Citizens' Academy

Citizens’ Academy is an interactive, adult civic education opportunity designed to introduce citizens to City services, programs, and the people who serve the City of Manhattan. This six-session overview of major services of the City is hosted by the City Manager’s Office, with support from the Manhattan City Commission.

The Academy, in its 24th year, is an ideal way to become more familiar with all aspects of the Manhattan city government, from the airport to the zoo.

This program is especially geared towards:

  • residents of the City of Manhattan (who will receive preference in the application process);
  • people who want to become more knowledgeable about City issues and involved in City initiatives;
  • people who want to learn more about how local government works and taxpayer dollars are utilized;
  • people who want to understand how democracy works at the local government level.

The participant outcomes include:

  • becoming an informed citizen who is in the know;
  • learning how local government works and how taxpayer dollars are utilized;
  • identifying what government departments can help, depending on local issues;
  • knowing where to direct civic energy in order to inspire change.
Join the more than 400 graduates of the Manhattan Citizens’ Academy!

There will not be a Citizens’ Academy session in 2022. Look for information on our 25th session next summer!


For more information about future Citizens’ Academy sessions, contact Public Information Officer Andrew Lawson at (785) 587-2410.


Citizens’ Academy consists of six evening sessions. The sessions typically are from 6 p.m. to approximately 9 p.m. All applicants are asked to commit to attend all sessions of the Academy. Additional information for each session will be provided regarding the itinerary and meeting location.

2021 Citizens' Academy Class Schedule - Thursday Evenings

Session 1 September 2
Governing the City: The role and relationship of the City Commission and city administration, advisory boards and committees, intergovernmental relations, overview of the finance department, and function of the legal department.
Session 2 CANCELED September 16 - CANCELED Infrastructure and Public Works: Overview of public works and tour of water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities. CANCELED
Session 3 September 30 Community and Economic Development: Tour sites of interest in the City of Manhattan and learn about economic development initiatives.
Session 4 October 14 Quality of Life and Parks & Recreation: Overview and tour of Parks & Recreation facilities.
Session 5 November 4 Public Safety: Tour and overview of Manhattan Fire Department and Riley County Police Department.
Session 6 November 18         Manhattan Regional Airport: Tour of the airport and Academy wrap up.
photo of people touring the fire department headquarters