Check out the letter below from the President of the American Society of Landscape Architects Northern California Chapter, Sarka Volejnikova. Be sure to sign up to be a part of the student affiliate program, and benefit from all the great programs that the that the ASLA Northern California Chapter has to offer.
Dear members of the ASLA Northern California Chapter, colleagues an friends,
In the wake of the presidential elections we can all breathe a sigh of relief - both in gratitude that the madness surrounding the campaigns is over, and with hopes that the near future will continue to gain and maintain positive momentum in our professional and personal lives. The various reports and statistics on unemployment and the economy still fluctuate from day to day, but the construction industry is on the rise and landscape architecture seems to make a slow recovery. I hope and trust that our profession will continue to improve and flourish next year, and in the years to follow.
Our Chapter began a new term at the close of the ASLA Conference and Expo in Phoenix in September. New and returning members of the Executive Committee, all volunteers, launched into their work with ample energy, infectious enthusiasm and creative ideas. I feel very fortunate to be part of this group, and I look forward to working with them as the Chapter President over the next year.
I would particularly like to commend the work of last term’s Executive Committee under the energetic leadership of April Philips and the watchful eye of our Executive Administrator, Laura Leuer. The Committee had set bold goals and a busy schedule, andaccomplished them with flying colors.
In the 2012/2013 term we want to extend the great work of the past year by continuing to enhance services, advance communication between the Executive Committee and you, the Chapter members, and add value to your membership.
In September the Executive Committee held its annual strategic planning session, and from that session we established the following goals and priorities for the coming term:
- Membership. We recognize that our Chapter would greatly benefit from actively engaging more young people. Making ASLA both more visible and more valuable to young professionals is one of our top priorities. We have already started working more closely with the Emerging Professionals Group and the UC Berkeley Student Chapter. Our next step is to connect with students from other universities in the Chapter area by inviting them to our events and making it possible for them to meet both budding and seasoned professionals.
Speaking of students, we are happy to report that the Northern California Chapter has endorsed the founding of a Student Affiliate Chapter at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, which opened a School of Landscape Architecture in 2011.
- Mentorship Program. In providing more services to students and young professionals, we have identified mentorship as a primary focus for this term. We have set a framework for the Program, and will host a kick-off meeting on January 24th. We would like to cordially invite all of you who are interested in becoming mentors or seeking mentorship from others to join. We also encourage you to sign up for the Mentorship Program on our website in advance.
- Archiving Leading Professional Work. Northern California is an exciting place for high quality landscape architecture in the United States and in the world. One of our chief goals is to start archiving our best professional work by creating an on-line database of projects that have received an ASLA NCC award. We would like to make this database available to the public, to libraries and historical societies, and as case studies to students.
This archival work has the potential of becoming the basis for developing an on-lineLandscape Architect’s Guide to San Francisco. This guide would be modeled on the one recently launched for Washington, DC, and available on mobile devices. As a collection of walking tours the guide proves to be a wonderful way to promote the profession. CLICK HERE for The Landscape Architects Guide to Washington D.C.
- Health Insurance Coverage. To add value to your ASLA membership, we would like to start offering health insurance coverage in the near future. In partnership with the Sierra, Southern California and San Diego Chapters, we are investigating options in health care insurance providers, and would like to bring you this service as soon as is possible. Bear with us, and stay tuned!
Unlike the Federal government, the Northern California Chapter is not facing a fiscal cliff. We continue to operate well within our budget, and have been able to increase our financial reserve. Last year the Executive Committee worked very closely with our sponsors, and raised enough funds to bring the favorite pre-holiday social gathering back on the Chapter calendar. Our President’s Holiday Gala will be held on December 6th at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley, and I hope we will see all of you there. Aside from catching up with friends, the Gala is an occasion to celebrate new fellows in our Chapter. This year we will honor Chris Patillo and James Heid.
There is certainly more to come as the year unfolds. In January we will start another round of lecture series with multiple speakers on each topic to bring different points of view, foster discussion, and encourage your participation. In April you can look forward to our annual Chapter Meeting and Awards Presentation, and additional events as part ofLandscape Architecture Month which will be in the name of Public Service. If you missed the ASLA Giants Night at the AT&T Park this year, you’ll have a chance to root for them with us again next summer. Who would not want to see the World Series Champions and make it an outing with friends, family and colleagues?
All events and more will be publicized in our quarterly electronic newsletter, with a bonus paper issue in full color after the annual Awards presentation. Your own contributions to the newsletter and/or news updates are more than welcome!
As you can see, Northern California is a very busy ASLA chapter. If you would like to participate more actively in other ways, you can always contact individual committee members about issues that interest you. We’d encourage you to follow us on Facebook, and through our website calendar. And there’s nothing like face-to-face: We hope to talk to you in person at our various events. Your reciprocity in sharing your passion and points of view is crucial to what we do. Just as the health of the profession relies on a sustained flow of ideas, the health of the Chapter depends on your involvement.
We look forward to seeing familiar faces and to meeting new ones throughout the term!
On behalf of the entire ASLA NCC Executive Committee,
Sarka Volejnikova, President
Northern California Chapter, ASLA