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Updates from ASLA

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

Ask Torey

See the first round of Torey's responses in our Ask Torey series below.

If you have a question for Torey, no matter what it is, it's not too late. We are still collecting questions to have Torey answer in future editions!

Ask Torey your question >

Question 1

Glad to have you aboard, and congratulations to take this work on. This is not so much as a question; however, it seems to me that so many recent graduates and those entering the field, avoid membership in ASLA. I think we need the young people, and they need ASLA, but somehow are not finding value in belonging. I believe some major efforts need to be made to convince many of this need for themselves and for the Profession. Thanks!

- Kent, Minnesota Chapter


Thanks for that, Kent.

This part of your statement leaped off the page for me: students "are not finding value in belonging.” If we pull out the key words–Students, Value and Belonging–and use emerging professionals as a proxy for students, then maybe we have identified an opportunity: Emerging Professionals Value Belonging.

You will hear me talk about belonging often because the more members, particularly students and emerging professionals, are invited into the community to actively participate, engage, have their ideas heard (and see those ideas lead to outcomes), that will lead to a strong feeling of belonging and inspire them to join the Society.

Emerging professionals across all sectors are looking to be a part of organizations and communities that reflect their personal values. The more we talk to students about their values and how those values align with the opportunities, benefits and services that come with ASLA membership, we will begin to break through and build the membership pipeline.

Question 2

Hi Torey, and welcome to ASLA! I think you'll find this one of the nicest, smartest groups of people to both work with as well as lead as our new EVP... I'm wondering what you see as the Society's biggest challenge in an increasingly physically disconnected (even before COVID) world where joining up is not a popular notion for young professionals? Are traditional reasons for membership (advocacy, representation and fellowship, among others) still valid, or are there other more compelling reasons young professionals should join ASLA? My toolbox for encouraging membership is growing shallow, and I need some new ideas! Thank you! 

- John, California Sierra Chapter

Hi John, thank you for the warm welcome and for your question.

You’re spot on that in a world where technology has allowed us to become more connected, in many ways that same innovation has made us more siloed and disconnected. But I don’t think this phenomenon is exclusive to young people. We are all more isolated and the pandemic has required us to distance ourselves.

But my sense is that young people will show up when they are inspired,when they believe in what they are showing up for, and if they feel part of change. So yes, advocacy, representation and fellowship are all still compelling, but not without a connection to purpose and a personal value set.

Question 3

What is your favorite cereal to have for dinner?

- Jacoby, Oklahoma Chapter

What a great question, Jacoby. Don’t drop your spoon into your bowl of cereal when you read my answer, but I don’t typically eat breakfast and if I do, it’s on the weekends when I make Minnie Mouse waffles for my daughter. But on the off chance that I eat cereal for breakfast or dinner, it would be Frosted Flakes for sure!

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