As a senior graduating in May with both a degree and minor from SMPA, I still don't know. Sure, at some point in time I found myself annoyed with the extensive class and credit requirements in both SMPA and the Columbian College. But I guess that didn't motivate me enough to find out why it's a school within a school. So I asked some of my friends in SMPA. Turns out they don't know, either. A recent gchat conversation:
Me: do you know why smpa is within columbian?Aside from, at times, being unhappy with the number of class requirements, I don't really care the reason. I've absolutely loved my experience in SMPA. I've had thought-provoking classes, formed close relationships with professors and mentors, and made incredible friends (who I know I'll stay close with long after we leave GW).
My friend: nope, not a clue, really
So with graduation on the horizon, I began to look forward to celebrating my time in SMPA. But then I saw the graduation week schedule, and noticed that SMPA isn't having any special ceremony or reception. In fact, we're the only "school" at GW that isn't having one. Is it because SMPA is within the Columbian College? If that's the case, why does GW even bother calling SMPA its own school?
Again, I'm not sure I care about the answers to these questions. I'm out of here in a few months, and I never really cared all that much in the first place. I do, however, care about one last hoorah with the people who contributed to an awesome and enlightening undergraduate experience -- therefore, we're currently planning an SMPA graduates event, details to be announced at a later date.
And of course, if you're just starting off in SMPA and have a problem with the number of requirements or something, by all means, you should make some noise and make a change. It's your experience.