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Rebels with a cause: Why should I join the BSA gang?

What’s the value of membership? Why should I join? What do I get for my dues? What does my money support? These are common questions architects ask about Boston Society of Architects (BSA), AIA Massachusetts (AIA MA), and AIA membership. In today’s world, we want a quantifiable explanation for how our money is spent, and this is a very legitimate expectation.

After all, the BSA isn’t a social-services agency, improving conditions for children or animals. It isn’t AARP or AAA, offering discounts on movies, travel, or roadside assistance. It isn’t a university preparing thinkers, designers, and leaders for the next generation. Nor is the BSA a museum or a newspaper, sharing knowledge, ideas, and entertainment with the world.

So, what is the BSA? The BSA is a home, a community, a society. It is a union of people who share ideas, traditions, goals, and ambitions. Architects are dedicated to the public good through creating great communities—and aren’t afraid to ruffle the occasional feather if that’s what it takes to do it. In short, architects and our friends are rebels with a cause. The BSA is a community committed to bettering the world we live in. We do this through advocacy, engagement, education, and inspiration.

The BSA is unique. Is there another organization that can advocate successfully on Capitol Hill (think about the expansion of the Mechanic’s Lien Law to include architects), while also working with partners to directly assist families affected by disasters such as the tornadoes in central Massachusetts or the Boston Marathon bombings? Maybe. Is there another organization that publishes an award-winning design-ideas magazine while also providing new exhibitions, hands-on youth events, and public tours and programs that may inspire a vision for our region’s future? Possibly. Is there another organization that annually uses its committees and networks to provide more than 350 hours of free education credits while running a conference and tradeshow of more than 9,000 attendees? Conceivable.

But there is only one organization that does all those things. And yes. It’s the BSA. 

Why should you join the BSA or renew your membership? Because the BSA, in partnership with the Boston Foundation for Architecture, builds a better (greater) Boston through engaging community, inspiring vision, and provoking change. It does all this and more because you, the members, contribute your time, energy, minds, and money. Your dues make this society and its good work possible. 


Eric White
​Executive director