ACSP Welcomes Awais Azhar as the New Student Governing Board Representative
Monday, March 11, 2019
ACSP welcomes Awais Azhar as our new Student Governing Board Representative! Awais is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin. His term begins this spring and he will hold the position until Spring 2021.
“I am honored to serve as a student representative on the ACSP Governing Board and want to thank President Wu and President-elect Boarnet for appointing me” noted Awais on being asked if he was excited. “I am deeply committed to the mission of the ACSP and hope to support the work of my colleagues in the planning academy and profession as a student representative.”
Awais was nominated by current student representative Elham “Ellie” Masoomkhah, a doctoral student at Clemson University, as well as outgoing student representative Mary Wolfe, a doctoral candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill. Ellie will continue to serve alongside Awais over the next year, as they both continue the work of engaging international students that was being carried out by Mary and Ellie. As outgoing student representative, Mary told Awais, “I think you will truly enjoy this opportunity as much as I have” and Awais has no doubt about that!
Awais currently serves as Dean’s Ambassador at the University of Texas School of Architecture, working to ensure that students joining the planning field feel welcome and supported. He also serves on the City of Austin’s Community Development Commission and on the leadership team of the Austin Housing Coalition. He has been working on affordable housing advocacy in Austin for over five years and hopes this work can allow him to support ACSP’s mission of “extending planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.”
When asked about his goals as student rep, Awais shared, “I would like to focus on working closely with existing diversity and inclusion efforts at ACSP to ensure that we can create an inclusive planning academy that is diverse in its membership, its planning efforts, and its engagement with non-planners. Planning, as a profession and as an area of study, is capable of transforming communities around the globe, and creating just urban and rural environments. It is up to the planning academy to help materialize this far-reaching vision, and the ACSP plays a key role in this effort. As a student representative, I wish to support the Governing Board in its efforts in engaging with critical planning issues and creating an inclusive academy.”
Last year, when Ellie was asked the same question she explained, “I believe we international planning students need to be at the table in planning forums and open the doors of communication with our American peers. This is my first and foremost agenda as the student representative of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.” As an international student himself, Awais is excited to join Ellie in continuing this work.
ACSP is eager to welcome Awais to the leadership fold and looks forward to working with him in the coming years!