Leading the Landscape Architecture Alumni & Advisory Board during unprecedented times

Michael Rein LAAAB president shares his experiences and reflections from the past year.

Michael Rein.
Michael Rein, president of the MSU Landscape Architecture Alumni & Advisory Board.

This is no ordinary time.

The COVID-19 crisis has touched all of our lives and in most cases necessitated changes to almost every aspect of our daily schedules and responsibilities. The challenges associated with this virus are unprecedented. I sincerely hope that you, your families and those close to you are healthy and finding ways to cope through these uncertain times.

The MSU Landscape Architecture Alumni & Advisory Board (LAAAB) continues the rewarding work of collaborating with Landscape Architecture (LA) Program Director Jun-Hyun Kim, Ph.D., the LA students and faculty.

We are fortunate to have a skilled and dedicated board with members from across the country and representing a wide cross-section of LA program graduates from various classes.

Our Board appreciates the leadership of both Kim and Ming-Han Li, Ph.D., director of the School of Planning, Design and Construction. They continue to work closely with our group, solicit our input and look for ways to more effectively collaborate with alumni and LA professionals.

In my six-year tenure on the LAAAB, we have not always enjoyed such a positive working relationship with the program administration. I attribute the improved cooperation and communication to both Kim and Li.

The LAAAB continues our work supporting the students through our mentoring program and our contributions to the LA Enrichment Fund.

In 2019, because of the board’s support 20 LA students attended the Michigan American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) meeting and 10 students attended the national ASLA meeting.

At our February board meeting, we initiated a discussion with Kim about “Equipping MSU LA Students in the Future.” The conversation was productive and well-received by the program director.

As the strange new reality of our lives begin to settle in, we have started to define how we will live, work, communicate, stay connected and sustain ourselves.

People have established new norms, new schedules, new forms of communicating with their families, friends and acquaintances. New ways to work and be productive. People by nature are resilient; we adjust. We accept the circumstances, as surreal as they may be, and we persevere. We move forward.

This is a great time for the profession of landscape architecture. People across the country have a renewed appreciation for being outdoors and enjoying both the natural and built environment.

Thanks to the countless number of talented MSU LA graduates across this country, our alumni have created places that provide positive and memorable experiences for people emerging from isolation and dealing with this new reality.

The current LA students will carry this legacy forward and the LAAAB feel fortunate to play some role in their development and continuing our overall support of the Landscape Architecture program.

As always, we could use the assistance of our alumni. If you are in a position now to offer financial support, please let us know. If now is not opportune, please keep the LAAAB and the MSU LA program in mind going forward. In any case, we appreciate your continued interest.

Please stay safe. Take care and be well.

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