Volume 22

Spring 2024 Edition

From the Editors

Dear Reader,

We would like to officially welcome you to Ethics, Events, and Eras: Nine Decades of SPA! As a Board, we could not be prouder of the submissions we have received and the work that has gone into the production of the Public Purpose Journal’s Twenty-Second Print Edition. The School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University has worked with the Public Purpose Journal for the last twenty-two school years to give students the space to explore issues relevant to public affairs and allow us to grow as writers and as people. Without the continued support from the Graduate Student Council, the faculty, and administration of SPA, we would not be writing to you today. We thank you for your ever-constant support and hope we make you proud. 

For this year, we chose the theme Ethics, Events, and Eras: Nine Decades of SPA. Nine decades, ninety years of SPA, wow, doesn’t she look great? In those nine decades, our country and our world has changed. The first SPA might not recognize us now, but we do hope she would be happy. We have grown as students, as a school in those ninety years, and this print edition explores some of those changes. But as with any change, it is never done. The talented authors in this work have explored some very important policy areas, highlighting the history, the ‘eras’ of policy change, but continue to push us forward, to challenge us. Our writers are fearless, suggesting policy ideas that have never been thought up, but just might be what we need to make change for the future. 

The topics in our Journal cover so many areas, from carbon pricing to free public transportation and including the economic value of sports stadiums. They delve into policy theories like rational choice and social safety nets, explore front-page topics like sea level rise and gun reform, and propose solutions never thought of, but supported by key evidence and statistical analysis only taught at SPA. Our authors are masterminds of their craft, and we cannot express in words how thankful we are to have worked with them. They challenged us with their works, and we know that they will go on to be the change makers and policy wonks that SPA envisions for its students.

We also want to thank the members of the Faculty Review Board and the administration for continuing to support us and our work. Without your guidance and encouragement, the Public Purpose Journal would not continue to publish print editions year after year. It is a testament to your knowledge and academic prowess that we have been here for twenty-two years, and we hope to be here for 22 more. 

As you read through these pieces, remember what has gotten you here. Remember the nine decades that led to SPA and the Public Purpose Journal, remember this moment, and remember all that still must be done. We invite you to learn, to grow, and become a part of the Public Purpose Journal family. Are you ready for it?


Subiksha Ramakrishnan, Emma Craig, & Carsen Lennon

Editor-in-Chief | Managing Print Editor | Associate Print Editor