Our Mission

Who We Are

The Friends of Planning is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization who supports the graduate planning degree program at the University of Arizona (UA) by providing scholarship funds, student awards and opportunities for practical application of planning skills.  The organization was formed in 2006 by five local planning professionals (most were graduates of the Planning program) who wanted to enhance scholarship opportunities for students who might otherwise not be able to enroll in the program, serve as mentors and share their local planning knowledge.

The Friends of Planning organization continues to assist in ensuring the strength and longevity of the graduate planning degree program at the University of Arizona.  In return, we feel the students will enhance the quality and availability of professional urban, community and environmental planning resources throughout Arizona.



To advocate for the graduate planning degree program at the University of Arizona by providing scholarships and student awards; convey the importance of planning to the community; and giving students practical experience.


  • To award scholarships to graduate students
  • To mentor graduate students
  • To advocate and support the planning degree program

Class Presentations / Office Hours:image001 - Copy

Friends of Planning (FOP) works with students to bring practical planning lessons to the classroom.  Holding regular office hours with professional planners is one way the students can network or get advice about the planning profession.  During the 2016 spring semester students asked if FOP would include a site planning practicum during the scheduled office hour time.  This gave us the opportunity to bring in a handful of professional planners from the Town of Marana to work through a few real-world examples of site planning.  The turnout was impressive and it left the students hungry for more of these types of interactions.  This fall, FOP will organize two practicums on separate topics that the students have shown interest in learning more about.  We hope that these opportunities will help them get an idea of what to expect when they enter the profession and perhaps direct them into one of the many disciplines in the planning profession.

photo: Arlan Colton FAICP with MS Planning Students during FOP Office Hours.

Fall 2017 Office Hour Schedule (Wednesday’s 11:00am-11:50am):

  • September 13 – Class Visit 12-12:50pm– Topic: Getting to know each other (FOP Members attending: all)
  • October 11 – Focused Office Hours – Topic: TBD (FOP Members attending: David, Therea K and Chuck)
  • November 8 – Focused Office Hours – Topic: TBD (FOP Members attending: Sarah and Adam)

Faculty Engagement:

spring 2016 facilty and fop mixer

photo: Spring 2016 MS Planning Facility and FOP Board Member engagement.


Project Excellence Awards April 2017:



Group 1st Place $1000: The Mosaic on the 4th Ave

Project Team: Kyle Packer, Rahul Tuladhar and Nejlah Hummer


Group 2nd Place $350: Marana Colonias

Project Team: Nejlah Hummer, Ian Wan and Amanda Smith


Individual 1st Place $150: Watershed Heath Indicators

Project Team: Amanda Smith






Project Excellence Awards April 2016:IMG_1831 2

1st Place (Tie) $750: A Toolbox of Policy and Design Opportunity: Rethinking the Major Streets and Routes  Plan

Project Team: Ahmad Abu Khalaf, Mariam Al Obaydi, Ben Anderson, Lexy Wellott, Kenneth Kokroko, Gabrielle Jehle, Michael Vo, and Zhengchun Jiang

1st Place (Tie) $750: La Doce: Special Development District

Project Team: Bridget Guiza, Nicole Lavely, Maureen McDonald, Brian Sabri, Chris Laria, Nolan Bade, Xin Tan, and Collin Palen

Expo Jury: Ryan Mahoney, Valerie Feuer and Chuck Martin


Project Excellence Awards April 2015:

The Friends of Planning at the University of Arizona Graduate Planning Program hosted a Team Planning Project competition for Graduate Planning students. Awards were made for First and Second Place finishers. The competition was intended to encourage collaboration among students, foster enrichment of the graduate student experience, and facilitate work efforts by locally practicing planners.

1st Place $1000: Pima County: Future Growth Projection and Alternative Scenarios 2040

Project Team: Ben Anderson, Rob Busick and Brian Sabri

2nd Place $500: LoBo: Lost Barrio Neighborhood Development Conceptual Plan

Project Team: Maureen McDonald, Bridget Guiza, Nicole Lavely



Expo Jury: Ted Herman, Valerie Feuer and guest David Williams


Project Excellence Awards April 17, 2014:

1st Place $1000: Revive


Project Team: Edlin Hernandez, Ben Madeo and Samuel Paz

2nd Place $500: [Re]formation for the Town of Marana and Interstate Corridor


Project Team: Alexandra Hines, Will Greenway, Daniel Aros, Yang Yang and Stratton Andrews

Expo Jury: Ted Herman, Valerie Feuer, Brandy McLain and guest Ryan Mahoney


Book Awards:

A book award is presented annually each spring to a graduating student meeting established criteria. Recipients:

  • 2010 –Sofia Garcia Loomis
  • 2011 – Desire Smith
  • 2012 – Cam Juarez
  • 2013 – Sally Krommes
  • 2014 - Kathryn Banister
  • 2015 - Ashley Hullinger
  • 2016 - Nicole Lavely
  • 2017 - Nejlah Hummer


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