The Public Policy Undergraduate Student Association (PPUSA), affectionately known as “PAPUSA” to members, is a new student organization. Although the PUBP graduate program has had an informal association for years, that same support did not previously exist for undergraduate students.
This changed last semester when PUBP student advisor Alexis Fontaine announced that a new student organization would be created to serve student needs.
Elections took place at the end of the fall semester and after a run off for a few positions was held, the cabinet was announced: President Amanda Bock, third-year PUBP, Vice President Anoushka Gandotra, first-year PUBP, Secretary Chloe Satterfield, second-year PUBP, Director of Marketing Natasha Pietak-Walsh, second-year PUBP, and Director of Event Operations Noemi Carrillo, third-year PUBP.
While Tech is better known for its STEM programs, the Technique spoke to the liberal arts-based organization to see what they are doing to better support its students and how the organization has been functioning to date.
In order to do so, the Technique interviewed Gandotra and Satterfield. It is important to note that while the association is within the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (IAC), students of all majors, minors and disciplines can join.
Both Gandotra and Satterfield agreed that the overall goal of the organization is to assist in the academic and professional development of PUBP students during their time at the Institute, including their transition into the workforce and post-secondary education.
Satterfield explained that “we hope to foster a closer-knit community within [the] School of Public Policy (SPP) and the rest of the university to increase the presence of our programs on campus,” emphasizing the organization’s goal to balance both providing support for PUBP students and the broader campus — creating a safe space for all.
Gandotra explained that she joined the association, “to become more involved in Public Policy at GT, and to share with other students my experience as a newer student.”
Similarly, Satterfield also cited that forming community relations was a big reason for joining and elaborated.
“Even though the liberal arts community is small compared to other schools, it can still be difficult to meet people with schedules very different from yours. Being a founding member certainly helped me find that community I was looking for and begin helping others find that as well!,” she said.
Despite being a young student organization, the association has begun hosting events to serve the community, including an introductory meet-and-greet during the beginning of the semester.
Students were encouraged to come out and get to know one another as well as meet officers for the first time.
Both officers referenced the meet-and-greet as one of their favorite events, as “there was a great turnout and it was fun getting to watch people build new relationships!,” Satterfield said.
Gandotra agreed, saying “[it] went well and a lot of happy and new faces have joined the organization since!” Satterfield expressed that she hoped her impact thus far had been positive on students.
“It is rewarding to be able to organize events and programs that can bring some peace to students that might be looking to make friends or register for classes for
the first time alone,” she said.
Bettering the community also means providing opportunities for officers to hone their skills and gain new ones, which both members explained that their roles in the association have helped them to do.
Gandotra believed that her leadership skills and general understanding of how student organizations at the Institute are operated have greatly improved as a result of joining the organization.
Satterfield also spoke on her experience, saying, “the primary skill that I was able to develop is large project management. There are a lot of moving parts that go into planning an event for the community and it can be difficult to keep up with them all.”
Speaking more directly on her role as secretary, she continued, “I have to keep track of most of these details and ensure that they are properly communicated. I also think effective written communication has been a skill this organization has helped me strengthen!”
In terms of the future, Gandotra explained that much of the up-front work has been done this semester, and she is “extremely excited for our future events, especially next year when we have more time and aren’t worried about back end work that needs to be done.”