CE+D Hosts over 400 for LAbash 2019
College of Environment and Design students hosted this year’s LAbash in early April, rolling out the Athens hospitality and creative life-forces for over 400 visitors. Led by an executive team of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture students Stuart Harriott, Julia Alcorn, Teresa Nguyen, and Ben Gladstone, and 25 additional student volunteers, the annual event drew students and landscape design professionals from as far away as Canada, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Louisiana. Twenty-seven schools were represented and 42 expo vendors exhibited their wares at the Classic Center. The three-day conference utilized the Classic Center, the Jackson Street Building, the UGA Chapel, and the Founders Memorial Garden to host lectures and workshops and social gatherings for networking opportunities. Keynote speakers were: Kona Gray, FASLA, Barbara Deutsch, FASLA, and Thomas Woltz, FASLA. Interim Provost Libby Morris joined Dean Sonia Hirt and others in a welcome ceremony at the UGA Chapel. Alumnus Ed Castro (BHLA ’88) served as the LAbash Grand Marshal and worked tirelessly with the student team.
Dean Sonia Hirt was especially grateful for the impressive job the students did in organizing and carrying out the conference: “I think these students are to be commended for their organizational skills and creativity. This was a huge undertaking that showed our college and the UGA-Athens community in a very positive light. We had the presidents of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Landscape Architecture Foundation, among other guests, so this was a perfect way to show the world what we are capable of,” she said.
Fourth year BLA Teresa Nguyen, who was in charge of communications for this year’s event adds: "The planning of LAbash 2019 has been such a learning process and I am so grateful to have been a part of a dedicated team of individuals that have as much passion for this industry as I do. All of the long nights leading up to this event were well worth the stress. It was rewarding to see students and professionals from all over the world come together and build lifelong connections."
LAbash occurs at a different university every year. The next location of the conference is chosen by way of a bid sent in by the university that would like to host it next. Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. is hosting LAbash 2020 and LSU is scheduled to host in 2021. It is typically held during the month of April to celebrate World Landscape Architecture Month. While the conference is supported by the American Society of Landscape Architects, LAbash is created by the students, for the students. The team is responsible for organizing all of the funding as well and had over 50 sponsors this year. College of Environment and Design faculty advisers for this year were David Spooner, Ashley Steffens, and Donnie Longenecker.
The Athens spirit was celebrated with a closing event at the Georgia Theater where attendees got to enjoy the groove of Athens bands Calico Vision and Walden.