APA Student Representatives Council

Outstanding Planning Student Organization (PSO) Awards

Deadline: December 11, 2014

About the Awards

Planning Student Organizations (PSOs) throughout the country are involved in exciting and creative activities that enliven student life, contribute to their communities, and provide enhanced educational experiences for the students. This awards program provides a means for student groups to share their ideas, learn from one another, and receive recognition (and rewards!) for creative, successful activities.

The APA Student Representatives Council (SRC) Executive Committee designed this awards program to:

  • promote students' volunteer involvement in their student organization, communities, and state chapters;
  • recognize the outstanding efforts of these student groups;
  • identify best practices in student organizations; and
  • strengthen the ties between student organizations and the American Planning Association

Awards in each category will include a monetary contribution to school's PSO to fund its activities. Funding is provided by APA divisions. The award will be presented during the annual APA National Planning Conference.


Only APA-registered PSOs with a qualified (APA member) Student Representative are eligible for this awards program to submit projects, activities and events implemented during the previous and current academic years (August 1, 2013, to deadline).

Entry must be a PSO-sponsored project or program; individual, class, or planning program projects are not eligible.


Within each category, the jury considers:

  • Support of planning: How the activity/project supports planning, the planning movement, or planning students
  • Contribution: How the student group, community, or chapter benefited from the activity/project
  • Innovation: Innovative use of existing or newly created opportunities (e.g., collaborating with another group/organization; addressing a specific need or emerging planning issue (i.e., sustainability, Smart Growth, etc.), etc.

Award Categories

Don't limit your thinking to the lists below each category. These are simply suggestions and examples just to get you thinking in new directions. The jury may use its discretion to move an entry to another category.

Involvement with State Chapter

Fostering student involvement with state/regional APA chapter

  • Use Chapter leaders and members as speakers/participants in PSO programming (new student orientations, meeting and mentorship programs, brown bag lunches, etc.)
  • Involve student volunteers in Chapter activities and programs
  • Advocate for student representation on Chapter committees or board
  • Develop student contributions to Chapter newsletters, conference sessions, etc.
  • Promote student participation in Chapter meetings/events

Community Outreach

Encouraging student volunteerism in the community

  • Projects – community gardens, transforming vacant lots, working with K-12 students, etc.
  • City government
  • Neighborhood organizations and other non-governmental agencies

Best Practice

Planning and implementing interesting, creative, and successful PSO programs and activities

  • Fund-raising
  • Programming (speakers at monthly meetings, career panels, etc.)
  • Networking
  • Mentorship programs
  • School involvement – curriculum review, certification process, etc.

National Community Planning Month

Planning and implementing activities to increase student and community awareness of planning

  • Displays
  • Events


The jury will be chaired by the SRC Immediate Past Chair

  • Divisions: A representative from each sponsoring division
  • PSO Student Representatives (3 to 5)

Committee members will recuse themselves as judges from any category in which their school has submitted an entry.

The jury is expected to make its decision in February/March 2015. Notifications will be sent to all applicants.

Award / Recognition

  • Monetary Award to PSO (funding from Sponsoring Divisions) and certificate presented during APA/AICP Annual Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony
  • APA's Interact e-newsletter
  • APA website

Submission Requirements

  1. School/Program/name of student organization
  2. Current APA-PSO Student Representative and contact information (primary contact for all correspondence concerning entry)
  3. Category in which the entry is being submitted
  4. Description of project, activity, event, etc. and how it fulfills the award criteria (200-300 words)
  5. Description of the planning process, implementation, and level of success (200-300 words)
  6. Letter(s) of Support (minimum of one letter): Chapter President, Faculty Advisor, agency/organization representative, as appropriate on school, chapter, or agency/organization letterhead; scan and submit with entry as .pdf, .jpg, or .gif files
  7. Images (promotional materials, event photos, etc.): submit with entry as separate .pdf, .jpg, or .gif files

How to Enter

Send entries to: Students@planning.org


Monica Groh
Director of Emerging Professionals