tour of a new arts district in Baltimore, led by ULI members. Because of their proximity to ULI Washington, the scholars are encouraged to attend ULI Washington events and several will go to that district council’s signature event, Washington Trends Day. At least one student from the ULI Baltimore cohort is applying for a ULI internship at the headquarters.
ULI Colorado’s student scholarship program has fully hit stride, offering innovative and accessible programming for all 16 of the district council’s student scholars. They are participating in a wide range of committees, from Building Healthy Places to affordable housing to transit-oriented development, and even leading the planning process for the district council’s upcoming Developer Shark Tank event. Most recently, the students participated in a speed-mentoring event, with each given five to seven minutes to talk to multiple potential mentors from a variety of real estate professions. After the event, all parties swapped contact information, and several mentors and students have followed up with subsequent contact.
ULI Kansas City
ULI Kansas City has doubled its number of student scholars to eight, involving four students from the Kansas City Design Center. These students were integral in compiling the briefing book for a technical assistance panel event in late March. In the past, ULI Kansas City has had trouble connecting with local universities; the District Council Student Scholarship program proved to be a catalyst for the creation of links in that the district council could outline specific deliverables that it could integrate into university curriculums. ULI Kansas City is looking forward to future growth in these university relationships. Coming up, the student scholars will join the Young Leaders taking part in the mentorship program on an exclusive site tour of a project in downtown Kansas City. At least one student scholar has secured a summer internship through a ULI connection.
ULI North Florida
ULI North Florida is supporting 11 student scholars to, representing the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of North Florida. Many of the student scholars attended the Emerging Trends event in Tallahassee and had the opportunity to meet Patrick Phillips, former global chief executive officer of ULI, who provided a retrospective on his career and the role of ULI. The scholars found the opportunity to engage with such an accomplished professional to be highly rewarding. The scholars attended the University of Florida’s annual real estate conference, and are beginning to get involved at the committee level: two student scholars are serving on the public policy task force.
The 10 student scholars at ULI Philadelphia are regularly attending events and blogging about them. Many of the scholars are participating in the district council’s mentoring program, and a few are even attending local product council meetings. ULI Philadelphia is pleased with the member engagement opportunities this program provides and the opportunity to improve relationships with many local universities, including an upcoming partnership on a salon-style event showcasing the ULI Hines Student Competition entries from schools in the region. ULI Philadelphia is planning to send one standout student scholar to the ULI Fall Meeting in Boston.
Etkin, also a ULI governing trustee, has been an active ULI member since 1979. He is a former ULI Foundation board member and has served on several ULI product councils. He is chairman of Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, a privately owned commercial real estate investment and development company based in Colorado.