Advocacy, making your voice count

Manuel Andrade, AIA, LEED AP bd+c Westchester + Hudson Valley AIA President

I believe that one of the major benefits of being an AIA member, is that the AIA is consistently promoting and protecting the profession of Architecture on national, state and local levels. Along with lobbying for the profession, the AIA also strives to train any and all members that are interested in taking a more active roll in advocacy and making the voice count.

On July 13-15, SpeakUp, the AIA’s new, annual advocacy leadership event, will be held in Washington DC. During this event the AIA will provide advocacy training to assist its members to take full advantage of the short amount of time that is available when meeting with political representatives and advocating for our profession. While in Washington DC, the attendees will take the tools and strategies that we presented and meet with their representatives in Congress and lobby for the issues that are effecting the profession of Architecture.

In May it is off the Albany. On May 3, the AIA New York State is sponsoring Albany Advocacy Day. On this day, members of the New York Chapters gather in Albany to meet with their representatives. Issues affecting architects are discussed and more importantly, connections are established that are furthered developed on a local level. Last year was my first year attending Albany Lobby Day. At first it seemed a little over-whelming but after the first couple of meetings, the discussions became more natural. I urge any member that is interested in going us on Albany Lobby Day to contact our chapter office for additional information.

Your chapter is also lobbying on a local level. Lobby on a local level does not always have to involve elected officials. For example, last year the members of the Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter met with the Westchester County Health Department to voice our concerns regarding the septic regulations. Through our discussions, the regulations were revised by the County Health Department that relieve the burden that was caused by the old regulations. If there is ever an issue that you see, please contact the chapter.

The major advantage of being an AIA member is the number AIA Members, just over 83,000 National Members, that form a powerful voice in promoting and protecting our profession of Architecture.

I would like to leave you with one important reminder, if you are interested in joining the AIA Advocacy group I urge you to do so, but if not, please remember that during this political season it is extremely important to Speak Up and make your voice count and vote.