the close of a chapter

The last week has been a rough one for me (not exactly true - the week before that was the rough one, but i haven't updated my blog to tell you about it). Last Wednesday and Thursday the 2004-2005 AIAS Board of Directors met for the final time. We closed the meeting with the turnover of leadership and then proceeded into our 3 day annual leadership conference, Grassroots. The board meeting was emotional for many reasons, primarly because it marked the end of what has certainly been the most incredible experience of my life thus far - serving as the AIAS National Vice President (secretary and treasurer). For those of you who don't know, I was elected into this position by our 6,000 members in January of 2004 and began serving around this time last year. The National VP is a full-time paid position in our national office in Washington DC. After graduation, I packed up and moved from Fayetteville, AR to downtown DC and began my first "real job." I also got married and lived for a very brief (but awful) time in Ghetto, Maryland.

So, it's all over. The Board meeting was also emotional because we could clearly see the hard work that we'd done over the year pay off pretty dramatically. To be overly simplistic, our year was spent advocating for architecture students (primarily hosting the Studio Culture Summit) and internally restructuring our organization. Following years of debate and discussion, we compiled the very first operating plan for the AIAS and restructured our governing documents. In addition, we hired a full-time staff person to grow and develop our community service initiative, Freedom by Design and to help support our local chapters. In a matter of about 20 minutes at the end of the Board meeting we approved the operating plan, the governing documents, and the 2005-2006 budget. With just a few "aye's," all of our work was finally formally in place. It felt so good.

But it also marked the end of an experience that i truly cannot describe. My resume has grown by leaps and bounds, but more importantly, my entire perspective of the profession has been altered. It's no longer an elusive and forboding place; it's a place where i feel comfortable moving and am confident that the "people in charge" have the best interests of the general public and emerging professionals at heart. It's a great time to be a part of architecture. Sure, there are problems, but overall, it's exactly where i want to be.

Below is a list of highlights from the last year. Unfortunately, these are mostly very tangible highlights, because i can't describe to you the joy of knowing that the world is a better place for architecture students today than it was a year ago. I know it isn't the same as solving massive problems like global warming (why is it everyone recalls global warming in that context?), but it feels good none-the-less.

so, in no order (well, other than a rough timeline):
Board retreat at Mischa's parents cottage in northern Ontario
AIAS Grassroots as Vice President
AIA Education-Practice-Industry Connection Steering Committee meeting in Big Sky, MT
Driving from San Diego to Santa Cruz one afternoon in September along the Pacific Coast Highway
Serving on the ACSA Board
Freedom by Design Orientation Weekend in Denver, CO
Driving to the continental divide in an RV
Dinner at the Capital Grille with the FBD team
Raising $30,000 in a month for the Studio Culture Summit
Hosting the Studio Culture Summit in Minneapolis, MN
Being in Texas on Election Day (at least it was Austin)
Hosting a panel discussion on Student Centered Education in front of over 100 administrators in Houston
Doing a corn maze in Lubbock, TX
Dancing to the F-A-I-A (instead of the YMCA) at an AIA black-tie event
Shattering my ankle on December 4
Having ankle surgery on December 7
FORUM 2004 in New Orleans - on crutches
Roll Call - on crutches
The Vice Presidential Step Stool (thanks UWM!)
Serving in numerous design juries
Watching Calatrava accept his Gold Medal at the National Building Museum
Serving as a member of the Internship Conference Advisory Committee
Physical therapy (and more physical therapy)
AIA Grassroots
Archvoices retreat in Dallas, TX
Touring design/build projects in Ruston, LA
Cookout in Starkville, MS
REALLY sketchy hotel near the Memphis airport
Touchdown jesus at Notre Dame
Sleeping on Matt's couch for a few days
Sleeping on more couches than hotel beds for the year (by a long shot)
ACSA conference in Chicago
Savannah quad conference
Los Angeles quad conference in the same weekend
University of Southern California NAAB visit
Being appointed to the NAAB Board
Costa Rica vacation!
Vegas, Baby
Introducing Calatrava at AIA Convention
Having Thom Mayne be jealous that Calatrava was speaking to 'the students' and he was not
Talking to regulators about internship - in Southbeach
NYC for Healthcare design awards jury
Ithaca is Gorges!
Dumbarton Oaks with the Board
Board retreat part 2: Jake's parent's place in Ocean City

Oh yea, and that staff position i was telling you about in the beginning? The one that is helping to develop Freedom by Design and helping to support our chapters? Well, that staff person is me. For a year at least. And maybe then i'll go try to be a "real intern"


Blogger me said...

you'll always be a real intern in my book, honey

10:16 PM  
Blogger sam_iv said...

Wow, you sure know how to set yourself up! Sounds great. Trust me, the intern game sucks (like this isn't the billionth time you've heard that). I say the worst part about internship is that they hold you up in the office doing bathroom details and you miss out on networking. You are doing yourself a great service by networking now. Then, when you become an intern, you can get a better gig and already have an established circle of contacts.

7:53 PM  

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