March 8, 2020

This article was written by the 2019-2020 Equity & Diversity Task Force for 2020 Advocacy Month.

Dedication to Diversity is something that we should all advocate for. Encouraging diversity at a chapter level means being welcome to any student that shares a passion for leadership and has the drive to help others. Diversity in a chapter is understanding that students can come from many different geographical, cultural, socio-economic backgrounds and accept all that which may come with that. Tolerance is a good word to use when even though your personal views may not match someone else’s, we need to work together as an organization. And working together is, without a doubt, a tenet of the AIAS.



VISION: Empowering voices, ideas, and actions for the future. 

The concept of diversity begins with understanding that there is a need for it. This starts with showing that there is a lack of it, and providing those that are advocating for it a platform. Often, places, organizations and groups that lack diversity are not aware or can be unsure how to accomplish diversity. AIAS, through its various national task forces and committees, makes it possible to help those advocating for diversity have a national platform to be heard far and wide. Through programs, such as advocacy month, we can provide small ways and a varying assortment of ideas for how we can each individually contribute towards creating a profession that is more diverse. The vision is, after all, to EMPOWER action!

IMPACT: We advocate for and enact positive change.

COMMUNITY: We foster an inclusive network of peers that learn from, support, and drive one another.

GROWTH: We inspire students to reach their greatest potential through meaningful learning opportunities.

PASSION: We pursue large goals and aspirations through each member’s enthusiasm.

PERSPECTIVE: We link the profession’s opportunities to architectural education.

BALANCE: We promote respectful relationships, an environment of diversity, and a thriving studio culture.

In addition, all of the values we strive to portray can only benefit from a diverse group of individuals being a part of our organization and community. Our diverse community, with representation from all across the country, and even internationally, we need to collectively facilitate and foster inclusivity, which furthers boosts diversity as we draw even more great individuals to our organization and profession. If we create a positive impact at this level, it will ripple from the academic level into the professional practice, enabling growth in the overall practice of architecture. All of these values are linked, and the need for diversity just continues to strengthen us, allowing us to accomplish more.



Make a diversity + inclusion mission statement. A statement of diversity + inclusion can highlight what your chapter aspires for and be a great benchmark for holding the chapter accountable.

Use inclusive language. The words we use, sometimes without a second thought, can carry a lot of weight. By using more inclusive language we are careful not to marginalize the people that we interact with through our chapter.

Foster a comfortable environment of collaboration. It is important for everyone to recognize their own privileges and be willing to hear different perspectives. Help to make that a reality by discouraging interruption, sharing leadership roles and giving everyone the space to voice their opinion.

Get inclusion training. It’s hard to be inclusive when you don’t know the ins and outs of this seemingly complex sociological issue. If your university has some type of diversity program they may offer inclusion training which can be a great way to prepare chapter leaders to interface better with members.

Amplify new voices. Use your platform at AIAS to amplify the voices of the underrepresented and underserved. Always ask “who’s voice am I not listening to?”


“Diversity should never be seen as a weakness. It should be a cause of celebration and opportunity to foster the ability to unite people of different backgrounds around common principles.” – AIAS Member



1. Gain awareness: Does your chapter champion inclusivity? Are your members comfortable in speaking up? Does your board of directors uphold a vision of equity and equality? 

2. Gain an understanding of who your audience is: interact with everyone, learn about their history and culture, and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

3. Provide opportunities: Giving everyone equal opportunities, no matter what background they come from. This includes but is not restricted to: hosting free events that are open to everyone, celebrating different cultures equally, and not making events exclusive to a certain race/gender/ethnicity.