An exceptional tool to help students develop understanding of the profession and prepare them for excellence in the fields of design, an AIGA Student Group can also be professionally rewarding for the group’s Faculty Advisor and possibly used for professional development purposes within various programs and institutions. An AIGA Student Group is also an excellent bridge between students that are often far removed from the world outside of academia and are not certain of the “real world”. The larger community of professionals is often looking for community engagement and further professional growth. The ultimate goal of an AIGA Student Group is to get students involved in their local professional community and being introduced to opportunities such as mentoring, networking and as potential volunteers supporting local chapter committees. At the college level, an AIGA Student Group can be a catalyst to help students to learn and develop leadership skills that can be nurtured within the group becoming a valuable asset as students eventually transition into the larger professional world.
There are a few requirements and a major benefit to becoming a group’s faculty advisor that you must be aware of in order to have an officially recognized AIGA Student Group. Before an AIGA Student Group will be officially recognized, there must be a minimum of 10 students with active AIGA memberships at all times; the faculty advisor must maintain a roster available under the advisor’s AIGA profile. The faculty advisor is responsible for submitting a formal agreement with the AIGA national office in order to officially activate the group; the advisor acts as the liaison between the national office and is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the student group. The faculty advisor is also required to submit an annual report outlining the group’s activities throughout the previous year. As a recognition of the extra work necessary to facilitate and maintain an AIGA Student Group, faculty advisors of officially recognized groups are provided a complimentary AIGA membership at the Supporter level. For a full list of the requirements to organize and create an AIGA Student Group, view the About AIGA Student Groups on the AIGA web site.
AIGA Student Groups are automatically affiliated with the nearest AIGA chapter, but AIGA strongly promotes the notion that student groups should be, as much as possible, autonomous in developing their own programming. Local AIGA chapters receive a portion of the student group’s membership dues and local chapters and faculty advisors are encouraged to develop pathways for assisting and granting student groups funds for programming initiatives on campus — a great opportunity to promote your college and program to a local professional audience while promoting access for students to interact with professionals. Further tips, organizational responsibilities and suggestions can be found on the How to run a successful student group page on the national web site.