By: Mikayla Watson, Student ASID and Emma Coyle, Student ASID
The 2023 fall chapter kickoff meeting introduced the new Department Head, Dr. Melanie Duffey. In addition, students were introduced to the newest professor to the Auburn Interior Design program, Georges Fares, who previously taught at Kansas State University and received in 2019, ASID Ones To Watch award. The kickoff meeting hosted guest speakers from Mannington Commercial including Richard French, CEO of Mannington Commercial; Roby Isaac, vice president of Design and Cindy Kaufman, vice president of Marketing. The kickoff meeting updated students on changes and opportunities for the upcoming school year including a Study Abroad opportunity reoccurring for a second year with Dr. Anna Ruth Gatlin in Scotland.
Auburn was well represented at ASID’s Impact 2023 as well as the Daisy Bond Awards where six Auburn students received various awards across the categories.
The Advisory Board participated in a round table professional development opportunity where students were able to receive feedback and advice from various members of the board about internships, interviews, portfolios, resumes, and more! This was a great experience for many students who participated to meet professionals in the field and learn from them!
Looking to the future, more exciting events will be occurring at Auburn including a design competition with Mannington Commercial where students will have the opportunity to submit their design featuring a Mannington product(s).
As of mid-Spring 2023 semester, the newest officers of The Societies at Auburn University were selected and inducted into their positions following elections. The Societies serves as an all-encompassing professional society to encourage membership in both the ASID and IIDA professional societies as well as furthering student involvement within the major of Interior Design. Each spring elections are held, in-person, where candidates are able to give a short speech to explain their qualifications and goals for their desired position. Attendees of the elections are then able to vote anonymously for the candidate of their choice, and votes are calculated on the spot. This past spring, the officers elected for each position are as follows:
ASID President: Lyvi King
ASID Liaisons: Emma Coyle and Mikayla Watson
Events Coordinator: Molly Morgan
Marketing: Kate Puffer
Public Relations: Riley Harrison
Treasurer: Isabelle Smith
Secretary: Isabella Caswell
Since the induction of the current officers, The Societies has seen a significant increase in membership with triple the amount of verified members since the Fall of 2022. This surge in involvement has been the catalyst for several events throughout the semester for members of The Societies with the goal of professional and personal development in mind. The first event this year began with a meet and greet of the officers at the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center that served as the perfect backdrop for professional headshots at a fraction of the cost for all members.
Just a few weeks later, The Societies hosted a Freshman Flower Night as a way to cater to the youngest members and bring them together in a fun way to connect with each other and the upperclassmen officers outside of the studio. The event was hosted outdoors at the Red Barn on campus with great success! In the same week, The Societies also hosted a Young Professionals Q&A Panel at the Rane Culinary Center on campus as a way to network with newly-graduated (within 5 years) industry professionals and ask intentional questions about post-grad life. This event had a record number of attendees, and the five panelists were gracious enough to share their experiences and linger afterwards to meet and answer any other questions. The panel included Auburn graduates who are now working in the Montgomery, Birmingham, and Atlanta areas at a wide range of firms to give well-rounded perspectives in all areas of the interior design field.
Most recently, The Societies hit the road and took a group of students to tour the Atlanta Sub-zero and Walker-Zanger showrooms as an educational hands-on experience for attendees. This day-trip was certainly a hit as all who were able to go came back and raved about the experience. In a statement from attendee and The Societies ASID President, Lyvi King, “Going to subzero was really cool because it was great to see the subzero rep, Margaret Walden, again. She was very informative and helped us to see the products from a different perspective. Walker-Zanger was really interesting to go to because I had never been to an actual slab warehouse before, but it really was amazing to see earth’s art and the beauty that comes from the natural materials. I guess just seeing how all the different kinds of color and stone patterns come together in one room was awesome. Honestly, I just think it’s cool to know that there are people in the industry who are so willing to take time out of their weeks to support and invest in students like us.”
In the near future, The Societies has plans to implement a mentorship program for all members that will pair an underclassman with an upperclassman who can provide guidance and support throughout their time in the program. We plan to kick-off this pairing process with a Valentine’s “speed dating” event where upper and lower classmen can meet one another in a continuous rotation of pairings and questions to help everyone meet one another and begin to build the foundations for a mentor/mentee connection.
In addition to the mentorship program, The Societies wants to continue to further the professional growth of its members with an all-inclusive Virtual Professional Panel for an even wider range of panelists to see all stages of careers from any location. More exciting news to come soon from The Societies at Auburn University. War Eagle!