Student Diversity Initiatives

Student Diversity Initiatives

The School of Architecture abides by the Institute’s policy on Institute Diversity as stated by President Shirley Ann Jackson (  Rensselaer must and will achieve true intellectual, geographic, gender and ethnic diversity in our students, faculty and staff, in order to draw upon the best talent available, and to prepare our students to work and lead in a global economy. The President said further that: For any institution to reflect an entire world of intelligence and perspectives – to achieve global reach and global impact – it must, by its very nature, reflect, represent and respect people and viewpoints from every walk of life.  Rensselaer, as part of its official mission, aspires to such diversity – not just of cultures, races and genders, but of thoughts, disciplines ad ideas.  Nothing less.

In support of the School of Architecture’s unwavering commitment to intellectual, gender and ethnic diversity, as well an overall culture and residential college setting that is a healthy, inclusive environment for students who are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Questioning their sexuality), the following student organizations and academic initiatives below are currently available.

NOMAS / Student Organizations

The School of Architecture supports two student professional organizations: AIAS, the student segment of American Institute of Architects; and NOMAS, the student segment of the National Organization of Minority Architects ( Both of our student organizations are very active and in Fall 2014, the School sponsored travel for 3 students to attend the NOMAS conference in Philadelphia.  Our NOMAS organization has grown from 10 to 27 in the past 2 years.  We plan to sponsor one to two NOMAS students to attend the NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) conference ( in October 2016 in Los Angeles.

Harlem Academy Initiative

Rensselaer, and in particular the School of Architecture, have worked diligently to increase the numbers of female and minority students (  Our admissions office targets high schools with high diversity populations and in the School of Architecture, we have begun working directly with several highly diverse high schools in order to encourage students to enroll in our programs.  In addition, the Institute sponsors the Harlem Academy annually, bringing a group of high-potential 7th and 8th grade students to campus for a 3-day program introducing them to Architecture, Engineering, and Science and Technology Studies. Students in the School of Architecture assume a leadership role serving as instructors and mentors throughout the time of this important outreach initiative (

Multicultural Student Clubs

The Institute has 25 multi-cultural clubs on campus and 10 religious organizations.  The Institute hosts many diversity events annually including: Black Family Technology Awareness Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Safe Zone Training, Cultural Pride Night, Asian Awareness Week, and others.  The Institute’s Office of Minority Student Affairs [OMSA] publishes a “Minority Resource Guide,” which is available online at (

Latin American Study Abroad Initiative

In support of the program’s commitment to increasing intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and global awareness throughout the student population, the School of Architecture is currently in the process of finalizing study abroad agreements with schools in Chile and Argentina in anticipation of a start date of Fall 2016. The larger objective is expose our students to the brilliant and inspiring cultural and architectural legacies of our friends in South America as well as increase awareness of our program in support of establishing student recruitment feeder opportunities for our B.Arch, B.S, M.Arch and post-professional programs.

Brazilian Exchange Program

Rensselaer has agreed to welcome a selection of students from Brazil every academic year as an opportunity to reaffirm the university’s commitment to promoting cultural exchange around the world. In light of that all-institute initiative, the School of Architecture currently has a total of 7 Brazilian students in the B.Arch program for the full academic year 2015-16 (

Safe Zone Training

In support of increasing awareness among our staff and faculty concerning the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Questioning their sexuality) community the school hosts yearly Safe Zone Training Programs.

Increasing Student Diversity

In the context of increasing the total number of women and underrepresented minority students in the School of Architecture, the leadership overseeing recruitment has made a significant effort every year to target high schools throughout the U.S with diversity populations (i.e. DASH High School, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, etc.).

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Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
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