Student-architects say more to landscaping

To celebrate National Landscape Architecture Month, the Florida A&M chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects is using the week from April 7 to 11 to educate students on the importance of the profession.

Atwaul Bennett, 25, is a graduate student from Pensacola and president of FAMU’s ASLA. He said he hopes this week will bring awareness to the University of how significant landscape architecture is to the campus.

“We’re trying to give exposure for those who have undeclared majors,” Bennett said. “This is a great opportunity to learn about it.”

Alicia Hicks, 26, a landscape architecture graduate student from Chattahoochee, is the vice president of ASLA. She said the public is misinformed about the profession.

“People think that we’re gardeners, but there’s more to us than that,” Hicks said. “I would like students who have no idea what landscape architecture is to gain a small piece of knowledge about the profession.”

Richard Rome, director of the landscape architecture program and the state president for ASLA, is a strong advocate in recruiting minorities into the field.

“Landscape architecture is well known with the high-income population, but we want it to be known to people with modest to low-income,” Rome said. “Here at FAMU, our focus is on those populations that are underserved from our profession and giving them the quality of life they deserve.”

FAMU ASLA students are doing just that. ASLA students volunteer at Hope Community Homeless Shelter, providing food and clothes to those in need. Applying their major to their service, Hicks said they are planning to give the shelter a makeover.

“We helped design an area for a larger outdoor recreation at the shelter and we hope to implement new stages,” she said.

Powers said the hands-on environment the FAMU landscape architecture students are exposed to prepares them to be more proficient in the field.

“The difference between the professional and the student chapters is that they get their hands dirty,” Powers said. “The student chapter takes projects from concepts to implementation. It allows them to see the big picture.”

Activities during the week include a free breakfast in the studio in the School of Architecture, an exhibit for visitors to see examples of work, a panel discussion and a professional workshop.