The role of National SONA President with the Australian Institute of Architects for 2023 is one that I am excited to fulfill this coming year. With immediate past president Nicole Mesquita-Mendes and Reem Daou and Alvin Zhu on the 2022 executive committee, I have had the privilege to be part of a team working earnestly towards improving the experiences for students of the built environment.
This year, myself and my committee, comprised of the SONA representatives and the national executive team, Aremel Tibayan (President Elect), Kathryn Neale (VP for Competitions and Events) and Blake Hillebrand (VP for Membership and Engagement) will be looking to continue the exceptional work led by Nicole, that focused on improving SONA’s ability to advocate on behalf of students and recovering from the pandemic with our renewed calendar of events.
Throughout my involvement with SONA, I have focused on how the organisation can create meaningful change on behalf of students and form a mouthpiece for the student viewpoint. In 2023 SONA is extremely well placed to do this, with various initiatives already in motion that will help give direction to the organisation at a university, state and national level to address the issues that students have expressed a profound interest in from studio culture and career progression to sustainable and culturally sensitive approaches to design.
Similarly, SONA’s ‘usually scheduled programming’ of events has received a shake-up post-covid that lends a new sense of focus to the national, state, and university level calendars. Building upon the successes of last year, national events such as the Beyond Uni Series will provide specificity, while state and university-level events will continue to be tailored to and focused on local SONA members.
With all of this said, it’s important to note that the viewpoints of SONA members and the architectural student community more broadly are imperative to SONA’s ability to operative effectively. If you have any ideas or views to share with us, please feel free to contact me and my committee via firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to the SONA representative at your university.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope to catch you at one of our events.
National SONA President 2023
Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano
Thomas Huntingford studied his undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne where he was engaged in various student initiatives from speaker series to the School of Design Student Forum. He has also had the opportunity to study at international institutions including the University College Dublin, Technical University of Munich and is now in his first year of the Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano.
In 2022 Thomas received the Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture and in 2021 co-guest edited the Early Career Architecture edition of Architect Victoria.