Newsletter | Jul/Aug 2020

2010 OWA Christmas Party

Community Work

Harrison House 1988

Members of the OWA have always been interested in extending our architectural skills to the larger community. Our weekend work parties allowed us to use our construction skills to help local communities design and construct simple projects, like putting in an outdoor garden and patio space for a homeless shelter, Harrison House in Berkeley. Members in the OWA were encouraged to sit on non-profit boards to make women architects visible in our community.

The Weekend Retreat introduced in 1984 has been one of the most loved and well run activity for our members. It allows two whole days for members to relax, to learn more about the organization and to get to know each other. Many vital organizational decisions have been made during this weekend retreat. Furthermore it is highly valued by our membership because it allows members living farther way from San Francisco and the East Bay who could not attend the monthly meetings to keep in touch with the organization.

The once-a-year Christmas Gift Giving Party, usually held in one of our member's home, allowed members to see many good examples of architects' homes. Since we tended to go to so many parties and overwhelmed with food during this holiday season, we introduced the component of gift giving to support needy families in our community, an important mission of OWA.

Because of the importance of travel to experience significant architecture, OWA members have organized several architectural tours for members in the past forty years. The visits, organized and hosted by members from those places, like our visit to Ecuador, made the trips most memorable. On top of visiting beautiful places and buildings, we were able to meet and have exchanges with local architects, we presented our work to the local community and we attended local festivals.

We have been celebrating our 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th Anniversaries at a one-day symposium with women speakers and a closing dinner. They were held in Wurster Hall to entice more women students. Our 50th is coming up in three years, and our members are already thinking about how to celebrate such long achievement. Janet Crane has just informed us that she would like to create a photo book about the retreats or maybe the past 50 years of OWA ready for the 50th Anniversary. We're looking forward to more innovative ideas for this event.

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