August 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm #173142
Having been recently laid off, I’ve found that increasing my volunteering through ASLA and local planning groups has helped replace the sense of purpose, productivity, and camaraderie that are easy to lose along with the paycheck when dealing with a layoff. It’s also been a good way to keep my mind busy and great source of informal networking, but enough about the selfish benefits :-0…
I’m finding it to be a nice way to give back without giving away work product and also an effective way to promote our profession by increasing awareness of what we do among groups (i.e. high school students, some allied professions) that might otherwise ask the perennially irritating “yes but what do you do in the winter” question – all in all, a win-win, I think!
I’d love to hear what kinds of volunteer/outreach work (land arch-related or otherwise) are other landscape architects/designs doing in this economy, and which would you recommend to others?August 24, 2009 at 1:53 am #173150Jennifer de GraafParticipant
I am volunteering at the UCSF Cancer Resource Center at the Mt. Zion campus – I found it actually difficult to find volunteer work, seems to be a popular idea. Working at the CRC has been great, even if it isn’t industry related.August 24, 2009 at 2:03 am #173149
Nice! I’ve been lucky with the ASLA National Meeting being in Chicago – I’ve been able to get involved with leading a walking tour and helping out with the ASLA/ACE Mentor Program Legacy Project. I’m planning to do something non-industry related once I finish my MLA thesis project (famous last words, I know :-D)August 25, 2009 at 1:40 am #173148celeste dolbecParticipant
I volunteered on the “Art all Around” project; the major public art / landscape project for Maine Center for Creativity. Even made a proposal for an overlook. It’s a dynamic project that put me in touch w/ some great people in Portland, MEAugust 25, 2009 at 11:26 am #173147Brad BuschurParticipant
Upon being laid off I had great ideas about how I would volunteer. I ended up taking my two year to the play ground and the public pool down the street. It also provided time to finish gutting the kitchen. My volunteer/outreach idea is to make the case for a pedestrian bridge from Chelsea into Charlestown. It would be suspended from the Tobin Bridge and could be viewed as an extension of the Freedom Trail.August 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm #173146Jennifer de GraafParticipant
I’ve been thinking about proposing landscape improvements to the College of Alameda in Alameda, CA – they need it! what a depressing campus. I’m sorry, but it is true. Anyone have any experience doing this? pro-bono even?August 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm #173145
I can’t decide if it’s uncouth to extol the hidden networking opportunities (I don’t think so – like I said it’s pretty much a win-win!), but isn’t it amazing the people you can meet doing these things? I’ve found it’s a great way to meet firm principles and more established design professionals (who generally have more time donate) who share my values on community outreach and service to our profession beyond making the next buck. I’ve found too the public art is an especially good area for working with a lot of different people – good luck with the project!August 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm #173144
I must admit, I’ve stuck with the close-to-home volunteering that I was basically already doing (ASLA Conference and a local group I’m in called Women in Planning and Development), just ramping things up and saying yes to more things. The ASLA/ACE Mentor Program Legacy Project for the National Meeting, for example. was a great opportunity to help facilitate a charrette for hs students redesigning their courtyard with materials to be donated by the EXPO vendors – I was asked to participate with two days notice, and being so “liberated” I was able to say yes!
Hanging out with the family and improving the homestead are another bonus of a layoff – Frank and I actually get to see each other now that I’m home and he has weird hours at Best Buy that are frequently the polar opposite of a 9 to 5 (or 8 to 7 in my former case, LOL)!August 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm #173143
Interesting you mention that, Jennifer – with respect to Brad’s mention of a pedestrian bridge as well – I think this is an area with great opportunity and worth further exploration and discussion. I don’t have any experience with it, but my fiance (Frank Varro, also an la on here) and I frequently talk about taking on projects like that for local sites that interest us, if only for the intellectual and skills workout. As the neighborhood’s (not-so) certified tree volcano vigilantes ;-D, we’ve always got ideas for how things could be improved.
I think things can get tricky when it comes to giving away actual design services, because that can have the unintended effect of people devaluing the work and being less willing to pay you what you’re worth when the time comes. So I’d definitely love to hear how people have handled this as well!
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