TU Homecoming 2016

During Homecoming 2016, the Tuskegee Architecture and Construction Alumni Association (TACAA) was proud to share the following updates on behalf of the Association:

TACAA Programming and Accomplishments

TACAA President - Jennifer Matthews, Assoc. AIA

TACAA Vice President - Jocelyn Poe, AICP, Assoc. AIA

When the Board took office in September 2015, its main goal was to increase TACAA’s visibility and accessibility to Alumni, the Tuskegee University Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science (TSACS), and friends. This initial goal was closely followed by the increase of support for our students, who are the future alumni and leadership of TACAA.

The Board’s strategic planning meeting was followed by TACAA’s kickoff event, the 2015 Homecoming Reception, which was jointly hosted by TSACS in Wilcox-A Building welcomed returning alumni, faculty, students, and friends. During the reception, TACAA introduced its new officers, membership structure, and shared its interests in supporting TSACS progression toward accreditation visits for both architecture and construction science management. TACAA officers distributed promotional material in the form of wristbands and bookmarks; and attended the TNAA Alumni Reception, hosted by President Johnson. Officers who attended the reception were able network with others officers, meet other alumni groups, and hear the goals of the President.

December 2015, TACAA released its official membership campaign entitled the “25 Days of TACAA,” encouraging alumni to participate in the membership restructure. This campaign used social media and the website as a platform to offer discounts and free gifts each day from December 1st to December 25th. During this time, TACAA’s membership and alumni interest increased significantly as the Association became more engaging and began to bridge the gap between generations of alumni. December’s excitement was topped by the announcement of the new TSACS Dean, Dr. Carla Jackson Bell.

Dr. Bell’s presence revitalized alumni engagement, communication, and support of TSACS’ students. During the spring of 2016, TACAA focused its attention on TSACS’ preparation for the 2017 accreditation visits. April 2016, TACAA conducted a two day visit to TSACS to meet with the administration, faculty and students as well as participate in 5th year studio synthesis projects and host a student-based seminar. The visit and activities conducted during this time enabled TACAA to gain a better understanding of how it could continue its support, measure student skills and progress, and gauge the direction in which TSACS will be moving under the new leadership.

In the spirit of Homecoming 2016, TACAA’s goal was to create a yearly fundraising initiative that would have direct benefit to the students and revitalize support of the students from the alumni. Thus, a fundraising initiative, the “Pay It Forward Campaign”, was set up to solicit alumni support in raising and establishing a yearly $2,000 scholarship fund and a $1,000 fund to aid students in attending professional development programs and conferences. Within 1 month, TACAA has exceeded its goal with the support of alumni and friends.

GoFundMe Pay It Forward Campaign Initiative

Director of Membership and Alumni Outreach - Ricardo Maga Rojas, Assoc. AIA, NOMA

In the spirit of Homecoming 2016, TACAA announced the launch of an annual fundraising campaign to support students of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science (TSACS) through scholarships and professional development programming for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The campaign was released on Saturday, September 24th, 2016 and became known as the “Pay It Forward” Campaign. TACAA utilized Gofundme as the campaign platform, which proved highly success with its ability to generate spirit, competition, built-in promotional abilities, communications, and goal measuring. This fundraising method also allowed alumni and friends instant awareness of our step by step progress towards reaching our goal and a narrative indicating, where the money was going.

In as little as one month, TACAA exceeded its initial goal of $3,000 and has successfully raised $4,325 through generous donations ranging from $5 to $1,000. The funding has been designated for architecture and construction science student scholarships as well as TACAA programming in order to advance the professional development of students in the Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science (TSACS).

Quick Stats:

  • Of the 56 donors, 25 are TACAA members, 26 non-members, and 5 unaffiliated with architecture or construction science alumni.

  • The page gofundme.com/tacaapayitforward received 1,954 views and 330 Facebook shares aside from uncounted Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram shares.

  • At least 50% of the donations were generated by alumni within the first five to eight years of graduation through contributions of $25+

Our Findings:

Our statistics and results confirm that fundraising campaigns are successful only when the organizers provide transparency for the goal and purpose of the funds. The built-in gofundme capabilities allowed TACAA to provide a narrative for the campaign purpose, automatic social media sharing, direct messaging to alumni and friends, goal measuring, and an overall competitive spirit between graduating classes. While older alumni continued to support the Association, these new contributing factors initiated an immediate response from younger alumni to become involved and empowered that their contributions, no matter the amount, helped TACAA reach an overall goal.


Next Steps:

TACAA continued promotions during Homecoming and announced the final total of $4,325 during the TACAA Homecoming Luncheon and Mixer on Friday, October 21st, 2016 at 12:00 PM in the Willcox C Courtyard. TACAA has indicated that if donors have not donated or would like to make a donation to support the students, they can continue making donations through the website's "About Tab" under "Pay It Forward"or send an offline donation in the form of a check to the following address: P.O. Box 27225 Washington, DC 20038.

Membership and Digital Media

Secretary – Dara Eskridge, AICP, Assoc. AIA

Secretary of Young Alumni Affairs - Jakiya Mixon, Assoc. AIA, MFA

Executive Secretary - Thomas Triplett, LEED GA

Eskridge - Membership and alumni donations have increased tremendously over the last year due to innovative initiatives such and the membership restructure, Pay It Forward Campaign and revitalized TSACS outreach. To-date, TACAA has recorded 51 Association members in varying membership categories as well as 56 donors through the Pay It Forward Campaign and online contributions. Visit the Pay It Forward Pay It Forward Campaign donors will be showcased on the website for their generous support. Website updates are to follow by the end of October.

Mixon - As the Secretary of Young Alumni Affairs, I post a variety of informative news including general meetings, student events, membership drives, student scholarship gofundme updates, and virtual alumni webinars via TACAA’s social media pages such as Instagram and Facebook. I also assist in updating the TACAA website careers page with new job postings for both students and alumni. By sharing this information, the alumni and current students are engaged in the many efforts our president Jennifer Matthews along with the assistance of the board have progressed and achieved thus far within the first year of holding such positions.

Our recent digital media endeavors include the creation of an “AREweDONEyet?!?!” groupme group to support alumni who are currently testing for the Architecture Registration Exam (ARE). The group consists of 51 members, many of which are within their first eight years of graduation, and the group continues to grow. Congratulations to our recent pass - Jamila Hazel (Programming, Planning, Practice)!!! Join the Groupme: Link

Triplett - The TACAA website continues to serve as a means of communication for alumni and friends. With the built-in capability to distribute newsletters, alumni receive weekly communications that share news, accomplishments, and announcements on behalf of the Association. Alumni have also taken it upon themselves to share job openings to post on the careers page, and students look to TACAA to assist in their job searches. Moving forward TACAA will be building a donor page to display businesses and individuals who helped the Association reach its goal for the Pay It Forward campaign. This is one more way TACAA would like to highlight its amazing alumni.

Next Steps…

  • TSACS’ Construction Science Management (CSM) program is set for its initial accreditation visit Spring 2017. TSACS’ Architecture program accreditation visit is scheduled for Fall 2017. Alumni-based advisory boards have been established for each program to assist with the overall support and accreditation processes. TACAA looks forward to the continuous progress of TSACS. There is a total of 119 students enrolled in TSACS, 72 architecture and 47 construction. The freshman class includes 24 architecture students and 8 construction students. This is a 64% increase in enrollment from 2015-2016 enrollment.

  • February 2017, Alumni will be encouraged to participate in the spring career fair hosted by TSACS to assist with student internships and professional development support.

  • As TACAA officers enter into their 2nd and final year of leadership, the Association will host a call for leadership in January of 2017 to gauge those interested in serving as well as provide new officers with a thorough transition period. New officers are expected to assume their duties by June 2017 prior to the TNAA National Conference and 2017-2018 academic year.


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