What you can do for National Public Works Week

Despite its name, National Public Works Week (May 21-27) has very much a local focus. It will succeed through the efforts of individual members in your towns and cities. It is you who can approach shopkeepers and librarians about displaying the NPWW poster, you who can persuade local editors to cover NPWW activities, and you who can speak out about the importance of the services your departments provide your communities.

This year's National Public Works Week theme is "Public Works: The Heart of Every Community." Here are a few suggested NPWW activities:

Proclamations: Each chapter should request a proclamation from the governor/premier. A sample proclamation can be viewed at www.apwa.net/About/npww/proclamation.pdf. Individual members should ask mayors to issue similar proclamations. The best time for the proclamation is a week or so before May 21. If there is to be a ceremony, be sure to contact newspapers and to have a photographer on hand. On May 31, forward either the original proclamation or a copy to APWA Kansas City headquarters.

Posters: Don't forget about them. To be effective, they must be displayed where they will be seen by large numbers of people. Shop windows, public libraries, and city halls are good places. Don't forget to display them on public vehicles, too. This year's National Public Works Week poster shows the central nature of public works in daily life in an illustration by San Francisco artist Jeffrey Pelo. The poster is available for purchase and can be seen on page 28.

Career: One NPWW aim is to interest capable youth in public works careers. Tell the guidance counselor at your high school that you would be happy to meet with classes or groups of students to discuss public works as a career. Keep in mind that a Shadow Day would enable a high school student to experience a workday in the life of the public works professional who performs a job of interest to the student. In the process, students learn that public works services employ a variety of professionals, technicians and administrators who have been schooled and trained in a variety of fields.

Likewise, bringing an Equipment Show and Tell to a middle school enables students to see firsthand the equipment you use in daily operations. Recycling vans, refuse trucks, pavement recyclers, road graders and lift trucks hold fascinating possibilities for students this age. This activity is especially ideal if you have limited resources. You could schedule an Equipment Show and Tell at a different school every day of National Public Works Week.

Radio and Television: Contact the news or public affairs departments of your local stations. Tell them that NPWW is coming up and that you will be glad to arrange interviews for their public interest programming. This would be a perfect opportunity for you to tell the public how you are increasing productivity and that the city needs to maintain realistic levels of expenditure to provide for adequate replacement and preventive maintenance programs. Write your spot announcements to highlight the accomplishments of your department and send them to all stations in your area.

Newspapers: List five changes your department has made in the last two years to economize. Describe each briefly on paper. Could any of them be depicted in photographs? Call the editor of your newspaper, tell him or her that that you have a good feature story he or she might want to run during NPWW; then explain your economy measures and what they represent to your community in saved tax dollars.

Public Works Exhibit: Create an exhibit to spotlight your organization's recent successes and emphasize how they benefit all citizens. Arrange to display your exhibit at libraries, community centers and shopping malls. You may be able to take advantage of a captive audience by exhibiting at a scheduled community event.

Native plants are on display during the Public Works "Open House and Annual Recycling Fair" in Bettendorf, Iowa during National Public Works Week.

Open House or Tour: An open house or tour offers participants a new perspective on public works and gives professionals an opportunity to discuss the daily operation at their facility. It also is a good time to gather community members' opinions of public works projects and services.

Keep Headquarters Informed: Your ideas may be very useful to other members or chapters next year. Your feedback helps headquarters staff know what works and what doesn't. Just go to the NPWW website at www.apwa.net/About/npww and click on "Tell us about your NPWW outreach."

To order a "How To" guide for planning your NPWW activities, just go to www.apwa.net/About/npww/orderguide.asp. If you have any questions regarding the promotion of National Public Works Week, please contact Jon Dilley, Manager of Marketing and Creative Design, at (816) 595-5251 or jdilley@apwa.net.