One of my biggest passions in the MPA Program: MPA Council. Since the council is involved in so many areas of student life, it’s hard to fully describe it in a blog post. I’ll attempt to present a good overview of the group and if you have questions I haven’t answered, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section.
What is MPA Council?
Before I describe the Council, I am going to describe the MPA Program the way I currently see it. The MPA Program is composed of 4 groups: students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Each of these groups have a lot to offer the program, and there will come a time you need help from one of these groups, and it pays to have a variety of contacts in each group to get things done. One of the overall long term goals of MPA Council is to be a central body that facilitates communication between these four groups. I love diagrams, so I have drawn a diagram to illustrate this. For example, if the MPA Program Office had a new idea, and wanted to gage student interest, it could talk to the Council and the Council could gain insight from a large number of students. The Council’s overall mission is to create a community within the MPA Program. It is commonly interpreted that this means the Council provides MPA students to get to know each other in a variety of settings. This is true, but more than that, the Council is about establishing a community within the four aspects of the program I described earlier. In other words, the Council hopes to synergize the unique and extremely proficient skill sets and capabilities of each of these groups and use them to ensure our program is the best in the nation.
The council provides members with professional, academic, community service, and social events to participate in. Some of the events hosted this year include a boat party on Lake Austin, State of Accounting discussion with Dr. Lillian Mills, the Accounting Department’s Centennial Celebration with our lovely mascot Bevo, and a PhD panel (you can see pictures from our events here). Coming up we have Ethics Week, speakers for our distinguished speaker series, Faculty Appreciation Week.
Why did I join the Council?
I remember sitting at orientation listening to the professor panels, and professors saying how important it was to know your classmates for group cases and the importance of studying with classmates. I started freaking out, as I only know about 5 people on a speaking basis in the entire integrated class, and I was convinced I was going to fail everything. They talked about the Council at orientation, and I dove in so I could meet my fellow MPAs outside of the classroom. It was the best decision I have made in relation to my MPA degree. I have met so many people with distinct backgrounds and perspectives that I would never have been able to do in the classroom. It’s also provided me so many opportunities and resources within the MPA Program I don’t think I otherwise would have had.
What is my favorite part about the Council?
My personal favorite event of the Council is Member’s only Monday. One Monday a month, the Council provides its members with bagels, breakfast burritos, and coffee. It’s a come and go event, but it’s nice to sit in between classes with lovely MPAs and have a delicious free breakfast!