Message from SETAC North America President
As we move into 2011, there are many things to excite, inspire, and challenge SETAC members in North America and around the globe. The activities and accomplishments of SETAC North America (SNA) are notable in view of the severe global economic downturn, and we should all take pride in the ongoing achievements of SNA, and SETAC as a whole. However, we must all strive to continually improve our Society through strong volunteer commitment and mentoring of new members. As we move forward, each of us should take the opportunity to encourage and assist students and young professionals in their SETAC activities and related professional endeavors. The SNA Board of Directors (SNA BOD) is taking steps to facilitate committee growth and to improve mentoring of young professionals. We are also taking steps to increase the number of sustaining and affiliate members and to improve inter-society collaborations.
Interactions with other geographic units (GUs) and other professional societies are gaining momentum. In addition to the overarching SETAC activities that include SNA, we are also leading efforts in several important areas. SNA and SETAC Latin America have submitted a National Science Foundation proposal to host a Pan American course that addresses air pollution in and near megacities. Discussions are also underway to include other GUs as we plan future activities of this nature. SNA has also established a framework with colleagues in the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the American Chemical Society to host a multiple day symposium entitled Advanced Physico-chemical Techniques to Solve Environmental Science Challenges. This symposium will be held in San Juan Puerto Rico in August 2011 and serves as another opportunity to solidify interactions among SETAC GUs. SETAC has provided partial funding to allow SETAC representatives from multiple GUs to engage in discussions that will improve the understanding of chemical transport. SNA has also organized an important focus topic meeting this April to allow a tripartite evaluation of issues surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Discussions are also underway with several other professional societies to allow collaboration in areas of common interest.
SNA has recently welcomed new regional chapters in Canada and Mexico. This August the Mexico regional chapter will host a workshop with the Society for Ecosystem Restoration’s World Conference in Merida to address oil spill effects and ecosystem restoration. This should provide a great opportunity for broader interaction with members in our newest regional chapter. With the addition of Prairie Northern, regional chapters now encompass all areas of SNA. Even in these early stages of development, the number of presentations by Prairie Northern members at SNA annual meetings now consistently rival regions with much larger populations.
The majority of SNA’s momentum resulted from the diligent work by our committees and advisory groups. These volunteers deserve our sincere thanks. SETAC is stronger due to the vibrant participation of members in committee and AG activities. The SNA BOD fully recognizes this and has begun to involve chairs of committees and AGs in strategic planning activities in an effort to strengthen our future growth and impact. As we expand the channels of communication into the SNA BOD governance process, individuals who are not engaged with a committee or AG should seriously consider doing so. There are also many opportunities to strengthen SETAC through involvement in our regional chapters. Many members’ first personal interaction with SETAC occurs at the regional level. Many leaders in SNA gain valuable contacts and build essential leadership skills in regional chapters. Thus, involvement in regional chapters provides a great opportunity for mentoring new members and improving personal contacts, which is an important aspect of the SETAC experience. I encourage each of you to consider participating in a SETAC committee or AG, or at the regional level.
This year is shaping up to be exciting and productive for SNA and all SETAC GUs. I look forward to interacting with each of you as we strive to improve our Society.
George P. Cobb
Author’s contact information: George.Cobb@TIEHH.TTU.edu
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