About Us

Mission Statement

The Public Purpose is an organization comprised of graduate students at American University’s School of Public Affairs (SPA) that provides insightful perspectives on public issues, politics, government, and public policy. The Public Purpose was founded in 2002 at American University in Washington, D.C. 

We strive to produce relevant, thoughtful, and accessible insight on issues in public affairs, politics, and public policy through two published mediums: The Public Purpose Journal, a peer-reviewed academic journal, and The Public Purpose Online Edition, featuring analysis, research, and commentary by SPA graduate students.

We aim to make political and policy analysis accessible to anyone that might be interested. By boiling down complex issues to their fundamental levels, we demonstrate to our readers why they should engage in public affairs. As graduate students and professionals of public administration; public policy; political science; government; and justice, law, and criminology, we analyze complex issues and translate them for our readers into both print and online forms.

Our Work Speaks Volumes

The Public Purpose produces two publications:

  1. The Public Purpose Journal is the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary academic journal of American University’s School of Public Affairs, featuring research and analysis from SPA graduate students on a variety of topics. The journal is published annually in the spring.
  2. The Public Purpose Online Edition features short-form articles on relevant public issues and policy topics. Articles are written by both PPJ staff and guest writers from SPA graduate programs. The website is updated on a rolling basis and features new content throughout the year.

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

Stay Connected

Follow the PPJ on social media and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest articles from the Online Edition, updates on PPJ events, and our annual call for Print Journal submissions.