School of Public Affairs hosts next generation of public servants

The University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs (SPA) hosted 30 undergraduate students from across the United States for its CU Denver Public Service Weekend held June 7–10. The students represented 17 majors related to public service and administration and 26 colleges and universities. For the second year in a row, SPA was selected by the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) to serve as the host institution for this prestigious conference, which serves to “increase the participation and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups at the highest level of public sector leadership.”

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This year’s conference theme was “A Mile High Ascent to Public Service.” The 30 students were selected by the PPIA through a highly competitive application process that included articulating the most pressing public policy issues facing their generation.

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Programming for the conference included a visit to the State Capitol, hearing from speakers representing state and local government — including Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Colorado, and Rep. James Coleman (HD7), D-Colorado — and participating in a workshop that challenged students to propose solutions for a town’s opioid crisis.

“I heard from inspiring speakers representing a variety of public service careers, networked with leaders in diverse fields and made connections with fellow student changemakers from across the country. Thank you to CU Denver and #PPIA for putting together this impactful conference!”

— Nikki Hinshaw
Student of Communication / Political Science
Barrett, The Honors College, Arizona State University

Students also networked with SPA faculty and subject experts to learn more about and discuss prevalent policy issues for the State of Colorado and beyond, including legalization of Marijuana (Lecturer Lewis Koski), Immigration Policy [Beauty Jobe (MPA ’16) Academic Services Professional, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz], Gentrification (Associate Professor Todd Ely), Affordable Housing (Assistant Professor Geoff Propheter) and Environmental Policy (Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Tanya Heikkila).

A panel of public servants shared their thoughts on what it means to be in public service; public service leadership and ethics; and educational and career pathways into the field of public service.

(View the full list of speakers and their bios.)

“I am so thankful for PPIA and the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs for an amazing weekend learning about public policy and service! The speakers and staff were inspiring, and I am so excited to continue serving my community using the lessons I learned.”

 — Roma Venkateswaran
Student of Public Policy / Visual & Performing Arts
University of Texas at Dallas

For many of the students, this was their first visit to Colorado. They had the opportunity to explore the city and to attend a Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game at Coors Field in downtown Denver.

SPA is inspired by this extraordinary group of future public servants and was honored to host the conference on behalf of PPIA. SPA would also like to thank and recognize the conference sponsors: 



Categories: Events, Features

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