Student Organization

National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS RPI)

Black Family Technology Awareness Day at RPI, 2009

The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students at RPI promotes diversity and excellence within the design professions by promoting community engagement and professional development of its members. We hold monthly General Body Meetings that include discussions, presentations of student work, an architect spotlight, and announcements. Community service is a staple for the chapter. We have been active in the Hurricane Relief efforts as well as in the local Habitat for Humanity, both of which provide us with firsthand experience in the field of construction. Also, working with Mosaic Architects, Campus Planning and Troy High School, we mentor local teenagers in the fields of Architecture and Engineering. Our overall goal is to create a supportive community environment across students of all years in the Greene Building. We believe that individuals should reach out to help not only freshmen, but students in all stages of their architectural career.

History of NOMAS

NOMA was founded in 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. It was founded as an organization that would be dedicated to the needs of the minority design professional and to the Better Built Environment. The first official meeting was held during the AIA National Convention in Detroit that year. Twelve African-American architects from several different parts of the country met at the convention and realized the need for an organization of this type. It would be dedicated to the advancement of minority architects.

The founding architects were Wendell Campbell, Nelson Harris, William Brown, Robert Wilson, Robert Nash, Leroy Campbell, John S. Chase, Harold Williams, Kenneth Groggs, Jeh Johnson, D. Dodd, and E.H. McDowell. They wanted minority design professionals to work together to fight against discrimination and policies that condoned discrimination. Currently, there are professional NOMA chapters all over the country and student NOMAS chapters on college campuses that provide a resource for information and a consortium for designers to resort to and build upon

RPI student interviewed at Architecture For Humanity worksite.

RPI student interviewed at Architecture For Humanity worksite.

Constitution of the Nation Organization of Minority Architecture Students

We the members the National Organization of Minority of Architecture Students have come together to enhance our education, network with professionals, and begin to define solutions which will ensure a healthy living and working environment for the total community.

We find, as minorities studying architecture, a community of purpose and cultural experience that warrants our combined efforts in the advancement of our future profession, our respective activities in it, and the needs of he communities we will serve.

Minorities in architecture are qualified to provide professional services in all areas of our environment, but because of his/her particular sensitivity to the minority community; he/she has a unique qualification to provide services and solve problems therein. By consolidating our thinking, economic power, political power and other resources, our ability to achieve these goals is greatly enhanced.

To these ends, we establish this organization which is built on the bonds of the common professional interests that brings us together; and equally, on the bonds of friendship and fraternity that will sustain and enrich our association.

We have organized to build our knowledge and expertise, and join hands with other organized disciplines to prepare to address issues confronting our communities.

RPI Students at 2008 NOMA Conference, Washington DC

RPI Students at 2008 NOMA Conference, Washington DC

National Organization for Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)

NOMA, thrives only when voluntary members contribute their time and resources, and has as its mission the building of a strong national organization, strong chapters and strong members for the purpose of minimizing the effect of racism in our profession. Strength in NOMA is built through unity in the cause that created the organization. Our impact is felt when our organization wrestles with the dilemmas that face this nation, particularly as they affect our profession. There is strength in numbers. By increasing the number of people in this organization, we add strength to the voice with which we can speak against apathy, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance; against abuse of the natural environment; and for the un-empowered, the marginalized and the disenfranchised. By building a strong organization, we develop a showcase for the excellence and creativity which have ignored for so long. Through our publications and conferences, we are able to inform the world that minority professionals have the talent and capabilities to perform in design and construction with any other group. By building strong chapters of design professionals whose sensibilities and interests include promotion of urban communities, we are able to respond to the concerns that affect marginalized communities and people. Our goals are to increase the level of participation in the social, political and economic benefits afforded the citizens of this nation and to tear down the barriers that make full participation unattainable. Chapters give members a base from which to be involved in politics, to visit schools and reach out to children, to conduct community and civic forums and to responsibly practice in our professional capacities. We build membership one professional at a time. NOMA is actively involved in the advancement of minority professionals, from job placement help for college students to aiding member firms in securing contracts.




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Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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