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President's Environment: SFS Committed to Inclusion

Saturday, August 3, 2019
Amy Rosemond

Hi everyone! I hope the Salt Lake City (SLC) meeting was enjoyed by all who attended! We owe much to the meeting organizers and our conference services – they did a wonderful job! Of utmost importance to SFS members is the degree to which meeting attendees – new and old, alike – felt valued and respected by others and that the meeting venue and vibe was welcoming to all. The sense of community embodied by SFS is part of our DNA – but for breakthrough progress on inclusivity, we need sustained energy and focus in this area.

Much needs to be done to make science and freshwater science ‘home’ to previously underrepresented groups. Discrimination and harassment based on race, gender identity, and sexual orientation are unfortunately still widespread in society at large. As scientific society members, we need to commit to respectful and empowering behavior towards all, value the unique contributions of each individual, and particularly listen to the experiences and voices of those who are underrepresented.

We need to identify specific actions and programs that can elevate and accelerate our progress, as we commit to a culture of inclusion. For example, members recently provided specific ideas for making meetings more family-friendly, which will be enacted at future meetings. Also, there are a number of ideas in this report on promoting inclusivity at scientific meetings, which is being used in planning the 2020 meeting.

SFS was asked to participate in the Iberian Association of Limnology (IAL) Gender and Science Group’s survey of women’s participation and visibility at scientific meetings: if you attended the SLC meeting, you will receive an email requesting input. Although gender is just one aspect of SFS’s diversity, the SFS Board looks forward to what we can learn from the survey; IAL will send us the SFS-specific results. We look forward to hearing any of your thoughts on how to become a more inclusive scientific society.  We not only want to identify ‘best practices’ on inclusion but become a model of a supportive and inclusive scientific society. Please help SFS lead in inclusivity by sending your ideas to me or anyone on the SFS Board of Directors for consideration!

Amy Rosemond