Highlights of the 2003 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting
The 2003 Annual Meeting of Sigma Xi was held at the Hyatt Regency at Macy’s Square in Los Angeles, CA over November 13-16. The Quinnipiac Chapter was represented by voting delegate and Vice President Richard Peterson and by President Albert Notation who serves as Associate Director for the Northeast Region of the Society. As always, the primary function of the Annual Meeting is to allow chapter input into the business of the Society at the national level but a considerable offering of stimulating science was served up as well. This year the meeting followed the Sigma Xi Forum Science and Engineering: Keys to International Understanding held November 12-13. President W. Frank Gilmore opened the Annual Meeting on Friday November 14.
A particularly urgent and recurring theme of the Annual Meeting over the past few years concerns membership. Although the drop was not as severe as previous years we still suffered a drop in membership nationally in 2003. As part of a Strategic Initiative, the Society’s officers have set a goal of 80,000 members which represents an increase over current enrollment by 10,000 people. On a somewhat apocryphal note, Executive Director Patrick Scully noted that the Society loses 600 people a year to death alone. The point being we need to attract at least this number every year just to stay even. We should all take a moment to look around to find qualified colleagues and students and invite them to join. It couldn’t be easier. Now the necessary forms are available at the Society website (www.sigmaxi.org). On a more positive note, a majority of chapters receiving a Certificate of Recognition for initiating new members were from the Northeast Region.
An important business item on the agenda is discussion of the 8-point motion regarding dues for the coming year (in this case 2004-2005). Basic annual dues will go up to $57.00 for full members and to $25.00 for student members. Students granted membership prior to July 1 2004 will be "grandfathered" at the $20 rate until they are no longer students. A contentious discussion revolved around the increase in student dues (currently $20.00). A 25% increase in student dues was suggested to be inconsistent with the mentoring mission of the Society. On the other hand, student dues have not increased for the past 10 years although the dues for full members are indexed. It was suggested that student dues should be indexed as well so as to avoid this trauma in the future. The method of indexing dues has relied on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, the 8-point motion this year was worded to employ the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) which was suggested by Headquarters officers to be more in line with the true annual increase in the cost of running the Society. After some discussion the delegates passed the motion in a voice vote. It should be pointed out that the HEPI is slightly higher than, yet parallels, the CPI. (I guess there’s an index out there to suit anyone’s need.) All members should be reminded that, besides American Scientist, there is a plethora of programs offered through the national Headquarters to help chapters and educate students and the public. Your dues go toward all of these activities so don’t hesitate to investigate and use these resources.
The Headquarters staff presented a virtual tour of the new 52,000-sq. ft. Sigma Xi Center at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. The building will be occupied in December 2003. The Headquarters staff is confident that the additional space will enable an expansion of benefits to chapters and members.
At the regional level, the Quinnipiac Chapter continues to be one of the most active in the Northeast. Although we did not receive a Certificate of Excellence this year this is no reflection on our success and the strength of our programs. We have received this recognition for the past four consecutive years. Chapter President Albert Notation was re-elected for a 3-year term as Associate Director for the Northeast Region. Vice President Richard Peterson continues to serve on the Regional nominating committee.
Society President Gilmore adjourned the Annual Meeting on Sunday November 16. We all look forward to the 2004 Annual Meeting to be held at McGill University in Montreal.
Richard B. Peterson
Vice President, Quinnipiac Chapter