The local chapter is the backbone of PAA: it is through the programs of local chapters that Pi Alpha Alpha is promotes and rewards excellence in public service. Local chapters need not have a major agenda of activities but each activity is important: each has a positive impact on the way in which students and faculty on the local campus view scholarly and practitioner excellence in the public sector. Local chapters of Pi Alpha Alpha may be established and maintained only at NASPAA member schools.
Students become members by joining the chapter at the school where they are enrolled. Pi Alpha Alpha chapters are operated by student officers and their faculty advisors. Together they select and induct the members and carry out chapter goals. All chapters register their inductees with the NASPAA office. There are more than 25,000 Pi Alpha Alpha lifetime members. Many of these members have gone on to distinguished careers in public service.
New members are elected and inducted every year by the chapters and are members for life. Approximately 2,500 new inductees including bachelor’s seeking, Master’s seeking, and alumni members are welcomed into the society each year. Additionally, chapters can induct an Honorary member each year.
The number of chapters has grown continuously since the beginning of Pi Alpha Alpha in 1974. Currently, chapters exist at more than 160 schools across the world. Current student members and active alumni members are responsible for conducting chapter business. Each chapter elects its own officers and the advisor is responsible for communicating with the NASPAA office.
In the process of electing and inducting new members, the chapters hold one or more activities each year including their new member induction ceremony. These occasions often feature speakers and special award presentations.