Last week, I travelled with 12 others from around the state of Colorado to Washington DC to attend the 2013 AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference. To say it was an eye opening experience would be a serious understatement. I spent three four days networking, learning about what issues the national organization is tracking, hearing how many things Colorado is doing extremely well, and witnessing that the lynchpin in the democratic process is always the constituent.
I am sure you have all heard it before, and some of you may have even asked it; “What does the AIA do for me?” For me, I can tell you that a resounding answer came out of this conference. From strictly an advocacy point of view, the National organization’s various legislative affairs committee is currently tracking four individual issues outlined in the talking points in this link.
Though four issues may not seem like a great deal of action, this committee is actively promoting these issues to our legislators and their impacts are far reaching. These initiatives include everything from fair competition and procurement activities for government led design competitions to ways for those of us that have student loan debt to lower our balances through community design services.
Students, do I have your attention now? I thought so.
Consider all of this a work in progress, but IT IS PROGRESS. While you can’t go down to your local design center and volunteer in an underserved area for loan credit just yet, an organization of over 80,000 members is involved in conversations to make that happen. A conference like Grassroots put 700+ of us in front of Congressmen and their staffers talking about our professions and speaking to the value that we bring to society.
With the National Convention around 2 months away, we will have yet another opportunity to show our organization why we love to practice architecture in the state of Colorado. I encourage you to get involved and see how you can channel your passions and talents to better serve our members and the profession.