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On Saturday, November 18, 2000 I participated in the Executive Board meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropology as Student Representative. The Student Committee Report was developed by Anne Ballenger, Chair of the Student Committee and delivered to the Board by Linda Bennett, SfAA President. The Board unanimously approved the Student Committee and congratulated the members of the committee for their performance.
The main concern of the Board members was that--in spite of the numerous activities organized by the Student Committee to recruit and maintain students in the organization--student membership has not grown considerably. In addition, there has been a tendency in the last years for the Student Committee to be run and maintained by the energy and dedication of very few people, at times becoming a "one-person show."
The Executive Board welcomed the continuation of the Past Presidents/Student Lunch event, and the maintenance and growth of the website. In addition, members of the Executive Board encouraged the continuation of career counseling sessions, and considered the organization of a student orientation session as a positive idea. Some members suggested strengthening current activities before initiating new tasks and events, since student involvement decreases considerably at times.
There were different positions in terms of the treatment that should be given to students in the Society: while some members believed students' particular needs should be attended and activities predominantly aimed to students should be encouraged, others suggested that perhaps students did not want to be treated differently from any professional, and that they wanted to experience the Society as the professional they will become in the future.
In general, there was an agreement in the fact that students are truly important for SfAA, and should be considered the future of the society and of the discipline of Anthropology. In order to guarantee that the Student Committee will continue to grow and to serve the needs of students, it was strongly suggested and approved by the Board that the Student Committee needed a mentor to support and guide the Committee throughout its serving time. The Board suggested that the immediate Past President of the Society would be the most appropriate person to fulfill that role (in the current case, Dr. John Young (Oregon State University, firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, it was suggested to work closely with the Membership Committee in order to discuss ways to increase our student membership. Carla Littlefield is the chair of the Committee (Littlefield Associates, email@example.com)
The Board members hoped that the addition of several travel awards particularly aimed to students will draw more student participation in the annual meetings and in the life of the Society. It was also hoped that more international students will join the Society (and the Student Committee) in Mérida 2001.
If you have any commentaries or suggestions to improve the services that the Student Committee offers to students, please contact Anne Ballenger (Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carla Guerrón-Montero (Student Representative, email@example.com).
See you in Mérida!!!