Deadline to apply: December 8, 2016

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, 2015, to deadline).

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

Award Categories

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

Note: only one category may be selected.  The jury may consider moving the submission to another category if deemed appropriate.  The program contacts will be notified before doing so.


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.


The jury will be chaired by the SRC Immediate Past Chair, to include:

  • 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.

Award / Recognition

  • Monetary Award to PSO (funding from sponsoring APA divisions) and certificate presented during the National Planning Conference
  • APA's Interact e-newsletter
  • APA website


Submission Requirements

  • School/Program/name of student organization
  • Current APA-PSO Student Representative and contact information (primary contact for all correspondence concerning entry)
  • Category in which the entry is being submitted (only one may be selected)
  • Description of project, activity, event, etc. (100-200 words)
  • Description of how it fulfills the award criteria (100-200 words)
  • Description of the planning process, implementation, and level of success (200-300 words)
  • 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
  • Images (promotional materials, event photos, etc.): submit with entry as separate .pdf, .jpg, or .gif files

How to Submit

Submit award information as attachments in one email to with "PSO Award-[NAME OF SCHOOL]" as the email subject.


Previous Winners

Learn more about previous winners


Monica Groh
Director of Emerging Professionals