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September 26, 2005
Volume 83, Number 39
p. 3

Message From The ACS President

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank everyone who has sent ideas and suggestions of ways that the American Chemical Society can help members, families, students, and institutions affected by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

You may remember that ACS efforts began with a resolution passed on Aug. 31 at the national meeting in Washington, D.C., by the ACS Council expressing its deep concern over the disaster. Please see

ACS's expertise is in science, education, information technology, and communications. Accordingly, we are working to use that particular knowledge in areas that address the needs of our stakeholders. We continue to encourage members to donate to the relevant agencies that are able to address immediate short-term disaster relief.

To address longer term needs, ACS Board Chair James D. Burke, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs, and I have created the Hurricane Katrina Response Task Force, chaired by District IV Director Eric C. Bigham. This task force has members with deep knowledge of the expertise in our local sections, divisions, and committees.

As a first step to help reestablish communications, we have created a blog ( to help connect members within and outside the region affected by Hurricane Katrina. ACS hopes members will post questions and information to the blog regarding the safety of members and friends and their families. In addition, assistance offers or requests--and other relevant information about housing, education, or jobs--can be posted there.

Also within the main blog (, ACS members have been provided a place to share and collect Katrina-related observations gathered by themselves, their families, and their friends. We encourage you to describe or express what you have seen.

The Katrina task force is focusing its efforts on understanding the longer term needs facing colleges and universities and other institutions in the region. Recovery involves a complex interplay of reassembling faculty and student bodies, remediating damaged infrastructure, and matching insurance and governmental aid resources against the need to rebuild. Each institution's needs are different, and the situation changes daily as we learn more about the true consequences of the storm.

We will send one e-mail to all members describing the Society's response,and any future updates will be placed on the blog. Our committees and divisions possessing expertise in environmental science and chemical health and safety are ready to share that expertise with state and federal environmental authorities, if such is needed. Within a few weeks, we hope to have a list of priority actions for ACS to implement, perhaps in connection with other scientific societies and nonprofits.

In addition, as a first step by the new ACS Legal Assistance Network (see ACS Comment "Introducing a Legal Assistance Network," C&EN, Aug. 29, page 36), legal triage specifically related to Katrina is available through the Chemistry & the Law Division's website (

The Membership Division, the Publications Division, and Chemical Abstracts Service have taken steps to assist members, institutions, and other customers in the afflicted areas, and a number of ACS divisions and local sections are providing services or offering expertise to assist students, faculty, and others in need. From news media accounts and anecdotal information, I have been encouraged to learn that students and faculty seem to be finding temporary places to work and study, and that the initial crisis is easing.

We're all trying to do our part. As ACS president, I welcome additional suggestions of ways we can help via the blog or by e-mail to, and I urge you to keep giving and volunteering to aid in the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts needed to overcome this unprecedented disaster.

William F. Carroll Jr.
President, ACS

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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