AIA Students at KU Garner National Attention and Kudos with Freedom by Design Team

Kstate students

The Kansas capitol in Topeka.

Over the past year, the University of Kansas' student chapter of AIA Kansas (AIAS KU) has been focused on providing its members a diverse array of opportunities beyond the classroom.

We are intentional about creating tangible benefits for all AIA student members and serving as a liaison between the student body and the administration. With the support of generous donors, an enthusiastic faculty and a passionate team, AIAS KU has been successful, garnering a generous amount of national attention.

As one of the largest Midwest chapters, we have been able to showcase our organization, facilities, and programs via AIA national’s social media platform. In addition, our #membercrushmonday initiative was recognized for its effectiveness in celebrating the personality of individuals within our chapter and the opportunities this organization has given them, such as Freedom by Design.

The Freedom by Design team recently worked with Shelter Inc. to design a backyard for its girls’ home in Lawrence. Our KU chapter was grateful to be one of nine selected from chapters across the country to receive grant funding. We were also thrilled to have AIA send a camera team to document the build and its impact.

Throughout the year, the AIAS has offered a variety of activities and programs to meet the needs of our students:

  • Welcome packets were distributed to all incoming freshmen to help orient them to our school and program.
  • Membership week featured activities every day to instill enthusiasm and unite students in all stages of their education.
  • Firm visits were conducted at seven local firms in the Kansas City metro.
  • We assisted the administration in hosting the alumni symposium, portfolio review night, study abroad fair, and career fair to offer members professional development and networking opportunities.
  • Our themed lecture series, Architecture +, served to supplement traditional education by illuminating the many opportunities to work in the field in more non-traditional ways.
  • We participated at the AIA Central States Conference last October, and sent 16 students of all grade levels to Forum, the national AIAS conference in Boston (where our chapter president, Robyn Payne, was recognized as one of the top 60 members in the country).

Our year culminated with Creators’ Ball, an event that featured a moving gallery of student-submitted projects. Extremely collaborative in nature, the event enabled both architecture and design students to utilize their skills and work together to plan an engaging night for students and faculty.

As a whole, our organization has had an impact -- providing critical opportunities to members and influencing their academic and professional careers. Planning is underway to continue with these types of activities. We look forward to meeting members at the AIA Kansas conference, EVOLVE, this October in Lawrence.

Image credits

Kstate students

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