Urban Studies & Planning Student Organizations

Student Planning Association

The Student Planning Association (SPA) is an organization of students working toward a Master of Community Planning (M.C.P.) degree in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland. Its primary function is to promote student involvement in the continued development of the planning program and profession, but it also provides a casual atmosphere in which students, faculty, and staff can interact socially as well as intellectually.

The SPA:

  • Functions as a liaison between faculty and students, and attends monthly faculty meetings

  • Serves as the "voice" for the URSP student population

  • Plans student social activities and promotes educational activities and lectures on campus and in the region

  • Works to strengthen the connection between current students and program alumni

  • Coordinates activities with the university's Graduate Student Government

  • Plans the URSP student trip to the American Planning Association's annual conference, held each spring

  • Appoints student representatives to attend APA meetings of the National Capital Area Chapter, and the Maryland Chapter

Officers are elected each spring to replace those who are graduating. If you are thinking about running for office, and would like more information about the duties involved, please contact any of the current officers.

Maggi Currier, President
Elle Provolo, Secretary
Khairun Fahmi, Executive Board Member
John Abu, Executive Board Member
Eben Amanguah, Executive Board Member
Tom Suchecki, Executive Board Member
Tayo Taiwo, Executive Board Member

Ariel Bierbaum, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies & Planning

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Other Organizations

American Planning Association (APA) is a non-profit public interest and research organization representing 30,000 practicing planners, officials, and citizens involved with urban and rural planning issues. The organization has 46 regional chapters and 17 divisions of specialized planning interests. The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is APA's professional and educational component, certifying planners who have met specific educational and experiential criteria and passed the certification. First year students receive a free year of membership to APA. Other full-time students interested in planning are eligible to join APA at a reduced cost. It's the best way to establish a solid professional foundation at the very beginning of your career. The New Planner, an online newsletter written by and for planning students, discusses what your peers are doing around the country. Chapter meetings and other functions foster networking and learning about planning in the real world. When you submit your membership form, remember to also join your local APA chapter, either the National Capital Area Chapter, or the Maryland Chapter.

Graduate Student Government (GSG) ensures that University of Maryland graduate concerns and opinions are represented on campus. The goals of GSG are to provide a measure of independent attention to university policies and services that affect graduate students, emphasize and encourage the growth of departmental grad organizations, and encourage a greater sense of community among graduate students. You are invited to social events organized by the GSG; there are several each semester.

University Senate provides an opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and administrators to participate in campus governance. The primary function of the senate is to advise the president on "virtually all campus policy matters and concerns, including but not limited to: education, budget, personnel, campus-community, long range plans, facilities, and faculty, staff and student affairs (subject to the limitations imposed by laws or mandates from the University of Maryland System Board of Regents or the Chancellor)”.