Congratulations to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, winners of the 2016 Outstanding Planning Student Organization (PSO) Awards! 

Honorable mention awards go to the University of California at Los Angeles for its Planners of Color for Social Equity and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for its Student Planning Organization (SPO).  These planning student organizations will all be recognized at the 2016 APA National Planning Conference in Phoenix for their accomplishments.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Planning Student Organization

Project: The PSO Chapter of IUP participated in and organized a series of community outreach activities in 2015, working with and raising awareness among local city government, neighborhood, businesses and non-governmental agencies. Highlights include: the Indiana University District (IUD) planning effort, a bike rally to raise the awareness of the Hoodlebug Trail extension, the New Kensington Better Block event, the Walk Works Program outreach at the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival, teaming up with KABOOM to build a playground in the Indiana Borough, building a parklet during National Community Planning Month, and supporting the APA Pennsylvania Chapter annual conference, among many others.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Planners' Forum and Carolina Planning Journal

Project: Students at Carolina Planning have been very busy this year organizing a series of initiatives to create a meaningful experience for its students. 

First, the Carolina Planning Journal published a print volume in May 2015 around the theme of "Planning for the New Economy." It also launched a new blog that features student, academic, and practitioner work called Carolina AnglesCarolina Angles publishes twice per week and has already attracted a wide readership of almost 2,000 unique visitors. 

Second, its inclusion group, Plan for All, hosted twelve events that engaged issues ranging from planning for LGBTQ folks, public engagement best practices, black planning history, hazard planning and equity, and more. The group hosted Durham Mayor Bill Bell for a conversation about race and poverty in September 2015. Plan for All members are also working with faculty to identify gaps in the curriculum relating to race, class, gender, and equity. 

Third, its Career Development Committee coordinated a number of events and resources to assist students in finding jobs and internships in the field, such as resume workshops and mock interview events. 

Lastly, its students organized a Fall Break Trip to Atlanta that connected Carolina Planning students with some of Atlanta's most exciting planners such as planner Ryan Gravel, who dreamed up Atlanta's Belt Line, Tim Keane, Atlanta's Planning Commissioner, and Nedra Deadwyler, founder of Civil Bikes.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will each receive $1,250 in donation from our sponsoring APA divisions. Thank you to these divisions and to the volunteers who served on this year's jury.

2016 Award Fund Contributors

City Planning and Management Division
County Planning Division 
Economic Development Division 
Federal Planning Division 
Housing & Community Development Division
Planning and Women Division 
Private Practice Division
Regional and Intergovernmental Division 
Small Town and Rural Planning Division
Urban Design & Preservation Division

2016 Jury

Thank you to this year's awards jury.  We appreciate their time and dedication to our student community.

Lisandro Orozco (chair)

Rodney Bohner

Kyle Flood

Megan Griffith, AICP

David Heinold

Derek Meyers, AICP

Darin Newman

Emily Risinger

Alice Walkup, AICP

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.

Previous Winners

Learn more about previous winners


Monica Groh
Director of Emerging Professionals