Earlier this month, Jared and I took a trip up to New York to share our chapter’s story with the National AIGA offices. I say it a lot, but I am incredibly proud of how our chapter has grown and persevered throughout the years. We are all volunteers and we do this because we care about design and our community and how those two things co-exist and thrive. We know this is a place where design is needed and will continue to be needed, as long as folks care to make the investment in helping it grow and evolve with the times.
The last few years have been characterized by a number of ups and downs for our chapter, as we’ve seen changes in the design landscape in Central Pennsylvania, as well as a drop (and uptick!) in member and volunteer engagement, a change of boards and two changes in leadership. In the last year, our chapter has strived to produce programming that is inline with our membership’s wants and needs by checking in as often as possible through conversation, feedback forms at event and yearly membership surveys.
AIGA Membership Takes Two Forms: Passive and Active
I joined the board in 2014, as Communications Chair, and three years later, I am wrapping up my first year as President of the chapter. In the last three years I’ve learned more than I can list out regarding teamwork, organization, management and more. Every event and initiative the chapter pulls off leaves me with a feeling of awe and accomplishment, like no other, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I do this: to create something out of nothing and give back to people who love some of the same things that I do. I love seeing people come together and collaborate and grow. I love seeing people walk away with a new perspective, idea or contact or two. I love bringing community together to think, create and move. AIGA membership is what you put into it, which is why I choose to be active.
That being said, I hope you’ll join us at our next community meeting at Pubforge in May. We’ll be doing some of the exercises from the new Gender Equity Toolkit, giving a quick overview of the presentation Jared and I gave at national, planning our programming for the fall and launching our open call for board members for 2017-2017 ( I can’t believe it’s nearly June again).
AIGA Central Pennsylvania
Some Background on our Organization’s Structure
The national AIGA offices, in New York, house a paid staff that support the non-profit’s initiatives and development, securing grants, running membership, creating media for our conferences and programming, and then some. Below that, structurally, our national board is made up of volunteers, similar to our chapter boards, that helps direct the organization’s future and advocate on behalf of the chapters and organization. On the local level our 72 chapters and their boards interact directly with our communities and tie those interactions in with the national organization. The local chapters are where most AIGA engagement happens for the typical member.