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Student Involvement Opportunities

Carolina MPA students engage in transformational opportunities and experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.

There are a variety of clubs, organizations, social groups, and programs that students can join during the program. Students are encouraged to explore all engagement offerings and strategically plug into those that fit the personal and professional journey they are striving for. All of the below opportunities are available to students in both on-campus and online formats, though how they are offered will vary. A full list of Student Organizations can be found here. 

  • Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF)

    The Graduate and Professional Student Federation is the arm of student government that represents all UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students.

    Student government aims to achieve the following:

    • Advocate for improved campus and community resources to campus administrators and state and federal legislatures.
    • Collaborate with the university administration, faculty, staff, and undergraduate students to create policies that respond to the particular needs and interests of all graduate and professional students.
    • Connect graduate and professional students both socially and intellectually across disciplines.

    Interested in Getting Involved?

    • The MPA student body is allowed two student representatives to serve on the GPSF Senate to represent the interests of our program and students.
    • The first year student body will elect one student from their cohort to serve as the GPSF Senate Alternate. This Alternate will work with the second year Senator to represent the MPA program at the GPSF Senate. The first year that is elected by their cohort will then become the second year Senator during the second year of their program.
    • Please note, the student elected to the GPSF Senator position will also automatically serve as a member of the Student Leadership Council.
    • As this is an elected position, the campaigning rules are as follows:
      • The platform submitted and included on the ballot is the main part of the campaign.
      • If current students approach candidates with questions about their candidacy, they can answer them. Otherwise, candidates are not to initiate a conversation about their candidacy nor campaign in the formal sense.
      • No class time should be used to campaign.
      • Formal MPA listservs should not be used to campaign.

    Additional ways to get involved with GPSF can be found here.

  • Student Leadership Council

    The Student Leadership Councils (SLC) is a council of students who serve as the voice among MPA program administrators.

    Both the on-campus and online formats have their own body of SLC members. Students who serve on the SLC are expected to solicit feedback and information from their peers to bring to the group and share with program administrators.

    SLC members gain the following:

    • Valuable leadership experiences
    • Networking opportunities with faculty, staff, and fellow students
    • Skill development for future work with boards and nonprofits
    • Recognition at graduation for serving on the SLC

    Below is format-specific information regarding the roles and responsibilities of SLC members, the application process, and current contact information.

    • On Campus

      Overview & Purpose of the Student Leadership Council:

      The SLC’s main purpose is to represent the interests of the student body in the on-campus format of the MPA Program.

      Through the establishment of an elected student council, it shall provide a platform for the discussion of issues of student concern and act as the instrument by which student interest may be voiced to the administration of the Carolina MPA Program.

      Responsibilities of the Student Leadership Council:

      • Serve in a student advisory board capacity to program administrators, providing the student perspective where it will be helpful to inform program decisions.
      • Understand, prioritize, and advocate for the needs and interests of On-Campus Carolina MPA Students.
      • Collaborate with MPA Program Office administration and faculty to continuously and iteratively enhance the on-campus Carolina MPA student experience
      • Attend three “All-Hands” meetings per term. At least one of these meetings will include the MPA Program Director.
      • In advance of the “All-Hands” meetings, survey the current student body to ask for ideas on topics to bring forward at the SLC meetings for discussion.
      • Communicate “All-Hands” summary of outcomes to fellow on-campus MPA students.
      • Organize communication between master’s students and administration, including fielding and analyzing a comprehensive annual survey to capture current student concerns, and present the administration with ongoing student concerns as they arise.
      • Lead or assist with new initiatives undertaken.
      • Provide representation for the Carolina MPA program at the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) (this is in specific reference to the GPSF Senator elected position that also serves on the SLC).
      • This is a two-year commitment.

      Qualifications:

      • Good academic standing
      • Excited about the program
      • Committed to being an engaged member of the Student Leadership Council
      • Able to represent and communicate the diverse interests and perspectives of current MPA students in a constructive and productive manner

      Election Process:

      • The Student Leadership Council member is an elected position. The election will be in the form of an online ballot. Each first year class will elect two SLC members. Additionally, the elected GPSF Senator will automatically serve as the third SLC member.
      • Candidates self-nominate.
      • All first-year MPA students are eligible to vote for the SLC member position.
      • Greater than 50 percent of first-year student cohort must participate in the election vote for the results to be binding. The two students with the most votes wins the election.
      • Any ties in the SLC member election will be broken by the current second-year SLC members.
      • All elections shall be overseen by the MPA Program Office.
      • As this is an elected position, the campaigning rules are as follows:
        • The platform submitted and included on the ballot is the main part of the campaign.
        • If current students approach candidates with questions about their candidacy, they can answer them. Otherwise, candidates are not to initiate conversation about their candidacy nor campaign in the formal sense.
        • No class time should be used to campaign.
        • Formal MPA listservs should not be used to campaign.

      Questions or feedback for the SLC members?

    • Online

      The MPA@UNC Student Leadership Council works to guide programming, assist with marketing, and serve as the student voice to program administrators for the Carolina MPA program.

      The SLC for MPA@UNC meets each term with MPA Program Office staff. Notes from those meetings are shared broadly with the student body.

      Responsibilities of MPA@UNC SLC members Include:

      • Assist with programming:
        • Serve as panelists in webinar sessions for recruitment and current student programming
        • Lead the Happy Hour Series on the platform each term
        • Serve as a student ambassador for the program and speak with prospective applicants
      • Serve as informal mentors to current students early in the program
      • Serve in a student advisory board capacity to program administrators, providing the student perspective where it will be helpful to inform program decisions

      Communicate with the SLC! If current students have questions or feedback for the program that they do not wish to share directly with the program staff, we encourage them to contact one of the SLC members. They will meet regularly with MPA@UNC staff and can bring up any positive or constructive feedback that students would like to have shared. Contact information is provided below.

      Interested in joining?

      • Two times per year, each cohort that has not been a part of an application cycle will be sent information on how they can apply to become a member of the SLC. Two to three students will be selected from each applying cohort, so that we continue to have a good representation of students at different points in the program.

      Questions or feedback for the SLC members?

  • Alumni Mentor Program

    Carolina MPA alumni are a critical part of the success of the program. Frequently, alumni offer paths to internships/practicums or even employment. Alumni connect naturally with each other and stay in touch throughout their careers.

    The MPA Alumni Mentor program facilitates those connections in a more formal way by matching current MPA students with MPA alumni in a mentor/mentee relationship. Any student can apply to be a mentee. Matching occurs each year and the application typically opens late September - early October.

    To find additional information on the Carolina MPA Alumni Mentor program, visit this website.

  • Alumni Board Representatives

    Two current students from each format of the program are appointed to serve on the Carolina MPA Alumni Association Board.

    The responsibilities of these Alumni Board Representatives include:

    1. Attend Alumni Board meetings to provide the student perspective on agenda items. Student representatives are encouraged to speak and add to the conversation based on their own work experience as well.
    2. If a topic or concern arises for the Alumni Board to consider, the student alumni representative can request that an agenda item be placed on the formal agenda, as well as lead the discussion on that item.
    3. Provide the current student perspective during strategic vision discussions and brainstorming sessions.
    4. When necessary, facilitate a process with the entire student body in an effort to collect an even broader student perspective.
    5. Report back to the larger student body the themes and results of the meetings.

    Note: The Alumni Student Representative positions are ex-officio and do not vote during meetings.

    Current On-Campus Alumni Board Representatives:

    Current Online Alumni Board Representatives:

    Communication about when this student engagement opportunity arises will be sent to students via email. If you have specific questions in the interim, please contact Jamarian Monroe in the program office (MPA@UNC and on-campus students).

  • 2SG Social Groups

    MPA students are encouraged to join 2SG social groups to network with other students in the program.

    To find the existing social groups:

    • Login to 2SG
    • Click on "Groups" from the top blue menu bar
    • Select "My Social Groups" from the drop-down menu
    • Click on "Find a Social Group" beneath the profile picture in the upper left-hand corner
    • Search for groups using the search bar on the upper right-hand corner of the page

    Online students are strongly encouraged to join the social groups titled "Important Information" and "Career Services," so they don't miss important updates, and they are encouraged to search for more social groups based on interests and regions.

    Students who don't see any groups that fit their interests or region are encouraged to start a new group.

    Please contact Student Support at 855.672.8621 or at studentsupport@onlinempa.unc.edu with any questions.

  • The Graduate School

    The School of Government is housed under The Graduate School and therefore students in our program are able to take advantage of the services and resources that they offer. Additionally, this also means that our program has to implement the policies and procedures that The Graduate School defines for their academic programs.

    The Graduate School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides leadership to envision, shape and support the highest quality education for a diverse community of graduate students whose contributions will have global impact.

    Through research, teaching and public service, graduate education generates knowledge and innovative solutions that address critical societal needs. Graduate students and alumni improve lives through their leadership, professional expertise and civic engagement in North Carolina and beyond.

    There are a variety of resources, services, and professional development opportunities offered by The Graduate School for students. A few of these are noted below:

    • UNC-Chapel Hill University-Wide Organizations

      The university also has a number of university-wide student organizations and events that play a vital role in enhancing the student experience.

      The Office of Student Organizations:

      • The Office of Student Organizations works with all student organizations to facilitate their use of University resources and to empower students in their provision of services, programs, and activities that enhance the academic experience, extend learning, and build community here at Carolina.
      • A comprehensive list of organizations registered at Carolina can be found here.
    • UNC Events Calendar

      View the UNC Events Calendar to see events happening all across campus.

      Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF):

      The Graduate and Professional Student Federation is the arm of student government that represents all UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and professional students.

  • Diversity and Student Success

    The Graduate School Diversity Mission:

    Diverse experiences, backgrounds, viewpoints, and contributions are key elements for the success of any enterprise. The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to sustaining a diverse graduate student body and fostering a climate of inclusion and acceptance. The Graduate School broadly defines diversity. We aim to contribute to the successful degree completion of each student through targeted academic and professional development programs.

    Diversity Initiatives:

    The Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success program has implemented several initiatives across campus for the success of our graduate student body. Recognizing the intersectionality of identity, students are welcome to take advantage of as many initiatives as appropriate.

    Professional Development Program:

    The Graduate School Professional Development Program provides a full range of training opportunities and resources to graduate students. Through our programming, we prepare students for career success as innovative future leaders. It is our mission to ensure students have the skills they need to succeed professionally as well as academically.

    Our program provides the key skills that all graduate students need before completing their degree with foundational skills in: communication, academic development (scholarship, teaching & mentorship), leadership & professionalism, and career development. Our workshops are designed to be interactive and hands-on and not information transmission, thus we do not record or provide webinars of the sessions unless otherwise stated.

    See the Events link for calendar and registrations.

If you have questions on Student Engagement Opportunities,
please contact Jamarian Monroe.