AGU Member Survey on Meeting Considerations


In June, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. That decision shifted the battleground over reproductive rights and freedoms to the states. Additionally, several states have further restricted LGBTQ+ rights from what can be taught in schools to medical care and procedures. States and municipalities have also seen a renewed push on conceal and carry gun legislation. Together, these developments have cast a bright light on issues of safety for organizations on how and where they choose to convene meetings and large-scale events.

For AGU, regional diversification of meeting locations has traditionally lowered costs for attendees and allowed for Earth and space science to be shared with a broad spectrum of communities. The irony now is that the positive by-product of moving locations is in direct conflict with new restrictive laws that threaten inclusion and safety. To address these challenges, we initiated a multi-pronged approach:

  • We turned to leadership and members to listen, solicit feedback and hear a broad range of perspectives.
  • We engaged our Council and Board, both of whom have deliberated on this issue.
  • We met with a wide range of colleagues in the greater science professional society world to discuss their meeting planning.
  • We led an effort with PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) in August to discuss how to balance all considerations and provide additional on-site health and safety services and resources. Our own SVP of Meetings and Learning, Lauren Parr, is an incoming member of PCMA’s Board of Directors.
  • We conducted a survey of membership to weigh in on the issue and pledged to share those results, which we are doing now.

Survey of AGU Members

The survey reveals an almost even split among respondents, perhaps in part reflecting the tensions noted above. These overall results are also reflected in the individual feedback provided.

Currently, we have no changes in our scheduled locations of meetings but are discussing additional criteria for meeting location selections in the future. From reproductive rights to LGBTQ+ liberties and guarantees to gun safety, we will continue to monitor all activity. With the ever-changing political landscape and shifting court challenges between cities and states, we are committed to keeping a sharp focus on everything that could impact or hamper our number one goal in convenings: to provide a safe and inclusive environment to our attendees.

These issues and other connected with the future of meetings will be covered at a special Town Hall at AGU Fall Meeting 2022.

The Future of the AGU Fall Meeting
Wednesday, 14 December 2022, 12:45 – 1:45 PM
McCormick Place – S106b (South, Level 1)

We also ask that all attendees at AGU22 complete the post-event survey which seeks your input on the importance of the alignment of personal values to organizational policy. We look forward to your input and continuing this important discussion with all of you.

—Sabine Stanley, Chair of AGU’s Meetings Committee, and the members of the Meetings Committee.

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