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Student chapters are a somewhat recent addition to the Soci- ety, with the first one being formed in 2000. Although fairly new, student chapter members make up 13% of the ASA membership and are vital to promoting Society awareness among up-and-coming graduates as well as supporting them socially, academically, and with their professional develop- ment goals. Student chapters “promote a robust sense of community for students within the ASA” (Flynn and Young, 2018, p. 65) through numerous networking and educational events. A great example of this is the four special sessions held each year. These four events don’t just introduce student members to the 13 technical committees but they also serve as an avenue into the acoustical community, with presenta- tions by senior ASA members, poster summaries for vari- ous acoustic research programs, and even chances to secure grant/fellowship funding.
Because national meetings occur only twice a year, regional and student chapters are also a great way for members to stay involved with the Society and the acoustician community at the local level. The required minimum of three meetings per year allow regional chapters to actively engage members while keeping the momentum from the most recent national meeting going. Chapters also provide an avenue to include professions, organizations, and experts of similar interest. For instance, in Architectural Acoustics, local chapters have engaged members of both the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and Architectural Institute of America (AIA). The flexibility to engage outside organizations allows chapters and members to further engage manufacturers, consultants, and laboratories. In an effort to help promote involvement and awareness in the Society, participation in local and re- gional meetings does not require ASA membership.
What Does a Chapter
Meeting Look Like?
There are no exact or structured guidelines for chapter meet- ings. This allows each chapter to develop its own identity and character best suited to serve the local membership. The following is a partial list of what you might expect or experi- ence at your local chapter meeting.
Educational Outreach
Many chapters participate in outreach programs at the local primary and high school levels. Organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, and YWCA also serve as great opportunities to reach out to the potential young engineers and acousticians of tomorrow. These programs usually in-
clude engaging, hands-on demonstrations on the physics of acoustics. A great illustration of this is the paper plate loud- speaker demonstration recently given by the Pennsylvania State University (University Park) chapter to a local Girl Scout troop as well as several local schools.
Professional Outreach
Chapters facilitate the transfer and sharing of knowledge be- tween acousticians and professionals in related industries and fields of study. Collaborating with organizations like architec- tural firms, the AES, the AIA, the National Oceanic and At- mospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and many more provide great teaching and learning opportunities for members.
Many chapters coordinate tours of local acoustical interest for members. For example, the Philadelphia (PA) chapter has toured the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Com- munity Loud Speaker and is considering a trip to Martin Gui- tar in Allentown. The Boston (MA) chapter has made several trips to Boston Symphony Hall, and the St. Louis (MO) chap- ter recently visited the Blues Museum. Tours can be as simple as an unguided walkthrough or as detailed as a guided or even behind the scenes tour and provide a great opportunity for our members to experience and explore the fields of acoustics outside a classroom or laboratory environment.
Technical Talks, Guest Speakers, and Lectures
We, the acoustic community, are fortunate to have numer- ous opportunities for the interactive synergy and sharing of ideas, learnings, and experiences. Special guests are of- ten invited to local chapters to present as experts in a spe- cific topic. Two great examples are when Dr. Kenneth P. Roy came to the local Philadelphia chapter to give a presentation on design strategies for architectural acoustics and when Dr. Dan Brown recently held a colloquium on underwater im- aging systems at the Pennsylvania State University chapter.
Presentations are not limited to acousticians. Anyone in a related field, from educators to industry leaders, is welcome to participate and present. Regional and student chapters further provide local members an opportunity to increase awareness about the Society, share their work, learn from each other, and refine presentations that may be given at the upcoming national meeting. Some chapters even schedule a weekend-long symposium to further help members practice and refine their presentations.
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