June 20, 2015

Day 2, June 2015 AGU Meetings Committee

Posted by Laura Guertin

This is the last of a three-part series of my time at AGU headquarters starting my term on the AGU Meetings Committee. View the Pre-Meeting and Day 1 posts for the complete story.

When you head to San Francisco in December, what do you say to your colleagues?  Do you say you are heading to AGU?  Do you ask them if they are going to the Fall Meeting?  Does anyone say they are going to the AGU Fall Meeting (the official name of the conference)?  This was one of the topics we addressed on Day 2 of our meeting about AGU Meetings.

We started the day with a continuation of our Day 1 icebreaker, where we each went around the room and shared our favorite meeting experience and our favorite AGU Meeting (my favorite meetings were all of the ScienceOnline conferences (ScienceClimate, ScienceOceans, ScienceTogether) I attended, and my favorite AGU conference was the Spring 2000 meeting in Washington DC, which is where I had my first undergraduate student present her research).  Everyone certainly has a favorite AGU meeting moment (it is interesting to think of what makes a favorite meeting moment, and why)!

The committee then dove in to discussions about the development of fall meeting scheduling guidelines.  When you think of all of the sessions, Town Halls, internal functions, auxiliary functions, and other events, it is impressive to think of everything that must be assigned a time slot!  (On a side note, it happens that Tuesday is one of the busiest day at the AGU Fall Meeting.)  One of the biggest challenges the Fall Meeting Committee is facing right now is balancing how to get people to attend the Union lunchtime forums (such as the ones from the 2014 fall meeting) versus the growing number of Town Hall events getting scheduled during the lunch hour.  Then there are the virtual options for the fall meeting – are the original virtual meeting goals still the right ones for this option?  Are sit-down interviews with scientists that are perhaps more formal and structured a more meaningful and useful way to capture the science from the fall meeting?  Then of course, there is the branding of the fall meeting – because, let’s face it… AGU Fall Meeting is a name of a meeting that no one uses!  Not to worry, it will still be the AGU Fall Meeting for this year (2015), but AGU is exploring options for a new name that sets a statement for the future (and addresses the issue that the meeting is not held in the fall for either the northern or southern hemisphere!).

The meeting continued with discussions on a 4-day transdisciplinary program tentatively taking place next year, and then an exploration of the Chapman conferences (the existing proposal process, recommended next steps, etc.).  I unfortunately had to leave at lunch before the last two hours, but my day-and-a-half with the Meetings Committee certainly showed me that there is so much to the AGU meetings portfolio, and it is exciting to see the expanding opportunities that are in the future of the organization (especially the international collaborations).  Stay tuned for more meeting news.

Don’t forget that you can now submit your abstract for the AGU Fall Meeting (or for AGU, or just the fall meeting, or for whatever you call this gathering of over 20,000 scientists from across the globe)!