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Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2019 Professional General Design Honor Award. Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland. PWP Landscape Architecture >

ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 2: Eugenia Martin, FASLA

How can ASLA enhance its relevance for young professionals, both for those in the early years of their careers and students in landscape architecture programs?

The greatest way for ASLA to enhance its relevance for young professionals is to be mindful of the needs and concerns of the next generation of landscape architects. We can achieve this by utilizing and building upon the cornerstones of the ASLA Mission; to ask (Advocacy), listen (Communication), adapt (Education), and engage (Fellowship).

One of the tools we discuss in Advocacy is “The Ask.” It is utilized when talking with legislators at the state and federal level about what we would like them to support. However, it is also applicable to bringing awareness of the profession and ASLA to young professionals and students. While simple in nature, it is an important thing to do in regard to making someone feel important. “How can I help?” or “what is important to you?” is a great way to begin the communication.

Now, communication is not a one-way street; it consists of the sharing and receiving of information. As I stated in my response to the first question in LAND a few weeks ago, how and what is communicated by ASLA is incredibly important to the health and awareness of the profession. This includes listening to, and hearing the needs and concerns of all our members as well as non-members (who we would like to recruit to become members), from college to emeritus status. Good communication shows support and starts the dialogue of what is important to young professional and students.

Education on what is important and why it is important is the foundation for enhancing the relevance of ASLA to the next generation of landscape architects. Adaptation cannot occur until the dialogue has begun as it is the direct result of acknowledgement and modification to changing circumstances. This will result in mindful change to the needs and concerns of all members of ASLA, from student to young professional to emeritus status, ensuring the relevance of the society throughout all career stages.

While ASLA can lay the foundation as an organization, members have the greatest impact on young professionals and students by engaging them in fellowship and mentorship. One of the greatest influencers in my life as a landscape architect was my professor, Jot Carpenter, FASLA. Jot was a past president of ASLA and an incredible advocate for the profession. I would spend hours in his office talking about life, the profession, and the positive impacts landscape architects can make to the built environment. Even after graduation, Jot continued to mentor me. He used to tell me “You have to get in the trenches if you are going to make a difference.” I have carried his words through the years, making them my mantra, by actively engaging in ASLA though leadership, mentorship and trying to make a difference.

By utilizing the cornerstones of the ASLA Mission, we enhance the relevancy for the next generation of landscape architects and convey their importance to ASLA and to make a difference in the profession.

So, let’s start the conversation…how can I help?

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