Opportunities in Iowa City

by Ben Hyland (International Relations BS, Economics BBA – 2018)

Throughout my college experience here at Iowa, I have learned just as much outside of Schaeffer Hall as I have within it. The University of Iowa offers first-class opportunities to get engaged on campus, and to explore international relations concepts in a real-world environment.  Groups I have been a part of here on campus include the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, the UI Lecture Committee, and UI Student Government.  Each of these organizations has allowed me to develop as a leader while putting to use applicable class topics, and I encourage all IR majors check these groups out and get involved!

Iowa City Foreign Relations Council

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council’s mission is to promote dialogue within the Iowa City community through expert forums and speaker events .  As an intern with the Council, I had the opportunity to meet with former prime ministers, U.S. ambassadors, policy experts, and scholars.  Each brought unique insights to global issues and each one helped to expand my knowledge on the pressing news topics of today.

If you intern with ICFRC, expect to work 5-10 hours a week on a variety of different projects.  During my internship, I was primarily responsible for marketing aspects of ICFRC, communicating with our members, and collaborating with our speakers on promotional material.  I encourage anyone with keen interest in foreign policy debate or free Oyama catering to stop by a lecture or apply to be an intern.

To attend a speaker: Join the ICFRC mailing list for weekly speaker announcements and check out their page at https://icfrc.org/

To get involved: Email ICFRC Director Ed Zastrow at ICFRC@uiowa.edu to inquire about internship opportunities

University of Iowa Lecture Committee

The UI Lecture Committee is a seven student Presidential Charter Committee that hosts six to eight free lectures each semester completely open to the public.  Past lecturers have included everyone from Robert Reich to former President Bill Clinton to Nick Kristof.  In the fall current semester, our lecturers have included Nobel Prize winning rights activists, spokespeople for the United Nations, and leading Supreme Court experts.

Lecture Committee is unique in the fact that as a student representative, you are directly responsible for pitching speakers and promoting campus conversations on domestic and international issues.  As a member of Lecture Committee, if you felt that Ban-Ki Moon could pack an auditorium and give a dynamic talk, you have complete freedom to pursue him as a speaker.

Normally students spend 5-10 hours a week on Lecture Committee, researching leads, contacting agents, and brainstorming individuals that could speak to relevant issues on campus.

To attend a lecture: Look for announcements throughout campus, check out UI LC on social media, or visit the LC website at https://lectures.uiowa.edu/


To get involved: Interviews for Lecture Committee are held late in the spring semester each year.  Watch for an email in your student account and expect to submit a resume and complete an interview.

University of Iowa Student Government

Debate dorks and political science geeks unite.  The University of Iowa Student Government is an undergraduate group composed of nearly 60 individuals who oversee the allocation of funds for student organizations.  This may sound dry until you realize that each year UISG is jointly responsible for more than $1.8 million dollars, and is the direct student voice to UI administration.  In addition to these duties, UISG is tasked with pursuing initiatives to better the lives of students on campus.  International student welcome tours, Night Ride, and Cambus are just a few of the initiatives that UISG senators and executives have helped create over the years.

Apart from a weekly senate meeting, the amount of time you choose to devote to UISG is entirely dependent on your desire to get involved.  Most students spend about five hours per week on their initiatives, working with UI administrators and promoting outreach events.

To attend a senate debate: Senate meetings are held each Tuesday in the UCC Conference Center at 7pm.

To get involved: Senate elections are held in late spring each year.  Students can run independently or as a ticket.  Additionally, several At-Large Senator positions are filled each fall.  In both cases, watch for UISG emails to your student account, or check out the UISG website at