The USF Chapter of AIGA created a space on campus for students passionate about design by hosting a variety of events to promote professional development, community building, and artistic growth.
USF revived its student chapter in Fall 2017 when Tin Dinh (2018), Rommel Ballasteros (2019) and Monika Mandreza (2019) saw the opportunity to create a greater sense of community within the Design program while giving students access to professional opportunities. AIGA, the Professional Association for Design, is the oldest national professional membership organization for design with the aim to enhance the value and deepen the impact of design across disciplines. The USF chapter inspires members through guest speakers and special topic events, connects students across disciplines, and provides access to professional development resources.
The organization hosted tours of local design firms, guest lectures from design program alumni and professional designers, and bonding events for community building. During the fall 2017 semester, students learned about post-graduation opportunities through tours of the design firm Volume SF and the Stanford d.School. In spring 2018, USF Design alumni Kate Matsumoto, currently a product designer for Etsy, shared what she learned both at USF and in her professional career during a monthly guest speaker event. Members also had the opportunity to attend AIGA SF events that discuss a variety of topics, such as the future of design careers to the packaging of beloved craft beer, Fort Point.
Along with a focus on professional and artistic growth, AIGA USF brought students from different years and disciplines together to form a community passionate about design. Students moved out of the labs and ate out at Off the Grid, played vintage pinball, and celebrated the end of the fall semester with karaoke. By bonding with one another, students formed a support network that could inspire and support. Lauren Reedy (2019) joined “to learn about the design community beyond USF and to gain mentors that can help better my skills as a designer.” Tin, former president of AIGA, believed that growth came with collaboration, “Designing is fun, but its so much for fun when you can do it and share it with others!”
As AIGA finished their first year back at USF, the group is already looking to how they can better serve their members during the 2018-2019 academic year with a new E-Board headed by President Monika Mandreza (2019). Fellow returning E-board member Mackenzie Miller (2020) hopes “to see AIGA grow into a know name amongst the design department. AIGA is a really great program for those in the design field and introduces students to the real world of design.”