Lead for the greater good at IU

Indiana University has a reputation as a world class research university with top quality academic programs. Without a doubt, incoming students have heard of the Kelley School of Business, the many opportunities through the College of Arts and Sciences, or the renowned Jacobs School of Music. 

So what is SPEA?

SPEA is the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Wedged between the Kelley School and the Wells house on 10th street, it is easy to overlook. What's ironic is that this unprepossessing building is home to second highest rated graduate policy school in the country, beating out schools like Harvard and Princeton. It is also one of the only undergraduate policy schools in the country. But public and environmental affairs is a broad field and because of this not many incoming freshman hear about the programs offered at SPEA until they have already begun the first semester.

Basically, SPEA grooms the leaders of tomorrow, and I don't mean politicians. Public policy is for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community or in the world. It's for anyone with a diverse set of interests, from education policy and public health to law and human resources. It's for anyone who has ever wanted to work for non-profit group, start their own non-profit group, manage a hospital, or support the arts. Clearly there is something for almost anyone. For a list of all of SPEA's undergraduate degree programs with descriptions and major requirements, go to http://www.indiana.edu/~spea/prospective_students/undergrad/degrees/

SPEA Career and Study Abroad

It doesn't stop there. The school has all the necessary resources to help students succeed. Starting with the academic advisers. SPEA has a team of specially trained academic advisers who are experts on school requirements and will help plan students' schedules and answer any questions. SPEA is also proud to host its own Career Development Office and Study Abroad Office. The Career Development Office can help students tailor a resume, prepare for an interview, find internship and job opportunities, and they offer networking events where students can get connected with alumni and other professionals in the field. At the Study Abroad Office, they do just what anyone might think. But unlike the general IUB study abroad programs, SPEA Abroad programs are tailored to the needs of SPEA students with relevant topics and credits that count towards certain majors. Go to Greece to study classical democratic institutions, to Rwanda to study post-conflict development, or to Oxford to learn about international security.

SPEA Student Organizations

I have barely scratched the surface. SPEA is the sponsor of undergraduate programs like debate, Model UN, and student run initiatives like the Undergraduate Policy Student Organization, where students and faculty meet to discuss important policy issues. They also sponsor the recently developed Civic Leaders Living Learning Community of which I am a part. For people who want to come into college knowing they will be surrounded with a group of like-minded people, Civic Leaders is a great place. The LLC members live on the second and third floors of the newly renovated Briscoe residence hall and the community is not only for SPEA students. I live with people majoring in business, political science, journalism, international studies, and even informatics. Civic Leaders get to take a class together in a Briscoe classroom which offers the advantage of small class size and they get to attend lectures with speakers from a variety of fields. The program is run by Professor Paul Helmke, a Yale law school graduate and former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana. For interested students, I would highly suggest contacting the LLC for a tour of SPEA and Briscoe while visiting the university or visiting Emily Batman who is in charge of undergraduate recruiting.

But above all, SPEA is for the passionate. For me, it was a senior year constitutional government class that helped me decide my college path. I loved government theory, current events, international relations, and want to somehow make a difference in the world. If that sounds familiar, SPEA is the place. Come see for yourself.

Study in the four level SPEA commons.
There is always plenty of discussion, debate, and activity going on here.

SPEA was built in 1972 and it is definitely noticeable from the interior décor.
It gives the building a funky yet comfortable atmosphere.

About The Author
Meghan PoffLaw and Public Policy major, Class of 2018

Hello, my name is Meghan Poff and I am studying law and public policy at SPEA with a minor in history and international studies. I'm a Cox Exploratory Scholar, member of the Hutton Honors College and Civic Leaders LLC. In my downtime from being a social justice warrior I like writing, reading, and listening to public radio.