Dues Increase Will Help Build the Foundation for AGU’s Future Success


31 August 2012

The world is a very different place than it was 43 years ago. In 1969, Jimi Hendrix rocked the legendary Woodstock music festival, Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the Moon, and U.S. drivers paid an average of 35 cents a gallon for gas. Today, digital music files have replaced vinyl records, NASA’s Curiosity rover is transmitting data and imagery from the surface of Mars, and a growing number of cars run on alternative fuels.

In the same way, 43 years ago AGU was a very different organization. Membership hovered around 10,000, and the Fall Meeting was still in its infancy. Today, AGU’s membership has increased to more than 61,000, Fall Meeting attendance has topped 20,000, and an entire generation of geoscientists who weren’t even born in 1969 now comprises 28% of our current membership.

One thing that did not change in the past 43 years was AGU’s membership dues. In 1969 the Union raised dues from $16 to $20; dues for students increased to $10, though they were reduced to $7 in 1975. Taking inflation into account, those dues are worth approximately one sixth of their original value. Nonetheless, AGU has continued to provide a high level of service and benefits to our ever-growing membership.

AGU today is a leader in scientific innovation, communication, and collaboration. We are an organization that engages members, shapes science policy, and informs the public about the excitement of Earth and space science and its role in developing solutions for the sustainability of the planet. We are dedicated to building a strong and diverse talent pool. We have evolved and advanced to better serve our members and the worldwide scientific community—and we continually look for ways to strengthen the Union.

We know how important our programs are to our members and how important they are to our mission of promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. So the Board of Directors recently commissioned a comprehensive study of membership dues to evaluate whether the current rates adequately support the programs and services we provide. The study included assessments of how dues revenue contributes to operations of the organization and how AGU member dues compare to those of similar scientific societies. We also surveyed AGU members to gather feedback. As a result, the Board voted to increase member dues in 2013 to $50; students will pay $20. This change will not affect Life Members, who are exempt from further dues payments.

AGU strongly values the continued commitment and involvement of all of our members, and we believe that this change will better support our collective vision of collaboratively advancing and communicating science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.

Mike McPhaden

President, American Geophysical Union

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