2012 wasn’t even out of the starting gate and we blog writers were discussing our first assignment of the New Year. We each tasked ourselves with a post on why we belong to the American Institute of Architects. I graduated from the University of Michigan with an MArch in 2008. Though my program was 7 semester long, I had no dealings with AIAS while I was in school. Michigan has a strong AIAS chapter, but I found it pretty heavily focused on the undergraduate student population. The few graduate students that did participate usually carried over their involvement from their undergraduate years. CU Denver’s AIAS chapter is among the best in the nation, and posts like Kevin’s from last week are encouraging to read. From what I hear, U of M has stepped up its efforts in this department and I applaud them for doing so.
Out of a mild sense of professional responsibility (and an admittedly vain desire for some of those all-important letters after my name) I joined the AIA as an Associate Member shortly after I started working in Denver. My office pays for membership dues as long as you can demonstrate involvement. (This is something I would highly encourage ALL firms to consider) I began with limited involvement, taking occasional advantage of the library during my ARE studies. I enjoyed the annual design and practice conferences, the annual design gala was a great way to see work of the past year, and the continuing education classes were certainly helpful, post licensure.
This past year, however, I have become acutely aware of how much more the organization has to offer. As a contributor to this blog, I have had the privilege of getting better acquainted with many of the individuals who contribute to the organization. I was particularly excited when AIA National launched the “I AM AIA” membership campaign. For me, this campaign speaks directly to the strengths of the organization.
Locally, there truly is a little something for everyone. For those that are interested in the environment and the effect of the built world, there is the AIA Denver Committee of the Environment (COTE). The Associates’ Committee sees to all of the issues that face those just out of school or those not yet licensed. The new for 2012 Young Architects Forum (YAF) is a place for those licensed 10 years or less to become involved. There are committees that study diversity in the profession, committees that manage the public image of our profession, and committees that deal with state legislative activities, educating legislators on issues that affect our profession.
So what is my AIA? My AIA is writing to the web with 5 other people. It is serving as a Director on the AIA Denver 2012 Board of Directors. It is getting inspired at the annual design conference. It is preparing for the 2013 National convention in Denver by serving on a planning committee. It is teaching a preparatory class on for the ARE. My AIA list continues to grow, and it is only the middle of January. My point is that the AIA looks different to all, and it has unique offerings for unique people. What is your AIA? Give membership a try this year and you can let me know in January of 2013.