The VAF Ambassadors Awards provide funding for student groups (undergraduate and graduate) from North American institutions, with a faculty sponsor, to attend VAF's annual conference. We hope through this program to enhance the VAF's recruitment of students, to diversify the membership and interest in the work of the VAF, to provide support to programs that teach vernacular architecture, and to increase the VAF's visibility on campuses.
A selection committee will choose winning recipients based on the strength of the proposals, considering especially the goals of the award program outlined above. The amount of money awarded to each program is at the discretion of the selection committee, but shall depend on such factors as the distance needed to travel to the annual conference site, the number of students involved, the number of Award applicants, and the funds available to the Award program. The total Award amount per institution is limited to $2500 with a maximum of $500 per student. We encourage, but do not require, that Ambassadors apply for matching funds from their institutions.
During the conference, Award recipients are encouraged to use social media to communicate with a broader audience about their experiences as a participant in the conference. Following conference attendance, Award recipients are expected to act as "ambassadors" for the VAF, working to promote the study, documentation, and preservation of ordinary buildings and landscapes. Each group of Ambassadors must also submit a written summary of its experiences to the fellowship chair. The summary, as well as a group photograph, will be published in the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s newsletter. For 2017, the ambassadors from the University of Virginia and University of Oregon shared their essays in the Summer Issue of the VAN. Schools awarded an Ambassadors Award in 2011 or thereafter will not be eligible for an award the following academic year.
To apply, please submit a two to three page proposal that helps us learn more about your program or department, its relationship to vernacular architecture, and your reasons for wishing to bring students to the next VAF conference. The proposal may be submitted by the faculty sponsor or by a student or students. If the applicant is submitted by a student(s), it must be accompanied by a letter of support from the faculty sponsor.
The first page of your application should include: Institution and program or department applying, faculty sponsor, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the names of the student ambassadors, if possible.
Consider the following questions in your proposal:
a) In what ways is your program involved in the study of vernacular architecture? Include course descriptions, lists of field studies, workshops, seminars, student initiatives, etc.
b) Why do you wish to send a group of students to the next VAF conference? How would conference attendance complement the activities, coursework and goals of your program? What other reasons motivate your program’s interest in having students attend the conference?
c) How many students do you propose to send? By what process will you select them?
d) How do you envisage your students’ attendance at the VAF will generate further interest in the VAF on your campus or in the local community? Please specify the ways in which selected students would act as "Ambassadors" for the VAF upon their return to campus. (Ideas we have come up with include a departmental brown bag to share their experiences of the annual meeting, speaking at the local Rotary Club or preservation group, coordinating a day of fieldwork, and submitting paper proposals for the following year’s annual conference. We look forward to reading your ideas.)
The selection committee requires a budget of your projected expenses and income related to sending students to the annual conference. An estimated budget should include travel to the conference site, housing, conference registration, and any miscellaneous expenses. Ambassadors Awards are designed to cover conference registration costs (basic registration, tours, VAF membership, banquet) or under special circumstances when conference registration is low in comparison to travel and lodging, other approved expenses. Full-time faculty, who act as sponsors accompanying the Ambassadors, are not eligible for funding. When estimating conference expenses, use registration and other fees from previous conferences as a guideline.
The deadline for nominations will be announced in the fall. Please submit application materials to Ambassadors Awards.