This summer, the Quaker Valley Council of Governments (QVCOG) brought Ms. Anna Richard on board through Local Government Academy’s 2022 Municipal Intern Program. Anna is a rising senior at Washington and Jefferson College studying political science with a public policy minor and a concentration in conflict and resolution studies. Throughout the internship, Anna experienced the multifaceted nature of local government and engaged with the 15 QVCOG member municipalities as well as the existing Councils of Governments in Allegheny County. Anna also participated in a number of local government activities, including code enforcement/ zoning, solid waste and recycling administration, tours of local sewage treatment plants, WM recycling center tours, engagement with solicitors, and Community Development Block Grant administration.
Anna’s capstone project began with her creating and administering a survey for the Allegheny County InterCOG Council, which is a collaboration of COGs within the Allegheny County area. The survey collected information concerning the COG’s programs and services and gauged their successes and shortcomings. Additionally, the survey collected practical solutions to common problems facing the municipalities in the county. The second step of Anna’s project was to create an additional survey out of the data from her initial COG questionnaire and administer the survey to the QVCOG communities. Ultimately, Anna’s work will help evolve the QVCOG’s programs, services, and overall structure to better benefit our member municipalities.
In addition to the survey, Anna was also tasked with increasing engagement (both in person and digitally) with all member communities and their residents. In an effort to boost visibility, Anna created an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) map of community locations, such as community centers, libraries, schools, and municipal buildings. Further engagement efforts included constructing informational graphics, managing the QVCOG’s website and Facebook Page, and reaching out to community partners. These efforts amplify the QVCOG’s presence and enhance the organization's connection to the community.