April 24, 2017

After publishing its first print edition in November last year, the Columbia Public Policy Review is working to raise its visibility further.

The review, known as CPPR, was established as a student group in Spring 2015 to provide a forum for students to discuss and analyze domestic public policy issues. Founders like Jen Kim MPA’16, a concentrator in Urban and Social Policy, envisioned a forum for discussing issues that impact students attending SIPA and living in New York City. Among these are public safety, healthcare, voter engagement, and other U.S. domestic policy issues.

“While our diversity is one of our greatest assets at SIPA, we believe it’s important for all students to be engaged in the greater New York City community while attending graduate school,” said Erin Dostal Kuller MPA ’17, a former president of the organization who led its inaugural publication. “Our goal is to engage students in the issues of national and local importance that matter to them.

“We should be not only aware of, but actively involved in our local communities while we’re here,” she added.

For three academic years CPPR has hosted events relevant to a particular domestic policy issue, while also providing an online forum to enable dialogue about the same. In spring 2015, for example, CPPR hosted a forum about paid sick leave in New York City, and in spring 2016 a forum about women in New York politics. Last week the current board hosted an event on President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, entitled “Democracy Between Elections.”

In Summer 2015, CPPR secured a donation from an external donor that made the publication of a print journal possible.

“The idea was to create a journal that was less formal and more like a magazine—something appealing, something that students could contribute to, something open-ended that would encourage dialogue on campus,” Kuller said.

Articles in the first issue touched on various subjects including urban leadership, polling, LGBTQ issues, and even sartorial politics. Christina Greer, a visiting professor of international and public affairs, was one contributor; Michael Nutter, the David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice (and former eight-year mayor of Philadelphia) was featured in a Q&A.

“The only requirement for articles was that they addressed matters of domestic policy,” said Natasha Avanessians MPA ’17, the former vice president and treasurer. “People can share material from class, policy memos —there’s a lot of flexibility.”

Joined by current board members—including editor in chief Marc Dominianni MPA ’18, president Kelsey Kearns MPA ’18,  vice president Alexandrea Logan MPA ’18, and others—the former CPPR officials want students to view its website as a place for submissions on a continuous basis.

“CPPR's goals in 2017 are primarily focused on increasing visibility and building excitement,” Dominianni said. “We are hosting a great event, engage SIPA students (and others) in U.S. domestic policy discussion. In addition, we are aiming to have another issue with our feature articles in print. Finally, we are establishing a drumbeat of articles to go onto our website to ensure our online presence is active and up to date.”

The current board is seeking funding for its second issue. Keep an eye out for more to come!