Page 86 - Winter 2020
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  Student and Regional Chapters: The Grass Roots of the ASA
Colby W. Cushing and Elizabeth F. Weidner
This essay is part of a continuing series in Acoustics Today to highlight the student perspectives of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). You can read more about the role of the council in Flynn and Young (2018) and Canney (2008) or you can check out our website (see The authors of this essay are members of the Student Council.
A small percent of members of the ASA are part of the student and regional chapters that represent affiliated groups for universities and more general geographical areas. In the downtime between society-wide conferences, these groups represent the ASA core values by introducing acoustics research to their local communities. The first four local chapters were established after World War II (Good and Mauck, 2018) while the first student chapter, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was approved in 2004 (Flynn and Young, 2018). There are now 14 student chapters and 11 regional groups (see Since their inception, student and regional chapters have given tours of research establishments, expanded the reach of the ASA, collaborated with acoustics professionals, invited guest speakers, and engaged in community service activities. As a Society, it is important that we support these passionate proprietors of acoustics so that they can continue their work and survive through the sometimes inconsistent bursts of member turnover.
International Growth
Recently, regional chapters have sought to grow their efforts to the international stage. One regional chapter has worked to expand on the meaning of “America” that is central to the Society’s name. The Spanish-speaking Acousticians in the Americas Chapter was approved in December 2019 and whose mission is “...conectar a los interesados en la acústica y el sonido en el área geográfica de América Latina,” or “to connect those interested in
acoustics and sound in the geographic area of Latin America” (see This expansion covers an area of over 20 million square kilometers, with already over 100 registered members across 14 countries. In their short, yet active, tenure, they have promoted multiple webinars that included a panel featuring acoustic consultants, talks on home studios partnered with the Student Section of the Audio Engineering Society in
Ecuador, and many other events.
International expansion is not limited to Latin America, as demonstrated by the recently created East and South- East Asia (ESEA) Regional Chapter, with primary headquarters in Hong Kong (see The goal of the ESEA Regional Chapter is to promote professional development in acoustics in the region, and in April 2019, they celebrated with a Charter Ceremony with officers from the chapter and special guests (Figure 1). No time was wasted; a workshop on “Soundscapes of Building Environments” was held in Singapore, organized in coordination with the National University of Singapore and the Macau Institute of Acoustics.
Community Outreach
One of the most important activities of the ASA student and regional chapters is engagement with members of their local community. Student interaction and exposure at all levels and backgrounds is arguably the most important step in introducing a diverse group of curious minds to the study of sound. These activities are especially important to bring the underrepresented communities into the realm of acoustics as the ASA looks to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Society-wide (see the “Sound Perspectives” essay by Porter on page 75 and the From the President column on page 7 for more information). The student and regional chapters occupy a unique niche within the broader Society. Compared with the community outreach and engagement events at the week-long twice annual Society meetings, many
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    86 Acoustics Today • Winter 2020 | Volume 16, issue 4

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