Updates from ASLA

ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 1: The Society's Challenges

Wendy J. Miller, FASLA

Candidate for President-elect

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Society, and how should leadership address it?

The biggest challenge I see for the Society is continuing to grow our membership in numbers, in diversity, in understanding the wealth of benefits and support ASLA provides and, most importantly, in reaching out to bring young professionals and students into our professional organization. 

Although full membership numbers remain steady with a nearly 90 percent rate of retention, our associate membership has not grown. The good news is that after several years of a flagging economy and a drop in landscape architecture program enrollment, student membership numbers have now stabilized. However, with the cascading loss of graduates and new associate members, this is an area of concern. ASLA recognizes these issues and actions are already underway to turn the tide.

Essential to growing membership, we must recruit creative and diverse students to the study of landscape architecture and provide support to current students. Career discovery and diversity efforts are ramping up. ASLA is reaching out to K-12 educational communities by connecting with guidance counselors, attending career fairs, and pursuing inclusion of landscape architecture as a part of the STEM and STEAM curricula. Geared toward older elementary and middle school students, the publication of Landscape Architecture Magazine’s “Your Land” expands exposure to landscape architecture as a potential career. I believe these undertakings will bear fruit as high school students find landscape architecture an attractive career choice.

ASLA takes an active role assisting the Student Chapters with leadership training, LABASH, and mentorship visits from national officers. We must pledge to expand services to underserved students and continue offering registration scholarships and assistance. Working with the Landscape Architecture Foundation, I believe ASLA can strengthen the connection between students, LAF scholars, and emerging professionals to foster new leadership that will keep our profession strong and focused on the future.

Supporting Chapters is critical. Chapters serve members locally and are ideal for enlisting young, energetic professionals as well as retaining existing members. Chapter communications, social media outreach, and events where we connect with colleagues all enrich our professional lives. Let’s tout the extraordinary value of our benefits as ASLA members and grow our numbers.

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