August 30, 2021 by 2019-2020 Equity & Diversity Task Force, 2019-2020 Sustainability & Resiliency Task Force, 2020-2021 Council of Global Representatives, 2020-2021 Learning & Teaching Culture Advisory Group, 2021-2022 Professional Development Advisory Group

Happy first full week of Membership Month, AIAS! We are so excited for you to be a part of our organization, and serving as leaders at your chapter! The AIAS can offer so many opportunities to our members, and our chapter leadership is the most important piece in getting out information about opportunities- from grants to competitions to programming.

Your chapter never has to do it alone in providing all value to members. The National Office works hard to bring you content, programming, and opportunities. We need your help to build this into your chapter’s planning for the year, and get the message out to members! Here is a list of all programs and opportunities to share/bring to your chapter! (Bear with me, this is a long one, but we want you to have all the tools!)

Programming (Things to Attend):


THRIVE is a FREE monthly webinar series open to members and non-members alike. They cover topics in education, the profession, advocacy, and beyond! We invite professionals, students, and those from adjacent fields to help better prepare our members for the future- wherever it may take them.

Our first THRIVE for the year will be What I Wish I Knew: Starting Your Year Edition and will be September 23rd! As a lunch/coffee and learn (depending on your timezone!) at 12 pm ET! 


Regional Conferences

Each year, regional conferences take place in the Midwest, Northeast, South, and West Quads, (and are open to our International Regions as well). These gatherings are hosted by local chapters who have been selected to organize the event by their region. Themes vary based on the city, local culture, and topics of choice. We are in the process of chapters bidding (with presentations happening September 25th!) for virtual or hybrid conferences for Spring 2022! Stay tuned for the voting and news!


Our National Leadership Conference happens every Summer! It’s the cutting-edge conference for students to gain training, a network, and family. While traditionally many chapters send their chapter executive boards, this is a conference for ALL! Stay tuned for the reveal of Grassroots 2022 next year!


FORUM is the AIAS’ annual conference that invites all of our members from around the world together, celebrating a new city under a new theme. Previously in person, we will be gathering virtually this year to celebrate the new year together. Through innovative speakers, seminars, activities, and tours, we: learn about design, service, and leadership advancements in the field; meet, collaborate, and communicate with our fellow members from diverse schools and perspectives; get to know a cool city for its architecture, firm culture, and history; celebrate our accomplishments throughout the year as students and chapters; and represent our chapters by electing the next Board of Directors for our organization. Each year’s theme is provocative and relevant, and all activities, talks, and tours relate back to it.

This year’s FORUM will be virtually based in Denver, CO! We have some exciting programming for you, and can’t wait for you all to see it!

Town Halls

At every Council of Presidents Meeting, we have a Town Hall section where members can bring up any topic or issue! We also host these throughout the year, with our first being on October 6th at 8 pm ET, so mark your calendars now!

Miscellaneous Events

Every year, different opportunities come up that we can bring our members, like Career Expos! Stay tuned throughout the year for unique experiences!


Opportunities (Honors, Competitions, and $$$):

Honor Awards

The AIAS Honor Awards were developed to publicly recognize outstanding achievements by students, educators, and practitioners who have exhibited an exemplary commitment to the education and development of architecture students. There are 10 different awards that you can nominate/apply for in the Spring and Summer. A jury deliberates and the winners are announced at FORUM each year!

Check them out here:


The AIAS supports and sponsors design competitions to contribute to the education of all students. Competitions present unique opportunities to investigate and utilize building materials and design techniques from different perspectives or those that the student might not be familiar with already.

All competitions cycle through each year, and have first place cash prizes ranging from $300-$2,500! Check them out and participate now: 

PASS (Professional Advancement Support Scholarship)

Alumni love anyone? This is a rolling application scholarship for the Architect Registration Exam! The scholarship is available to alumni of the AIAS who aim to pass a division of the ARE within one year of graduating. The scholarship will cover the full cost of that exam ($235). We want to share the experiences of members, whether it be a pass or fail, so we can all be a little more prepared!

Apply today: 

Chapter Leader of the Month

Each month, the AIAS highlights the outstanding dedication and accomplishments of one of its members. The Chapter Leader of the Month can be a Chapter President or any member who has shown tremendous leadership.

Quad Directors and Regional Ambassadors nominate members, but anyone can nominate a member! Nominate Here: 

Membership Grant Campaign

AIAS membership dues should not be a barrier to accessing the benefits that AIAS has to offer. We have a donation campaign tool to directly sponsor memberships in the organization or at a specific school (great for alumni). Students can apply for this grant and receive free membership!

Share this link for donations and applications today:

Collegiate Associates

Did you know that your school can also get benefits from AIAS? As a Collegiate Associate, your school will pay $1500 for the first year, and $1000 for each year after. This waives the $275 chapter dues, gives advertising on our website, at conferences, in our journal, and more perks!

Check it out and talk to your administration today: 


Programs (Application-based opportunities at the National Level, or Programs to start locally/participate in):

Freedom By Design

Freedom by Design™, the AIAS community service program in partnership with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), uses the talents of architecture students to radically impact the lives of people in their community through modest design and construction solutions. The program embraces efforts to provide both design-build and engagement solutions to address 5 barriers: Physical, Educational, Environmental, Socio-Economic, Cultural

Interested in getting started? Check out:, email to get in touch with the Freedom By Design Advisory Committee, and contact your Quad Director or Ambassador

Tune in to our Instagram Live this Friday at 2 pm ET for a Q&A with our 2020-2021 FBDAC Chair, Quinn McFadden!

CRIT Scholar

CRIT Scholar is a research-based fellowship program funded by the AIA in partnership with several prominent architecture firms. The program is targeted towards students passionate about architectural research. Each CRIT Scholar will receive a $1,000 grant to fund their research. In addition, they will be personally matched with an architect advisor who is specialized in their topic area of research. Mentors will be from firms, such as Payette, HKS Architects, and Sasaki. Students must be active AIAS members to apply!

The application opens Friday, September 3rd! Apply Here: 

CRIT Journal

CRIT is the journal of the AIAS and the premier publication of students in architecture, design, and associated fields. CRIT presents opportunities for students to have their work published in a national journal that is read by thousands of students and is a part of the collections of nearly every architecture school library and a growing number of architecture firms. AIAS members receive CRIT at no charge as a benefit of membership.

Applications start in the early Spring semester! Check it out here: Questions? 

CRIT Live x ACSA Annual Meeting

CRIT Live Research Symposia at the ACSA Annual Meeting where AIAS student members can apply to present finished or in-progress research. These can be traditional research studies, project-based research focusing on design, or topical studies in progress!

AIAS Advocates Program

This is an application-based program geared towards showcasing and providing platforms for you, our members, to speak up and speak loud about niche advocacy topics and initiatives. The AIAS Advocates Program will run during the academic year. The concept for this program was inspired by our alumni, Shoaib Nizami, a deaf architecture student from the University of Houston, and for the last two years, our Advocates have helped perfect how to mix the AIAS’ resources with the passion of our members for an impactful result.

Applications open in March during Advocacy Month!

National Committees

Each year the AIAS works to address issues impacting students across the organization with help from our dedicated members through our committees and task forces. These groups make decisions, draft changes to our organization, and work to bring resources to AIAS members at large! 

Interested? Applications open after every Grassroots Conference through mid-August!

New! Council of Treasurers

To be started this Fall with the Finance Committee and Vice President DeFranza, this will be a group of treasurers from all chapters that come together to ask questions, learn from each other, and set up better practices for the future. We want to bring structure and stability to our chapters’ financial practices!


This program is designed to give our alumni who have given their time and resources to the organization, an opportunity to engage with AIAS members as a chapter’s mentor. If you are an alumni member or a chapter in need of guidance, apply today!

Applications close in early September! Apply now: 


Content (Things to watch, read, or listen to):

Visible Value Wednesday

Instagram TV video series by the Vice President to talk about what’s happening in AIAS, opportunities coming up, and other specific topics to help you have a great membership experience! Follow @aiasorg for more!

I Want To Work In…

I Want to Work In (#iwtwi) is a career feature of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and launched in September 2017. This feature highlights recent graduates who are living and working in towns and cities around the world. Follow us, each month, as we explore a new city: where to live, where to work, where to eat(!), where to make friends, and, most importantly, how to get involved in the professional community and achieve your goals in licensure, practice, and beyond.

In Studio Series

We interview members at different schools about their studio experiences and school culture. This helps our members understand the variety of experiences in schools around the world!

AIAS Podcast

Did you know that AIAS has a podcast platform? Listen to the AIAS Audio Experience ( where helpful chats are posted each year by committees, our Advocates Program members, and professionals in the field that we interview!

This past year we worked with the Young Architects Forum of AIA on the Pod[CHAOS]t where we talked about topics facing emerging professionals. Listen here: 


Whew! Made it to the end! Any Questions? Email and Vice President Shannon DeFranza can help you! This year’s theme is EVOLVE. During #AIASmem21, the national office will be focusing on how we can evolve to be better versions of ourselves. Do you have ideas on how these programs/offerings could Evolve? How could they serve you better? How can they be more accessible? Share at the Town Hall on October 6th, 8 pm ET!

Watch out for VVW this week as VP DeFranza breaks it all down! Next week will focus on Membership Types and what your members want!


Use the Membership Manual as your guide to increasing your membership this year! And as always be sure to share photos from your chapter on social media and tag @aiasorg and your Quad or Region account. The membership month hashtags are: