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SPIA Students Form an Undergraduate Student Society

The School of Public and International Affairs Student Society was formed in October 2020 by a few SPIA students who met in UAP 1004: Introduction to Careers in Urban Affairs and Planning class. The idea came from Professor Ralph Hall and Advisor Chris LaPlante, who had envisioned the potential for an undergraduate student organization like this and had been trying to get something off the ground for a few years. Several students took charge and went through the formal process to get the organization approved.

The main goals of the society are to foster a sense of community among SPIA students as well as to provide networking and career opportunities. The We organization hopes that the society will become an outlet for community service and an opportunity for students to collectively have a voice in the school’s strategic focus areas and research. The officers of the student society hope that it will serves as a place where SPIA students can come together to serve the community and make the school their own. Currently, there is no clear way for students to voice their concerns and opinions and the society gives them a place to be heard by the SPIA and Virginia Tech faculty and administrators.

We are currently building the framework of the society, strengthening bonds between students, and trying to grow membership. In the future, we hope to hold networking events as well as hosting our own career fair – one that is specifically catered to our students. We want this society to be one that fosters discussion and hears the voices and ideas of all.

Here are the bios of officers:                                              

President - Amy Lynne Denny
Amy Lynne Denny is a junior majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning. She has a particular interest in the intersection between economically feasible and environmentally sustainable community planning. Her main goal for the SPIA Student Society is that it will connects students to each other and the faculty and that the community built within extends past graduation.

Vice President – Kevin Jenks
Kevin Jenks is a sophomore majoring in Smart and Sustainable Cities and he looks forward to working on projects that specifically relate to sustainable land usage and development. His main goal for the SPIA Student Society is that it to provides each member with the resources and connections they need to be successful post-graduation.  

Treasurer – Kelsey Drake 
Kelsey Drake is a Navy Veteran and a jJuniorjunior majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning and minoring in Spanish. Their major interests are gGlobal sSustainable dDevelopment and iInternational pPolicy. They want to help shape the SPIA Student Society into a community for the betterment of students, faculty, and alumni. 

Secretary – Rachel Inman
Rachel Inman is a sophomore majoring in Smart and Sustainable Cities and minoring in Landscape Architecture. Her main interests are in sustainable design and development, green infrastructure, and urban analytics. Her main goal for the SPIA Student Society is to help connect SPIA students with each other, faculty, and other industryother professionals.