Jeanne Simonelli and Orit Tamir
This has been a difficult eighteen months for individuals, families and communities. Our SfAA community is no exception, as we attempted to continue to run an efficient organization while coming back from financial hardships linked to the Covid-curtailed 2020 annual meeting.
Our meeting in Albuquerque was cancelled just one week before the state of New Mexico announced a full shutdown. It was a good call. Our 2021 gathering, scheduled for Norfolk, went forward in an entirely virtual format and we congratulate those who handled the “backstage” issues of running the meeting. Thoughtful planning by the Board and Program Committee was in startling contrast to those groups that try to add virtual attendance at the last minute.
This coming March, we will gather in person and virtually in Salt Lake City. It is really important for all of us to remain as SfAA members and try attend the meeting in one form or another. It is also important that we keep our organization going with an active Board of Directors. Board members must be young (relatively) and engaged with current social science and political events. The treasurer must have some mathematical and statistical skills. The secretary needs to be a good listener, able to take and/or record notes, send them out promptly and respond to corrections. To have a strong Board, you also need to have an engaged Nominations and Elections Committee. To have good leadership, you need to have members who let the current group know that they are interested.
This year, as the Board moved to monthly Zoom meetings, it became clear that it is hard to be active as a practitioner. Orit and Jeanne have both been SfAA members as practitioners and as academics. Academic schedules are flexible. Practitioner schedules are often less so. Though it can be harder to be part of the many committees that keep the Society running if you are a practitioner than if you are an academic, we need a diverse, alert, and energetic group of student and professional members. While it is good to have those of us with years of institutional memory on the sidelines, able to point out how we did it in past years, SfAA’s future lies with the young.
SfAA has been a support to us in each of our personas. We encourage you to become part of TIGS that engage your interests, to participate in annual meetings and some of the current discussions now taking place during the year. Find out what it takes to become a student Board representative or a Program Committee member. Let others know if you are willing to serve. SfAA needs you and your time has come.