How You Make an Impact

What we do is an extension of ourselves. Whether it’s a book club, playing soccer, building furniture, or baking. We all find something, or many things, that keep oneself in equilibrium and a state of order. For me, I’m in the boat of “many things–” two boards, three committees, a neighborhood group, two major events, studying for my Architectural Registration Exams (AREs), and currently in the later stages of potty training a toddler. Wow! It’s not until you list it all at once the affirmation kicks in and begs the question, “how am I doing all that?” Besides an updated calendar and negotiations on kid pick-up, it can be done if you believe in the missions supporting those commitments.

The energy and passion I bring to these commitments comes from a desire to create fulfilling experiences for others. Whether it be an experience for peer volunteers, volunteers I lead, or staff members supporting volunteers. But most rewarding is when my service impacts a community of people that have similar interests in making change for the greater good–the emerging professionals of the local AIA Chapter, families and neighbors of the public elementary school, or the groups creating parks for PARK(ing) Day. Their excitement and success keeps me coming back year after year.

For me, my involvement is also a way meet new people whether in our industry or not. As an emerging professional it allows me to meet and interact with many professionals at various stages in their careers. I have been able to seek out mentorship, and connect peers and veterans of our industry beyond projects.

Sometimes we can get stuck in our own bubble and forget how we as individuals are affecting the built environment. I think the greatest thing about connecting and taking action with these groups, is that it reminds me that we’re all part of a larger community, a small piece of a big puzzle­– and beyond the specifications, the drawings, and the finishes are the people.

Erike De Veyra is a board member of the Center for Architecture + Design and the Philadelphia University (PhilaU) Alumni Association; a member of the DesignPhiladelphia (DP) Steering Committee, Community Design Collaborative’s PlaySpace AdHoc Committee (and project volunteer), and PhilaU’s College of Architecture & Built Environment Advancement Council, Friends of Moffet; the Marketing & Communications Chair and Fast Forward >> Philly (DP event) Co-Organizer for the Philadelphia Emerging Architects committee of AIA Philadelphia; and assists in organizing PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia, part of worldwide event to raise awareness of public spaces.