Student Life

Student Organizations

Dichotomy - The American Institute of Architecture Students - The National Organization for Minority Architecture Students


Dichotomy, a student published journal of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, strives to be a critical link between UDM students and the discourses on design, architecture, urbanism, and community development. Like the institution, Dichotomy focuses on social justice and critical thought concerning intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and social development both in and outside of Detroit. The aim of Dichotomy is to disseminate these relevant investigations conducted by students, faculty, and professionals.

The theme of the 19th issue is "Ugly." The term UGLY is often associated with any project that veers from the realm of easy and accepted solutions. In reality it is the skin of an investigation that challenges our perception of form and architecture. Dichotomy 19 seeks to understand this complexity through the conversation of its own social and cultural aesthetic. Submissions should reflect upon how the line between beautiful and UGLY is blurred by original understandings of design, architecture, urbanism, or community development. Abstract Deadline: December 1st, 2012.

Abstracts should be 200-300 words and 3 images emailed as a PDF to Notification of entries to be published will be sent by December 16th,2012. Final submissions to be published will be due February 1st, 2013.

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The American Institute of Architecture Students


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Since 1956, the American Institute of Architecture Students has been the voice of students to the educational system and the profession of architecture and design in North America–and beyond. The association helps to build interest and enrich the educational experience of all students and others in architecture and design.

The AIAS is an independent, 501-(3)c non-profit and student-run organization comprised of more than 160 chapters continent-wide. This grassroots association is a cooperative between thousands of students in North America (of all ages and academic degrees) committed to helping each other. It provides a sense of community and a forum to share differing views. The AIAS is also a professional organization that is the official voice of architecture students that strives to:

  1. Promote excellence in architecture education, training, and practice.
  2. Foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration.
  3. Organize students and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture.

Who is UDM AIAS?
As a local chapter located within Detroit, we provide architecture students with the opportunity to experience life outside of studio. We tap into the abundant resources of our community to help bring to our students social events, service opportunities, lessons outside the classroom, and above all, networking. Below is just a sample of what AIAS UDM does on a yearly basis to benifit its students and bring people together.

Socially Oriented

  • Bar and Restuarant Nights
  • AIAS Michigan Beaux Arts Ball
Over 180 students, faculty and alumni from six different architecture schools came together at the Detroit Yacht Club last March to celebrate the architecture tradition of hosting a Beaux Arts Ball. The unique aspect of this event was the collaboration that happened between the schools in order to plan it over a four month period.
  • Fall International Dance
Put on to celebrate the presence of the exchange students from Warsaw for the Fall semester.

Professionally Oriented

  • Mentoring Program
Our nationally-recognized Mentoring Program has caught the attention of many AIAS represntatives in Washington DC. We pair 3rd, 4th, and 5th-year students with each freshman as for a semester to offer advice and assistance. This collaboration between more experienced students and the freshmen has reduced the program’s initial drop-out rate in the School of Architecture by 90%, while simultaneously completely changing the school’s atmosphere into one that is more welcoming and open.
  • Firm Tours
  • Workshops
  • Intern for Day
  • AIA MI Design Retreat
  • Forum and Quad Conferences
This past New Year's, UDM AIAS took 33 students from all class levels to Toronto for a five-day, annual and national conference that is hosted in a different city every year. Not including the host school, we were the second largest group from a single chapter there, and we were proud to represent Detroit boldly both in our shirts and our amazing musical roll calls!

Community Oriented

  • Clean the “D”
  • Safety Street
First started by an architecture student years ago, Safety Street offers local kids a safe place to Trick-Or-Treat for Halloween. Student volunteers every year design and build a booth that is then used to distribute candy to the kids.
  • Student’s Guide to Detroit
  • Community Engagement Committee

If you would like to learn more about AIAS at UDM or are interested in joining, please email us at


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The National Organization for Minority Architecture Students

nomasNOMAS is the student chapter of The National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA). The Inception of NOMA happened here in Detroit during the 1971 AIA Convention by twelve architects who recognized the desperate need for an organization dedicated to the development and advancement of minority architects.

To enhance our education through professional development. To begin defining solutions for healthy living and working environments for the total community. We have organized to build our knowledge and expertise while joining hands with other organized disciplines to prepare to address issues confronting our communities and to minimize the effect of racism in our future profession.

To establish a group of minority architecture students who are interested in improving their education, socializing with other minority students, networking with professionals, and working towards the improvement of Detroit and Metro Detroit communities while acknowledging our cultural distinctions as a necessary perspective required for the development of our future careers and academic success.

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