AIGA Student Group Guide
AIGA student groups offer aspiring professionals the opportunity to get involved, create community, and build leadership skills. AIGA is committed to serving its student groups as a way of encouraging students to take the first step in demonstrating a commitment to their professional interest and assisting them in exploring the profession.
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About AIGA Student Groups
Students represent tomorrow’s professional designers and the future of AIGA. When student members organize to become student groups, they create a community that serves as a microcosm of AIGA. Some student groups are purely informal and others have their own student boards and scheduled programming; all of them cultivate the next generation of design leaders. Forming an AIGA student group is the single best link between student life and professional practice.
Guided by faculty advisors who actively support them, student groups become leaders of on-campus design programming and events, uniting students into a larger community and preparing them better for their careers as professional designers.
Student group members have the opportunity to:
- Gain access to leadership training and skills
- Connect directly with professional designers
- Gain first hand experience and exposure through volunteering opportunities on a student board or at the annual AIGA Design Conference.
AIGA’s Commitments to Student Groups
- For any student groups with 10 or more active AIGA Student members, a complimentary Educator level membership for the calendar year will be awarded to the faculty advisor
- All AIGA student group members will have access to the full benefits of AIGA’s national membership
- AIGA will introduce a Student Group management portal at my.aiga.org to allow faculty advisors to update and manage student rosters online throughout the year
Tools for Educators + Students
AIGA Student Group Requirements, Roles, and Tips
- Each student group should have at least 10 students with active AIGA memberships at all times
- Each student group must have a faculty advisor
- The faculty advisor must submit the advisor agreement form to start a new group or reactivate a lapsed group
- The faculty advisor is required to maintain a current roster of AIGA student members in the group. Roster changes should be sent to email@example.com
- The faculty advisor should encourage students to keep their contact information updated (e.g., email, change of address, graduation date, major) by logging in to their own profiles at my.aiga.org
Student Group - the collected students from a single college or university, consisting of a minimum of 10 AIGA student members.
Faculty advisor - the faculty leader of the student group and the liaison between the student group, school, AIGA headquarters, and their local chapter.
(Optional) Student Group President - the group leader and liaison to local chapter. This person is strongly encouraged to connect with their local chapter board and report on the activities of their student group, attend board meetings and local chapter events whenever possible.
(Optional) Student Officers - assorted roles for other student members who lead the student group with the president. These positions may be modeled after the local chapter board. At best, the student officers also become active volunteers for the chapter.
Student Groups have the option to create a student board to carry the purpose and vision of AIGA to the members of their group. All those who serve as student officers must be AIGA members in good standing.
- Student officer responsibilities may include:
- Creating and organizing effective events and activities
- Being familiar with and dedicated towards the mission of AIGA
- Abiding by the endorsed AIGA standards and ethics
- Attending all student group meetings
- Keeping their faculty advisor and national office informed of current contact information
- Actively promoting AIGA and their student group
- Actively participating in local chapter events
- Serving as a liaison to the local chapter board
- Performing duties of office held within the group
The number of roles may vary depending on the size of the particular group. Positions should provide a well-rounded structure and allow for each officer to serve a distinct function or role.
President - The president is the leader of the student group and works with the faculty advisor on the agenda of group meetings. The president will also represent the group to the chapter board.
Vice president - The VP assists the president as needed. When the president is absent, the vice president performs the president’s duties, such as introducing speakers and leading student group meetings.
Secretary - The secretary maintains the group’s records, including meeting agendas and summaries of events and activities. These records should be shared with the faculty advisor and the chapter’s education director.
Treasurer - The treasurer handles money at events, provides a report of current finances at group meetings and assists the faculty advisor in keeping track of funds. The treasurer does not hold funds, however—this responsibility is held by the faculty advisor.
Communications director - This person utilizes all online and in-person tools to keep student members, nonmembers and faculty at the school informed of upcoming events and activities. This includes maintaining the group’s social media channels and sending out group-wide emails.
Programming director - The programming director outlines the necessary steps for arranging events or group activities. They may also seek other opportunities within the school, with other student groups, and around the community.
Membership director - The membership director assists the faculty advisor in distributing and collecting applications and keeps contact information for each member.
Usher in the next generation of design professionals as an AIGA faculty advisor. Help prepare your stand-out students for the field by teaching them skills like event planning, project management, teamwork, and leadership. Consider becoming a faculty advisor and encouraging today’s students to become tomorrow’s design leaders.
Each student group will have one faculty advisor, who must submit a formal agreement in order to activate the group. The faculty advisor is the liaison between the students and AIGA, and is responsible for the formation and maintenance of the student group. In return for the extra work required of the faculty advisor to run a successful group, AIGA provides the advisor with a complimentary membership at the Educator level.
Submit your faculty advisor agreement form: Here
Student groups are responsible for your own programs and fundraising, with the Faculty Advisor managing the group’s finances.
If there is an AIGA chapter in your area, reach out to their leadership to ask about resources and support that the chapter may be able to offer your student group. Your group’s Faculty Advisor should facilitate this.
Chapters are required to utilize a portion of their revenue towards programming and content for student and education audiences. We encourage chapters to develop a mechanism for granting nearby student groups a portion of chapter funds for programming activities on campus.
AIGA student groups should primarily plan your own programming and own events, but here are some tips on working successfully with your local chapter.
- A Faculty Advisor should be the main point of contact between a student group and a chapter.
- Check your chapter’s calendar to ensure your group can plan complementary programming that doesn’t overlap or conflict with chapter events.
- Be sure to promote regional AIGA chapter events to your fellow students, and try to organize carpools or supplemental “on the town” activities to get more students to attend.
- Meet your chapter board members and invite chapter leaders to visit your school when preparing to launch a new student group or for kick off a group’s programming year.
- Volunteer for chapter activities and programs when available to enrich your network and collaborate with professional designers.
Naming Your AIGA Student Group
A student group has two naming options:
- AIGA [School] student group
- [School] AIGA student group
AIGA logos and trademarks are not provided to AIGA student groups.
Have a goal or mission for the group
The first meeting of the school year should address a mission or set of goals for that coming school year. What does the group want to accomplish? Some examples might be: increase membership, have more design education events, have more field trips or studio tours or hold fundraising activities so students can attend distant events like the AIGA Design Conference.
Create effective events and activities
When creating events for any group of people, always begin by polling the target audience for what their interests are. In the case of student groups, your target audience is you. Ask yourself what you want to see from a student group. What’s missing that can be done easily? What can benefit the widest possible group of students? What would supplement what you’re learning in classes and studios?
Plan programs well
Your group will have a much better experience if your programs are considered with careful planning and preparation. Use budget sheets, event timelines, communication plans and other documents that cover every detail of your program.
Keep things simple, inexpensive and fun
Planning and programming is most effective when it’s all three of these. Ask yourself, “What’s the main goal of this event?” Is it to educate fellow students? Inspire them? Bring them together? Try to stick to the main goal like it’s a mission statement.
Have regular meetings
The student officers should work with the faculty advisor to select a regular meeting schedule. Advertise these meetings for the benefit of other students who may wish to serve as officers or get involved in the group’s activities. This can be done through Facebook, by email or with flyers posted around campus.
Keep all students informed and included
Your entire student group will likely meet less frequently than your student officers. But to have a successful student group, all students need to know what’s going on with your group. AIGA strongly recommends holding an event that kicks off each semester as a way to get everyone to meet each other and stay informed about upcoming activities.
Be creative - It’s what design students are naturally great at!
The national AIGA office is here to help your student group succeed. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-807-1990.
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