Skip to main content
College of Environment and Design

CED Faculty and Students take on Minneapolis at the 2023 ASLA Conference

In October, faculty and students at the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design attended the ASLA 2023 Conference, an annual event that serves as the world’s largest gathering of landscape architects.  

This year, the conference was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where CED faculty and students met with experts, shared knowledge and learned about the latest research in landscape architecture.  

Sharing Knowledge and Making Connections 

Connecting with professionals and sharing knowledge at the ASLA Conference encourages professional growth in the field of landscape architecture. 

Jesssica Fernandez, an assistant professor at the CED, had the opportunity to share her research on the applications of big data.  

“My talk was specifically on the use of big data approaches for addressing how we can be more inclusive in our design and planning efforts related to different populations,” she said.  

Fernandez and CED instructor Carley Rickles enjoyed learning about new research in their field. Rickles was impressed by the lectures that she attended, where she learned about topics ranging from material reuse to hyperlocalism. Rickles also received an ASLA Communications Award on behalf of her design studio, Martin Rickles Studio (MRS). 

For students, opportunities to attend professional development events made the conference an incredible experience, and exploring Minneapolis allowed students to identify design elements learned in their classes. 

“There's something really special about being able to point out certain design elements that we've learned in school and that we then see in the real world,” said landscape architecture student Dailey Jackson. “I had never been to Minneapolis before, so the conference gave me the opportunity to explore a beautiful new city!”

Allison Krausman, a Master of Landscape Architecture student, attended lectures with the hopes of learning more about unfamiliar topics.  

“I attended a talk about how salt used for de-icing affects the environment and learned how design strategies can lessen the need for salting,” said Krausman. “It was really interesting learning about a weather consideration so different from what I have experienced in my daily life.” 

Master of Landscape Architecture student Sam Nash Riggs enjoyed attending the various events at the conference because they allowed her to connect with professionals in her field such as CED alum Kona Gray, ASLA President-elect.  

“It was all very inspiring!” said Riggs. 

Sketching in minneapolis 

For CED lecturer Cameron Berglund, the ASLA Conference allowed him to share his passion for sketching with landscape architecture students from universities across the United States.  

Berglund served as a facilitator for the Sketch Minneapolis Student Walkabout, an event for students wanting to improve their urban sketching skills. As a facilitator, Berglund offered advice on how to simplify details and edit designs.  

“This was such a great experience,” said Berglund. “I’ve done sketch walks before, but this one was big. We had about 90 students who signed up from 20 different universities.” 

In Athens, Berglund hosts an urban sketching groupthat meets every Wednesday, but sketching in Minneapolis provided a unique experience for Berglund because of the cold weather and proximity to the Mississippi River, which offered a picturesque backdrop for sketching.   

“Minneapolis was gorgeous,” said Berglund. “All the fall color was exploding, and the whole riverfront was amazing. We went to the Guthrie Theater, which has an incredible view overlooking the Mississippi River.” 

Going into local coffee shops throughout the day served as a respite from the cold and allowed students to compare sketches. These so-called coffee shop “throwdowns” are a good learning opportunity for students.  

“Everyone puts down their sketchbooks and then you walk around and talk with each other about your sketches — what worked, what didn’t, and what was inspiring,” said Berglund. 

Finding Success 

For Donnie Longenecker, CED senior lecturer and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture coordinator, the ASLA Conference is about helping students succeed. 

At the conference, Longenecker serves on a committee that oversees a review class for the landscape architecture licensing exam. Longenecker also helps organize funds to provide financial assistance for students interested in attending the conference.  

In the spring, Longenecker hosts a competition called Shark Tank, where student teams compete for a chance to win a travel scholarship to the ASLA Conference. This year, two student winners were able to attend. 

“For me, the conference is about teaching, helping emerging professionals get their license, and helping students as they get started on their career path,” said Longenecker. 

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602