Every year during the month of April, countries across the globe focus on ways to highlight and promote our profession. Sometimes this promotion takes the place as community events or lectures, but those events take a great deal of time to plan (something that is lacking in many lives). For the second year, ASLA has harnessed the power of social media by setting up the hashtag #WLAM2016 and providing cards that read, “This is Landscape Architecture”. People can take a picture that portrays landscape architecture (integrating the card somewhere in the image) then post the photo to social media avenues using #WLAM2016.
For inspiration, take a moment to look on the WLAM 2016 tagboard; see posts from Scotland, the Netherlands, Seattle, Chicago and more. All these images express what people have found important in their profession. This social media campaign gives people a chance to change how people view landscape architecture, showing a breadth of projects, all designed by a landscape architect.
If you were wondering if it is worth the effort, consider this. As of April 12, ASLA has counted 2,150 posts with #WLAM2016, all images of landscape architecture that reached 1,319,385 people. Hard numbers that show this campaign is not only a powerful way to promote landscape architecture, it can be a powerful way to promote your business as well. I would venture that most firms marketing programs don’t reach over a million people.
Every year the ASLA holds an Advocacy Summit and invites all the chapter representatives to attend intensive workshops that show how to use ASLA in crisis response and promoting legislation. In doing this, the goal is to build a nation-wide coordinated effort of advocacy on behalf of our profession. Being on the left coast, it is not easy to see or take part in all the work that ASLA puts into landscape architecture advocacy on various political fronts, but here are some things that we can do here in Oregon.
Sign up for iAdvocate on the ASLA Website
In about a minute, one can add their email to the iAdvocate system. This allows ASLA to send you an email when they need action. The action needed is usually a form letter that is sent to the appropriate political representative. Form letters can be used as is, but people are encouraged to modify the letter to make it their own. It rarely takes more than 5-10 minutes and makes a great deal of difference. Check out the link at: http://advocate.asla.org/app/register?2&m=15471
If Something Goes Wrong – Utilize the National ASLA Staff
Many are unaware of just how savvy the government affairs and advocacy staff are at ASLA. These people have spent time learning how the political system works and are adept at explaining what strategy might work best. If it is an effort that takes money, ASLA offers opportunities for grants to help fund the work that needs to be done. Whether it is a threat to licensure laws or a piece of legislature that would be harmful to our profession, the staff at ASLA can help.
Very few of us have extra moments in the day, but making the effort to keep strengthening our profession needs continued diligence. Paying attention to matters like the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that Congress recently let expire, is important. Why? As the ASLA writes, the LWCF has been funded for 50 years “when we drill for offshore oil and gas that belongs to all Americans, we put a little of the proceeds aside as a conservation offset that gives back something lasting and meaningful – protecting parks and other public spaces we care about.” “Parks and public spaces”, is why the ASLA paid attention, and that is exactly the reason we should, too. Transportation, parks, housing, small businesses, and water issues are not only important drivers of our profession, but important to our mission as landscape architects. Using the iAdvocate system is an efficient tool for making it easier to track these issues Take a moment and get involved. Your profession depends on it.