Student Organizations

Batten Graduate Council

The Council exists to represent the needs and interests of Batten School students—enriching their overall academic experience by encouraging community outreach, special events and professional development activities. The Council allocates funds for assisting students participate in professional development activities, such as attending conferences, meeting policy professionals, and providing community service. 

Social events connect Batten students with faculty and other professional students at the University.  Along with the Council’s signature event, the Batten Ball, the social events co-chairs have planned a trivia night, mixers with other professional schools, homecomings events and an alternative spring break. The Council strives to promote community engagement with the university and the larger Charlottesville communities, sponsoring intramural teams, organize monthly service projects, alumni meet-ups or Batten Builds projects.

In providing these opportunities for interaction among students, faculty and alumni, the Council aims to foster a strong culture and close-knit Batten community.

Council Members:

  • President: Cara Mumford
  • Treasurer: Sydney Peterson
  • Secretary: Danielle Childress
  • Student Council Rep: Lauren Russell
  • Honor Representative: Joseph Marchese-Schmitt
  • Community Engagement: Madeline Merrill
  • Special Events Co-Chairs: Connor Andrews and Elizabeth Yost
  • First-Year Accelerated Class Rep: Tara Razjouyan
  • First-Year Post-Grad Class Rep: Parks Daniel

Batten Undergraduate Council

Officially launched in the spring of 2013, the Batten Undergraduate Council (BUC) represents the interests of Batten undergraduate students. BUC promotes participation and collaboration in the Batten, University, and public policy communities by connecting students with other community members through faculty engagement, community outreach, and professional development events. BUC works to maintain unity and cohesion between students in all the Batten cohorts, as well. BUC is excited to be able to provide organized opportunities for BA undergraduate students to search, find, and share their passions as they help pave the way for this new program.

The External Committee works with students, faculty, and staff to further promote Batten and engage with the wider University, Charlottesville, and national communities in a variety of capacities. The Social Committee works to bring together students in the undergraduate program with each other, Batten MPP students, faculty and staff members, and other groups in the University through both formal and informal activities and events. The Internal Committee fosters relationships amongst the Batten Students and Faculty and aims to make internal Batten operations and events transparent to the Batten community.

Executive Committee:

  • President:  Bryan Pfirrmann
  • Director of Communications:  Matthew Lewis
  • Treasurer:  Reed Brady
  • External Committee Chair:  Marcus Rasmussen
  • Internal Committee Chair:  Bethany Ackerman
  • Social Committee Chair:  Carl Liles
  • Student Council: Alison Snow

FCG Consulting


Formative Change Group (FCG) Consulting is a pro-bono policy and strategic consulting group launched in 2012 as a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment. FCG Analysts are Master of Public Policy students at the UVA Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, who are passionate about helping  Charlottesville community organizations better achieve their missions.

The FCG model offers the community benefits in two ways: First, as graduate students of public policy, Batten students are given opportunities to apply their policy analysis skills in solving real world policy problems. Second, for local organizations, FCG provides support and completes capacity building projects to ensure that the client organization is better able to fulfill its core mission in the future. We do this through projects such as data management, strategic planning, cost benefit (or effectiveness) analysis, survey design and more.

Our mission is to serve our city through fortifying and furthering the impact of socially responsible organizations in the Charlottesville area, through provision of pro-bono policy and strategy consulting services.

Virginia Policy Review

The Virginia Policy Review strives to publish work that will impact the wider policy debate. Our mission is to do this through a variety of journalistic mediums including  research, opinion pieces, interviews, and book reviews. We value our responsibility to promote the work produced by graduate students at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy alongside professionals and policymakers.

Each year, the Virginia Policy Review publishes two full issues (winter and summer), as well as a special topical issue each Fall. Additionally, the Virginia Policy Review hosts graduate policy journal staff at an annual National Journal Conference to discuss best practices for policy-related academic publications.

Batten Speaks!

Batten Speaks! is a public speaking club for any student in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. The goal of Batten Speaks! is to provide a positive, supportive environment for Batten Students to develop their public speaking and communication abilities. Monthly meetings will cover a variety of topics including networking, interview techniques, and presentation skills.

Women in Policy

Women in Policy essentially operates like a lower-commitment book club (but with articles). Every month, a new article on the topic of women or gender issues is sent out. These articles are typically easy reads, and are more likely to come from sources like The Atlantic than scholarly journals. The idea is to read what mainstream media has to say about women’s issues and unpack it using our policy backgrounds and training.

We meet one evening per month, typically at a private residence. Members are asked to volunteer to host one meeting, as they are able. From there, it’s pretty casual. Members who are not hosting bring drinks and snacks to share, and we have fascinating conversations with smart people for about two hours. It’s a great way to make friends and explore complex issues in a comfortable setting.

Foreign Policy Club

The Foreign Policy Club is a student-run organization that aims to introduce students to national security and diplomacy policy. Students interested in working for the U.S. Departments of State or Defense should consider joining. No prior professional or academic experience in foreign policy is necessary. 

Most meetings will be a discussion of a current event. Club members will chose discussion topics prior to the meeting so everyone has a chance to research the topic. Other meetings will be held to host guest speakers from Batten, other UVA schools and outside the University. Highlights include hosting of one or two prominent speakers and a holding formal debate.

Faculty and administrators are welcome to attend and participate in meetings. The Foreign Policy Club will invite them to lead discussions when their expertise is relevant to the topic. Some meetings may be student-only to allow students to speak freely among their peers.

Membership is informal. Simply attend meetings when the discussion topic interests you. Students who want to have a greater role can become club officers who plan meetings, invite guest speakers and assume club leadership next year.

Batten Umbrella Mentorship Program

In 1982 Frank Batten, the founder of our school, launched the first ever 24-hour weather station called the Weather Channel. Twenty-five years later he founded the School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Mr. Batten found a niche market in the business world and dedicated a large sum of his earnings to found a school that develops innovative leaders dedicated to their communities. The Batten Undergraduate Council strives to continue Mr. Batten’s legacy by creating an environment for the students that fosters learning outside the classroom, sensitivity to the community, and friendship ties that last beyond our time at UVA. Thus, we created the Batten Umbrella Mentorship Program, otherwise known as BUMP.

Any Batten Undergraduate student may join BUMP the semester he or she is admitted into the Batten School. Each underclassman is partnered with an upperclassman counterpart with whom they get to know over the spring semester and summer before the underclassman’s first orientation. BUMP holds monthly meetings as well as Round-Table Discussions twice a month. Round-Table Discussions are opportunities for a set of partners to work with other BUMP members on a specific policy issue in the news: A group of four to six BUMP members present a briefing on a policy issue to the broader BUMP community and allow members to break off into groups, discuss the issue, and generate policy solutions. Highly involved members of BUMP and the Round-Table Discussions will be qualified for consideration of internship and research assistant opportunities. Finally, BUMP offers a wonderful social aspect in which members can attend dinners, Jeopardy competitions, field days and more that allow students to get to know each other. Our hope is that after Batten students’ time is up at the University, they can pass on their acquired knowledge and fond memories of college to the next class with a solid BUMP.