FROM THE SONA PRESIDENT
From the big to the small, each act of kindness helps to build our community and hope for the future. In a world that faces numerous challenges and confrontations, it is important to reflect on and celebrate what we have achieved together.
The SONA community comprises of passionate, dedicated and inspirational student volunteers from 27 universities, the 4 executive committee members, and of course, all architecture students across Australia.
Together, we have worked to create agency for students enabling them to do more.
This year we aimed to do more by:
- Strengthening the voice of architecture students through advocacy and representation. We worked to raise awareness and improve architectural education through mental well-being initiatives and representing students on National and Chapter Councils. SONA advocated for students at the Institute of Architects Lost Opportunities Symposium and Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia Annual General Meetings. Stay tuned for the SONA Annual Survey in 2023!
- Cultivating the architectural student community by providing students with opportunities to connect locally and nationally. We fostered a culture of community and collaboration between students through: O week & SONA welcome events across the country, SONA social and networking events, the launch of the digital zine: de-PICT, Super Studio design competition & supporting the Occupy Student Architecture Congress.
- Connecting students to resources and opportunities to develop their knowledge and networks to confidently enter the profession. This year, we launched the inaugural Beyond Uni Series, collaborated with the Acumen Content review Panel to develop three new student note packs – First job, Super Studio theme (sustainable and regenerative design) and client management. additionally, we supported students to access Institute membership benefits including the National Mentoring Program, community, and other online resources. If you have any questions about accessing these benefits, please reach out!
- Enhancing the National SONA committee operations to foster a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork, and collaboration. To represent architecture students more effectively, we sought to optimise our internal organisational administration. This included implementing more peer-to-peer support for SONA representatives, consulting with students to develop a 2023 strategic plan with clear goals and pathways, fostering relationships with universities and coordinating the face-to-face induction for incoming 2023 SONA reps.
This would not have been possible without the incredible effort of a wide range of people.
I want to thank all our 2022 SONA representatives for their time, effort and contribution to SONA and the architectural student community. These representatives demonstrated exemplary leadership, time management and community-building skills over the course of their term, and we are grateful that they decided to share their passion with us.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to our 2022, Vice President of Member Engagement, Alvin Zhu and Vice President of Competitions and Events, Reem Daou, whose time on the SONA Executive Committee ends this year.
Reem, connected students and challenged us to think more actively about the practice of architecture through her leadership of the SONA Representatives to successfully deliver Superstudio, Beyond Uni and RU OK Day across Australia.
Alvin worked to create an active and diverse community by improving SONA’s internal operations by implementing measures to better support representatives and led the SONA’s digital communications portfolio.
While we are sad to see Reem and Alvin go, we are excited to welcome Kathryn Neal, as Vice President Competitions and Events, Blake Hillebrand, as Vice President Member Engagement and Aremel Tibayan, as President-Elect.
SONA would not have been able to achieve our goals and aspirations without the ongoing support of the Institute Staff, notably Claudia McCarthy, Madelynn Jenkins, and Michael Linke, the Insitute’s National Council, National Education Committee and EmAGN.
This year also brings a close to the end of my term as SONA National President. It has been an honour to be able to represent and be a part of such a vibrant, empathetic, and engaged community. I am grateful to have been able to hear students’ stories, build friendships and be inspired by the passion of the people I have met. It instils me with hope for the future of the industry and the world. I look forward to the year to come as Thomas Huntingford steps into the role of National President for 2023 and continues to create agency that enable students to do more.
Wishing you all a happy, joyful, and relaxing holiday season.