Open Your Umbrella: Empowering Students Through Design
The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) believes in a world where “place is a catalyst for inspired learning – connecting professionals imagining, promoting, and realizing that vision.” As an engineering firm that intentionally seeks projects that require imagination and ingenuity, we whole-heartedly support A4LE’s vision and are honored to construct these projects in our community.
Downtown Seattle was a beautiful site for the A4LE Pacific Northwest Regional Conference earlier this month. Keith Kruger, Civil Associate, reflected that “the conference is a great way to meet with clients and colleagues in a more casual setting, and it presents excellent opportunities to learn how A/E/C teams can support the mission of K-12 education.”
The theme this year, “Open Your Umbrella: Empowering Students Through Design,” was an aspirational call to each participant, reminding us that when students are empowered in their environments, learning becomes relevant, engaging, and fun. The keynote speaker, Associate Professor Wesley Imms from the University of Melbourne, reminded us that “the only reasons schools exist is to improve student learning.”
The student-led seminar was a unique feature of the conference, and the “Green Portable Advocacy Campaign” presentation was especially memorable. Led by three King County high school Sustainability Ambassadors, the students made their case for replacing inefficient and unhealthy portables with green portables constructed to similar standards as permanent classrooms with more windows and better ventilation, and using renewable energy. Informative, passionate, and incredibly well-spoken – these students exemplified how important it is for students to feel empowered in their space.
From bus tours of K-12 and higher education facilities, a golf tournament and tradeshow, to speakers that included educators and designers, “the conference was a great success with over 250 colleagues from the region attending and enjoying the Seattle hospitality,” Cory Hitzemann, A4LE Washington State Chapter President.
The two-day event was engaging, informative, and inspiring (and for the record, we never had to open our umbrellas!). We had a blast attending the conference and can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store.
To learn more about A4LE, visit their website, here.