CARTA Student Leader: Andrew Sykes, President of FIU ASLA


Andrew Sykes is a Master’s Candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design. He currently serves as President of the FIU Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects. Below he describes his leadership experience at FIU and his initiatives for FIU ASLA.

My road to Florida International University (FIU) began in Philadelphia, where my father studied with the senior statesmen of landscape architecture, James Corner and Sir Ian McHarg, at the University of Pennsylvania.

I’m an athlete and spent much of my youth in “open space” lined as a gridiron.  I look back on that time in my life and recognize some building blocks that came from sports: collaboration, teamwork, and time management.  I had committed to a university in the North before I was accepted into FIU’s Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design. Four and a half years later I can firmly say that I made the correct decision, little did I know what I had in store in the summer of 2014.

The first years were marked by more time in studio than I ever spent on a field. But as a Freshman, 1,000 miles from home, I knew I had to become an active participant in the FIU community.  It was a natural ascension to leadership at American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). I began as a brother of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, where I held positions in event coordination and then I progressed into the Executive Cabinet of the Student Government Association where I served as the Sustainability Coordinator. Ecological awareness and advocacy became the main focus of that position.

My entry into ASLA leadership was when I was elected as Vice President of the organization. The highlight of that period resulted in the design and implementation of a community butterfly garden in Sweetwater, Florida.

Now, I will cap off my footprint at FIU with the most esteemed position I’ve had the honor to hold, President of the Student Chapter of the ASLA. Effective organizations on campus are often less about the leaders and more about the vision and value’s of the association. This year, under my leadership my main efforts fall in three areas that continue the vision and values of FIU ASLA:

  • Building platforms for communication and collaboration at the university, city, and state levels.
  • Creating opportunity for professional, and personal development for our members.
  • Participating in coordinated legislative and public policy strategies on local, state and national levels.

Learn more about the FIU ASLA Chapter, here.

Written by: Andrew Sykes, Master’s Candidate

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