Page 10 - WINTER2019
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From the President | Vic Sparrow
Government Relations, Advocacy, and the Acoustical
Society of America
Who should speak up for acoustics and advocate for acoustics on behalf of the members of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA)?
Do you think the ASA and its members should be available to provide technical expertise to help answer important ques- tions being decided by the US Congress? Do you think that the ASA and its members should be requesting additional funding from the United States for acoustics research and fellowship and scholarship opportunities for students with interests in acoustics and related areas?
As a reminder, the bylaws of the Society state: “The purpose of the Society is to generate, disseminate, and promote the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics.” The 2019–2021 Strategic Leadership Plan (see goes further, saying: “The Society is respected and matters to gov- ernments and to the society at large; public and private sector decision makers and influencers look to ASA for its expertise.”
As mentioned in Lily Wang’s summer 2019 column (Acoustics Today 15(2), 7-9; see, there were four new task forces formed to address key points that came out of the Tucson ASA Strategic Summit in 2019. Task Force C was charged to “Improved Communications and Public Relations,” and one of their major goals is to “expand the relevancy of the ASA to all stakeholders, including those in K-12 pipelines,
funding agencies, governing bodies that oversee public policy, industry, academia and society at large.” So, the charge of Task Force C is quite large, with one role contributing to establish- ing better relations with the US Federal Government.
Why are we so sure we need to go in this direction? In May 2018, a quick verbal survey was taken at 12 of the 13 technical committee (TC) meetings held at the Minneapolis (MN) ASA meeting. Jennifer Greenamoyer of the government relations team at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) was on hand to help assess the feedback that was being received. The sense of several executive council (EC) members was that a formal poll should be taken of ASA members to collect statistical data on the topic of government relations and advocacy. In fall 2018, the EC agreed to go forward with such a survey
and targeted a wide segment of the ASA membership. An email survey was put into place so that members not at an ASA meeting would be included. The survey was sent out by the AIP at the end of March 2019, and the survey was closed
mid-April 2019.
The AIP survey on ASA and Government Advocacy was pre- pared by the Statistical Research Center (SRC) of AIP, and the introductory email noted that the “ASA currently does not participate in advocacy efforts in the halls of Congress or with agency heads; other scientific societies do and have been doing so for many years. We want your opinion on whether ASA should actively participate in government advocacy and, if so, how we should proceed.” In addition, the email to fill out the survey contained the words “Today I am writing to ask your help determining how the ASA can best interact with the US Federal Government to engage and inform leg- islators and agency staff members to recognize important scientific acoustics contributions. We want to hear from all ASAmembers,bothintheUSandabroad.Werecognizethat scientific research spans geographic and national boundar- ies and is funded by many sources. It is vital that everyone participate to help us plan our next steps.” In the end, the SRC received 1,911 responses from 5,800 deliverable emails, for a 33% response rate. Responses were received from all the ASA TCs, with 64% from US members and 36% from non-US members.
Some of the key findings from the survey include:
• When asked “Not including yourself, whom do you rely on to advocate for acoustics,” almost three-fourths of respondents (73%) said they rely on the ASA to advocate
for acoustics and 15% said they relied on no one;
• When asked “Do you believe ASA should advocate to the US Federal Government for acoustics,” 69% responded
yes, 4% no, 20% I am not sure, and 11% no opinion;
• The US members alone were asked “If you were sitting in your congressman/senator’s office, what would you like to ask for,” and out of a long list the top four responses were • More funding for science agencies to support applied
research in acoustics (64%);
• More funding for science agencies to support basic
research in acoustics (59%);
• More funding for graduate education related to
acoustics (42%); and
• More funding to support outreach educating the
public on the importance of acoustics (40%).
 10 | Acoustics Today | Winter 2019

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