After traveling to student chapter leadership meetings in Prague and Tulsa it struck me how informative, interesting and exciting these meetings can be. An excellent example of this is the establishment of the joint field program between Aberdeen, Amsterdam and Lisbon student chapters, which was developed through an idea at the 2009 Prague meeting.
With that in mind – and knowing that two of AAPG’s most important goals are education and networking – the first UK Student Chapter Leadership meeting was held March 18-20 in Manchester, England.
The number of student chapters in the UK has been steadily growing over the past 10 years, with six chapters existing within a few hundred miles of each other. Increased investment in research programs by the oil and gas industry also has seen a rise in the number of universities where potential new chapters might form.
Despite this, there had never been a UK student chapter leadership meeting. It was felt that the level of interest and potential benefits of such a venture would be high enough to submit an application to the European Region for financial support. This was forthcoming and the organizers are very grateful to the committee for backing this idea and to the Manchester chapter for their help with the organization.
Attending the meeting were representatives from five established chapters and three potential new chapters. European Region President David Cook was able to join us for an icebreaker meal and drinks and, even at this early stage, it was clear the participants were enthusiastic and open to new ideas.
The next day we enjoyed:
- A series of presentations on many aspects of AAPG, including the student chapter system, the benefits of student membership, the Imperial Barrel Award and how the organization works at a global and regional level.
- A personal message from AAPG President John Lorenz.
- A YouTube project that enabled a full introduction to AAPG to be delivered.
- A number of chapters gave presentations in order to share their ideas, experiences and problems, which generated a long discussion on continuity, events and membership.
The meeting ended with the agreement of action points for each chapter to complete over the next few months.
To reiterate, the meeting’s main purpose was educating people about the AAPG and networking.
So, was the meeting successful?
A feedback questionnaire suggests it was. Before the meeting 60 percent of the participants said they knew little or nothing about AAPG; afterwards 100 percent knew a lot about the organization. All of the participants suggested the meeting was useful for their chapter.
In the next couple of months three new chapters (Durham, Leeds and Liverpool) should be created, which also has enabled the development of intra-UK areas for multiple chapter events (for example Imperial College and Royal Holloway chapters are now planning a joint seminar). It also was possible to discuss ideas to integrate the aims of organizations such as YES (Young Earth Scientists Network) into the remit of the UK chapters.
Most importantly, we now have a network of leaders in the UK that know each other and can ask each other for advice.
As with many organizations, AAPG will no doubt feel the pinch in a global economic downturn. However, it is my hope that events like these (that we hope to be annual or bi-annual) continue to be supported because of the clear benefits for the Student Chapter network and the long-term future of AAPG.
I would like to finish by thanking all those that made our first meeting a success, and hope you will continue to support our future efforts.