Membership in the HGS has been shrinking for the past number of years. From well over 3,300 back in 2017 (2800+ active and emeritus), we are down to a less than half that total number and below 1050 active and emeritus. Student membership has fallen from 400+ to less than 200. These numbers do not portend good things for our organization and the science as a whole. As we approach our 100th year as a society, I think it is important to ask ourselves why? Certainly, Covid is to blame for some of this drop in the last several years and certainly there are many who have left the profession due to layoffs, retirements and even deaths. But are there other critical reasons?
Membership cost has not risen in line with other expenses and many members are subsidized by employers. We have brought back in-person meetings and have kept the price as low as we can. We work to bring speakers that we believe will appeal to a broad range of our membership. Attendance is still very low by historical standards. Our course offerings, field trips and social events are priced as best the society can afford in the current market.
Those of us who are still here in the long term all have reasons why we joined and why we stayed. AAPG and HGS membership were important for a number of reasons. Making contacts, training classes, keeping up on the latest developments in the industry, being a part of something in our profession, and service to others. Has that changed? If not, what is it? Are social media contacts considered a good substitute for face to face contacts?
When I became a member back in 1978, I quickly learned that the more contacts I had, the more classes, meetings and field trips I attended, the more I learned and therefore the more valuable I was to my employer.
Take a look at the President’s letter this month and see some of the recent events that have happened and what is coming up in the near future. There are many opportunities to make new contacts, learn and serve.
We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities to grow as a society, so let us know your thoughts.
Ken Thies, Editor 2022-2023