Mission Statement

The Public Purpose is an organization comprised of graduate students in American University’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) that aims to provide insightful perspectives on public policy issues and topics. The Public Purpose Journal was founded in 2002 at American University. 

We strive to produce relevant, thoughtful, and accessible insight on public policy issues through two published mediums: The Public Purpose Journal, a peer-reviewed academic journal and The Public Purpose website, which features articles written by SPA graduate students on timely public policy subjects.

We aim to make public policy analysis and research accessible to anyone that might be interested. We want to boil down complex policy issues to their fundamental levels, to demonstrate to our readers why they should be interested in the first place. As students in public administration, public policy, law, government, and justice and criminology, we analyze  complex policy issues and translate them for our readers in both print and online form.

Our Work Speaks Volumes

The Public Purpose produces two main publications:

  1. The Public Purpose Journal: The interdisciplinary academic journal of American University’s School of Public Affairs. The Public Purpose Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal that features research essays from SPA graduate students on a variety of public policy topics. The journal is printed annually in the spring.
  2. The Public Purpose website: A website that features short-form articles written by SPA graduate students on relevant public policy topics. Blog articles are written by both Public Purpose staff writers and guest writers from SPA. The blog is updated on rolling basis, and features new content throughout the academic school year.

The Public Purpose also co-hosts the SPA Policy Forum, a speaking event, along with the SPA Graduate Student Council (GSC) on an annual basis. The event is held in the spring on AU’s campus.

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