Student Planning Association (SPA)
The Student Planning Association (SPA) is a student-run organization within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. All students in the URP program are eligible members and are encouraged to become involved throughout the year. Students in SPA are offered a variety of professional development opportunities and organize several social events each semester.
Many SPA members take advantage of joining the San Felasco Section of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, which is the local section of the American Planning Association, a national professional organization to which many planners belong. Through the San Felasco Section, students are able to meet with and learn from professional planners in the local area by attending lectures, meetings, and socials.
SPA has implemented a mentoring program within URP to connect 1st year students with the 2nd year students who share the same specialization. This provides the newer students with a person to ask for advice on classes. A branch of the mentoring program involves an Informational Session for incoming or future prospective URP students. The program introduces prospective students to the URP faculty and provides an opportunity to learn about the program and ask questions. SPA also produces a newsletter for the URP students featuring planning articles, highlighting professor achievements, informing students about upcoming events and getting the word out about what SPA is doing. SPA helps to coordinate the Department’s end of the year banquet and recognizes an Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, voted on by the students.
SPA members volunteer to help plan and assist at the Florida Chapter of the APA Annual State Conference, which will be held in Jacksonville, FL in 2014. Through SPA, students are assisted with funds to attend such conferences and take trips to learn about planning and design in other cities. Recently visited were the cities of Orlando, FL and Atlanta, GA. The 2014 National APA Conference will be hosted in Seattle, WA.
2014-2015 is a special year for SPA, as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Urban and Regional Planning department at UF. The department will be hosting special events with special guests, alumni, faculty, and keynote speakers to celebrate the success of the program. As an Urban and Regional Planning Student, you are highly encouraged to be involved with the Student Planning Association for a more well-rounded graduate school experience, as well as exposure with professionals in the field and current trends in Florida.
Feel free to request to join the Student Planning Association group page on Facebook to be up-to-date with events and meetings, and to contact a SPA officer for more information.
2014-2015 SPA Officers
Natalia Neira, President
Ken Weyrauch, Vice President
Erin Minnigan, Secretary
Binbin Peng, Treasurer
Scott Rothberg, FAPA Representative
Luke Tia, GSC Representative
Dan Zhu, Social co-Chair
Kimberly Vacca, Social co-Chair