February 10, 2017 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

WANTED: Advocates. Advocacy Month is upon us and boy are we ready! Our goal is to showcase how to make advocacy a tangible tool for our chapters and our membership. Discussions will be focused on four levels of student’s paths from now, through the profession, into a global network and issues that arise at each point. Starting February 16th, The Advocacy Task Force has teamed up with the National Office to host a series of LIVE panel discussions to be held on Thursday evenings at 7 pm Eastern Time. The panels will be packed with AIAS Leadership, general members, guests from the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS), and the profession! The issues we will be challenging chapters to address this month are as follows:

  1. Studio and Intern Culture
  2. School and the world / the role of the architect to make a global impact
  3. Community service and the National Design Service Act
  4. Diversity and equity

February 16th we will be asking questions about our education and the gap that exists between school and the profession.  We will challenge the idea of what we design versus where we design, and how the environment we learn in translates to an ideal environment to work in. Along with challenging our education, we will be looking into the accessibility of receiving an architectural education and potentially touching on the accessibility of design (time permitting).             

February 23rd, AIAS will ask can our projects have a global impact? Should they have a global impact? Do you believe architecture and strong communities have the power to change the world? What is the role of the architect in this social and political climate?

We will challenge the panelists to address how we can apply deeply rooted concerns for social impact we have honed during school can be addressed and elevated once we enter a firm and their culture.       

March 2nd, we will be substituting a panel conversation for an interview with an expert on the National Design Service Act (NDSA). The NDSA is “proposed legislation initiated by the AIA and the AIAS that provides student loan relief to architecture professionals,” according to their web page found here: https://www.facebook.com/nationaldesignservicesact/. We will be addressing the direction of the Act as well as community service at large.

Buttoning up the edges, we have our final discussion on March 9th. This panel will discuss issues of diversity and equity. We will be discussing strategies for inclusion, both in thought (perspectives) and ethnicity. Strategic planning in understanding that a transition needs to happen between education and the profession, but finding the tools and steps to get us there. On a more personal level, we want a general member to be able to showcase the diversity of their education and how willingness to listen to a shifted perspective can cause major positive change.

The core agenda of the Advocacy Task Force this month is to provide members with the tools they need to be successful and professional at addressing issues that are impacting our lives now and in the future. Local conversations cause communities to change. We have to be willing and equipped to have these conversations. Be on the lookout for graphics on social media both to introduce topics on Mondays, explore the panels on Thursdays, and to grab succinct ‘take aways’ on Fridays!

The National Office and the Advocacy Task Force challenge you to host your own panels! Use this resource to help you out.