April 2, 2020

Last year was the inaugural year of the AIAS Advocates Program – an application-based opportunity geared towards showcasing and providing platforms for you, our members, to speak up and speak loud about niched advocacy topics and initiatives. We are excited to announce that five applicants have been selected for the AIAS Advocates Program for the 2020-2021 year. Get to know our advocates, congratulate them, and preview their advocacy topics below:


MOID ALI | Illinois Institute of Technology

Advocacy Focus: Helping others realize their potential as advocates of the Earth

“The climate crisis is [a result of] the effects of humans on the Earth [which] are causing drastic and dire events that are [further] causing rapid changes in the Earth’s climate. Scientists have stated that there are only a few years [before] the Earth will start to become uninhabitable. And [in] about 10 years, [these] effects will start to take place, unless we start to change our habits.”


VICTOR GONZALEZ | University of Colorado – Boulder

Advocacy Focus: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Within the Profession of Architecture

“I want to highlight those distinguished professionals who are also minorities, to provide guidance and support for the next generation of architects. In doing so it is paving an easier path for the future success of minorities within the profession. Using the medium of a podcast as previously used by an AIAS advocate, I plan on holding bi-weekly discussions on topics all related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.”


RODNEY JORDAN | Oklahoma State University

Advocacy Topic: Algae as Energy

“While on the [Sustainability & Resiliency] task force, my eyes have been opened to so many issues that are related to my two greatest passions, architecture and sustainable design. I began to see that we have the opportunity to help protect our world through the buildings we design and that having a voice on the national level was key in both learning about and sharing information in regards to these issues. 

After attending my first FORUM this past year in Toronto… I was exposed to so many fascinating solutions to the issues that plague our buildings. Chief among these was the use of algae as an energy source for buildings.”


MARGARET LEWIS | University of Kansas

Advocacy Focus: Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health and Suicide

“We need to break the stigma so those who are experiencing dark times have resources they can use to intervene. Thoughts are fleeting, emotions are fleeting, but suicide is permanent, and I for one do not want to lose any of our members from a fleeting thought. This may be an unconventional topic to run on, but we need to stop losing anymore architects, designers and the people who are shaping the world around us. I think we start here. I think we start now.”


WARDA ZAIDI | Bowling Green State University

Advocacy Focus: A Right to Education

“Education… plays a vital role in communing a society of humble individuals that can singlehandedly eradicate flaws that currently separate nations. Flaws that impact lives daily, flaws such as poverty. Coming from a third world country, I know firsthand the struggles that poverty invokes upon the less fortunate. The lack of education provided to the families falling under the belt of poverty is dejecting, and there is nothing they can do to send their children to schools. Expensive fees and judgmental minds don’t allow these kids to earn what Is rightfully theirs. They deserve everything that children in the States, in the UK, in other well-balanced countries have open access to: a free education. Knowledge is power, and I want to give these children access to a gratuitous education.”


The AIAS Advocates Program runs on an academic-year schedule. Our five Advocates will have multiple opportunities to shed light on their topics throughout the year – at our National Conferences and on our social media platforms.  We cannot wait to see how they utilize our platforms to amplify their voices and inspire all of you! Don’t forget to follow the AIAS Advocacy Instagram account @aias_advocacy so you don’t miss a thing.