By: Tyler Nguyen | BSA '18 and Andrea Welsh | BSA '18
To many people, a conference may be associated with meeting others who they share a similar profession with, going to dry lectures, and temporarily residing in a hotel above the event center. This year, the American Institute of Architecture Students’ (AIAS) annual conference, FORUM, examined the theme of REVOLUTION, and thus encouraged deviation from this trend. The conference is organized by students, for students who have similar aspirations. The foundation of this event is dependent on the energy and the drive of youth, which is apparent throughout the experience. Revolution is understanding the status-quo, and challenging how predecessors have always addressed issues. AIAS FORUM is about brightening eyes towards the future, and creating a foundation for the next generation of designers as the world is handed down to them.
I’ve never attended a FORUM before, and it still brings butterflies to my stomach that I was selected to join the team spearheading the coordination of the event. I had always imagined the conference as a gathering of the best of the best in the field, a gathering of people so passionate for architecture that the fire in their eyes never fully diminish. So of course, when the conference was just a few days away, I was so eager to meet these faces. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold right before FORUM, that lasted the duration of the conference. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to carry out my duties of coordinating volunteers. It wasn’t until the volunteer orientation that I fully comprehended the power of our generation. The volunteer team was incredible, and having such a motivated backing from these passionate students invigorated me, sustaining me through the conference. The true strength of FORUM is to harness the freedom of the youthful spirit and share it with those around us. I was the one fortunate to be lifted up by this spirit. Even today, as we have returned to our homes, and our communities, each person carries a spark to share with their communities.
- Tyler Nguyen; Volunteer Coordinator 2016-17
My first experience with FORUM was in San Francisco last year. I remember being overcome by the passion of the AIAS members that I met there, I was inspired by the speakers, and I left with a focused drive for the profession, education, and fellow students. When I was chosen for the planning committee, the team started questioning how every element of FORUM could be a part of the revolution, from the keynotes to the after dark events. Even elements that you might think aren’t important or could be over looked were designed with the revolution in mind. While planning, we focused on what the most crucial topics facing students today are and what will they face in their careers. The most impactful part of FORUM, however, is what happens when FORUM is over, when everyone goes back to their respective universities. The inspiration they felt to be the change in their schools and in the profession is what the revolution will be. I can already see it at Wentworth. People who were at FORUM are inspired to strengthen our chapter, get more involved, and excite other about what they can do as architects and how the profession is changing, understanding that they are the future.
- Andrea Welsh; Events Director 2016-17