SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
10 August 2017
Volume 18 Issue 8
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SETAC North America Board of Directors Recognizes Student Member Contributions

Tom Augspurger, SETAC North America President, and John Toll, SETAC North America Vice President

“It’s true that students are the future of SETAC, but thank goodness they are also our present! Their science contributions are impressive, and we benefit from their intellect, energy, ideas and perspectives. ”


– Tom Augspurger, SETAC North America President’s Address, 10 November 2016

Did you know that nearly 20% of SETAC’s North American members are students? The SETAC North America Board of Directors and committee leaders are inspired by the outstanding level of commitment and quality of service provided by our student members. The North America Student Advisory Council (NASAC) has been a valuable asset to the board, our student members and the geographic unit (GU) as a whole. The NASAC chair serves as a non-voting student representative on the board during their one-year term in the chairmanship. Every year, without exception, the NASAC chair has been an exemplary board member. Year in and year out, they have been a poised, articulate, reliable and thoughtful contributor to the board’s activities. A glance at NASAC’s Twitter or Facebook pages will make clear the contributions of NASAC to SETAC North America in general and our students in particular. Take a look at some of its SETAC student newsletters or its standard operating procedure.

Given NASAC’s sustained commitment and contributions to SETAC North America, the board takes requests that the NASAC chair brings before it very seriously. In recent years, the NASAC chairs have asked the board to reassess the role of students in SETAC North America governance. The board members listened. We were asked to consider giving the NASAC chair a vote on the board and to consider allowing SETAC North American student members to vote in annual GU elections. It’s important to get these voices heard, and a voting student member would provide a meaningful opportunity to continue serving the entire SETAC North America membership community. Since enhancing students roles in this way would require changes to some of SETAC’s governing documents, we share this news and background information in preparation for a membership vote in the near future. 

Students favored greater representation in the business of SETAC, and NASAC asked the board to further evaluate options. The SETAC North America board, NASAC and two ad hoc committees have given this matter careful consideration, following due process to get to this point, culminating in the board voting in support for the following:

  1. All North America students have full voting privileges in SETAC North America
  2. NASAC representative to the SETAC North America board have full board voting privileges
  3. The SETAC North America general election will be used to select NASAC’s representative to the board

The board cannot unilaterally implement these measures; that is for the membership to decide. To be implemented in full, the changes will require a vote on amendments to the SETAC North America constitution. A vote on amendments to the SETAC constitution might also be necessary; that is a matter that SETAC North America representatives will raise with the SETAC World Council.

Please look for more information in the next few months on the history and path forward to more thoroughly inform members about these potential changes ahead of a vote. The members of the SETAC North America board are enthusiastic about this opportunity to draw our students even more deeply into the science, networking, mentoring and leadership of SETAC.

Authors’ contact information: tom_augspurger@fws.gov and JohnT@windwardenv.com

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