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9/14/2015

ASLA Annual Advocacy Summit Convenes in Albuquerque

ASLA conducted the 15th Annual Advocacy Summit September 11-13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The annual event brought together 39 advocates from 31 chapters to discuss how to build and improve their chapter advocacy efforts. This year’s themes provided summiteers information and strategies to foster strong, proactive, and engaging advocacy programs.

Summiteers heard presentations from chapters that have faced recent challenges to licensure or licensing requirements, including Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. Summit participants then brainstormed on specific techniques to apply during any upcoming these challenges.

Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) President-elect Randy Weatherly, ASLA, and Executive Director Joel Albizo, Hon. ASLA, presented on the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. the Federal Trade Commission antitrust case, which could affect state licensing boards across the country. The session provided attendees with background on the case, overview of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion, and outlined the potential impact such action could have on CLARB boards. Others sessions included case studies on how to hire a lobbyist for chapter advocacy efforts, and chapter governance.

NMASLA member Rob Lofits, ASLA, kicked off the afternoon session with a presentation on engaging elected officials important to the landscape architecture profession. The presentation also included an overview of NMASLA’s Active Transportation Event, which brought together policymakers and allied professionals to showcase landscape architects’ role in designing and implementing multimodal transportation projects.

The ASLA government affairs team provided summiteers with a review of ASLA Advocacy Resources. From the ASLA Licensure and Advocacy Grants to Advocacy Awards to Web Resources and the iAdvocate Network, attendees gained a better understanding of how to incorporate these important tools into their advocacy efforts. On the federal side, advocates received a comprehensive overview of the Society’s federal advocacy efforts.

On the final day of the Summit, NMASLA member Aaron Zahm, ASLA, and NMASLA President-elect Jitka Dekojova, ASLA, along with City of Albuquerque’s Councilmember Isaac Benten, led a tour the Rail Yards–an integral symbol of the industrial age in Albuquerque. The site tour included an overview of the proposed master plan that envisions reinvigorating the historic property to create housing, commercial uses, open park space, community, and art space. The site tour also included a bike ride on a portion of the city’s 50-mile activity loop, exposing summiteers to local landscape architecture pedestrian and bicycle projects.

If you or your chapter were not able to attend this year's Advocacy Summit, and want to help make a difference in your state, visit ASLA's Advocacy page for toolkits and resource guides to help you carry out an effective chapter advocacy program. Also, be sure to check out the ASLA Advocacy Twitter for a visual and social media recap of this year's event, and follow us for current advocacy updates.

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