Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Generation Y is generally known for its contributions to human rights issues, political perspectives, and devotion to public service, among other attributes. If you have an interest in some or all of these areas, consider pursuing a public administration program academically. Several universities nationwide have adopted public service or public administration programs as a means for students to learn further about the nonprofit sector, public policy, and prevalent cultural discussions. By pursuing a love of service and community in the academic sphere, millennials can engage with one another in an open forum and intellectually reflect on these pertinent aspects of American society.

In fact, why limit this to just the United States? You can, in following the curriculum of a public service program, become more open to global, internationally-spanning concepts. Think about it: hunger, poverty, foreign policy. This isn’t political science, but an area of academics that asks students to question the world around them and analyze potential solutions to current ills. To put it simply: if you consider yourself a diehard, active, concerned and curious member of Gen Y, take a public service course (or two, or three, or four…).

Take UC San Diego, for example. Its public service minor is centered on the hope that students will “understand the history and practices of public service and to participate in the development of civic skills.” This program primes USCD students to become critical, analytical thinkers and delve into educational, governmental, and social issues that exist in our society. Like most public service programs, the minor requires a course on public policy–perfect for those who look to pursue philanthropic work in the future. Who knows? Taking a course similar to this one could spark that interest in anyone, whether they be an engineer or an economics major. This is what makes public service programs so relevant: they’re applicable to any type of learner, personality, and student. Aspiring doctors, lawyers, writers, and politicians can all gain valuable knowledge in pursuing a service-oriented minor program. It’s all about exploring our participation as citizens in the world.

Perhaps the most interesting part about public service undergraduate programs is that they can potentially be pursued further at the graduate level. Many of the colleges and universities that offer public service minors offer Masters degrees in public administration–Villanova is a great example of this. If your school is no such participant in this dual undergraduate/graduate offering, fear not! In fact, public service programs are far more common at the graduate level. So no matter what you major in, pursuing this at a higher level may be a solid option. Keep it in mind!

Ultimately, Gen Y is known as a group of committed global citizens who care about the Earth and those who inhabit it. If you feel a propensity toward making a change in any way, perhaps a public service program is right for you. Again, even taking a handful of courses as an undergraduate in  fields like the nonprofit sector, or educational reform can enhance your knowledge of some pretty interesting and pertinent facets of our culture. Coupling this academic experience with the lessons learned within a particular major can not only better shape students intellectually, but bolster their resumes. Think about it: having a solid academic foundation and the cultural conscientiousness that’s provided from a public service program can make for some intriguing job interviews. Showing an awareness of current events and the debates, financial concepts, and consequences behind them makes for an impressive candidate in any walk of life.

Getting involved in philanthropic efforts on your college campus is an excellent way to initiate change, no matter the cause. Choosing to devote your time to an extracurricular event is invaluable in many respects, including meeting people who share a similar desire to make a difference. Looking into a public service program can enhance both your interests and efforts as an undergraduate. It can alter your perspective on issues and concepts on which you may have believed to hold a firm stance. It can shape the way by which you choose to live, and it can open your eyes to important questions that need to be asked as our society evolves.

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