Part of their professional development is joining one of our professional organizations, International Interior Design Association (IIDA) or American Society for Interior Designers (ASID). Each group elects officers, recruits members and hosts monthly meetings with professionals who speak on a variety of topics. The two student chapters at UA decided to join forces and produce a student product fair. These events are common when state chapters host conferences, so the students thought, “why not do it here on campus so all of our students could participate?”
This year marked the third year for ASID and IIDA to collaborate on the campus product fair. The students were responsible for the entire event and worked in conjunction with liaisons from the state chapters. They secured the venue, contacted vendors or firms, provided food, sought donations for a raffle, found a photographer to take professional head shots, and worked the event. This year they added free CEU credit for professionals attending the event. As a professional member of either organization or as a registered interior designer with the state, you must accrue 10 CEU hours per year, so this was a nice perk or incentive for vendors to participate.
Each year the event has grown and this year several architectural firms and dealers had tables at the event. Students had an opportunity to learn about products straight from the manufacturers’ representative as well as an opportunity to network which can lead to internships or jobs upon graduation. In fact, several CHES graduates were among the professionals representing a product or company. This year a number of reps remarked about how impressed they were with our students' professionalism and how much they enjoyed interacting with them.