SONA President’s Welcome Message

What is the purpose of life?

A question that so many have asked: and a question that even less have answered. An answer that is constantly changing.  

As I understand it at this moment, the purpose of my life is twofold – looking inward (how can I become the best version of myself) and looking outward (how can I use this best version of myself to make the world a better place). There are many ways to make the world a better place. Small acts and large acts: both equally as important.

Thus, it is with great humility that I accept the role of National President of SONA. I am honored to be entrusted into a position in which I can represent the voices of architecture students across Australia to help foster student growth and advance architectural education.

Headshot of Nicole Mesquita-Mendes
SONA President | Nicole Mesquita-Mendes

I’d like to reflect on my own journey to date to provide some background on the direction in which I intend to lead SONA over the coming year. I have learnt so much professionally and personally over the course of my architectural education. While I am grateful for the whole experience, I am most grateful for the conversations I have had, the stories that have been shared with me and the friendships that I have made. I have met many passionate students and professionals who inspire me and give me hope for the future of the profession.

It is ultimately the community foundation of SONA and the Institute that allows students to do more. To help students enter the profession with the support of experienced practitioners. To create an environment where students can find their passions. To position students to positively contribute to the profession. To foster a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, empathy and wellbeing. To help students to take at least one step towards reaching their full potential.

I know that sometimes it might seem difficult or intimidating to go beyond your comfort zone, but one step forward, no matter how small, is better than no steps at all. I encourage you to think about what that step could be for you and know that there is a community to help support you on this journey.  

I would like to acknowledge the incredible work that has been done before me by Leanne Haider and previous SONA Reps, Executive Committee Members and Institute staff who have shown such care for and support of the architecture student community. I look forward to working with an amazing group of students, professionals and institute staff this year to continue to bring people together to do more, creating a culture that promotes empathy and wellbeing.