APA Student Representatives Council

Outstanding Planning Student Organization (PSO) Awards

2015 Outstanding PSO Award Winners

Congratulations to Cornell University's Design Connect and San Jose State University's Urban Planning Coalition, winners of the 2015 Outstanding PSO Awards. An honorable mention award goes to the University of Central Florida's Emerging Urban Knights Planning Association for its "Technical Skills Workshop Series."

These student organizations will be recognized at the 2015 APA National Planning Conference in Seattle.

Design Connect, Cornell University

Design Connect, The First Five Years: Case Studies and Impact

Project: The student organization Design Connect provides design and planning services to local upstate NY communities in need. The organization has worked on community service projects in several communities over the last five years. Each project involves public participation and community outreach where students organize and conduct meetings with community leaders and the general public. In addition to meeting with community leaders, students work on behalf of residents in producing professional quality reports and design proposals. The deliverables and final designs that multi-disciplinary teams produce are of value to local communities who would otherwise lack the resources needed to work on these projects. The organization is managed by an administrative board of directors that is entirely comprised of students. Since 2009, Design Connect has worked in over 22 local communities and has involved hundreds of students from 16 different academic fields. Planning students help introduce students from other academic disciplines to community outreach methods and practices and put in to practice the skills they learn in the classroom.

Urban Planning Coalition, San Jose State University

Fall Symposium: Boomers and Millennials

Project: The Urban Planning Coalition (UPC) organized and hosted its annual Fall Symposium on October 18, 2014. The Symposium is one of the UPC's richest traditions, providing a full-day conference and open forum for students and professionals to engage in a current planning topic together. This year, the Symposium was titled, "Boomers & Millennials: Planning for Changing Demographics in the Bay Area", bringing together students, alumni and professionals to discuss a planning topic critical for the success of future communities.

Design Connect and the Urban Planning Coalition will each receive $1,125 in donation from our sponsoring APA divisions. Thank you to these divisions and to the volunteers who served on this year's jury: 

2015 Award Fund Contributors

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.


Monica Groh
Director of Emerging Professionals