[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Skip to Main Content

ACS News

July 17, 2006
Volume 84, Number 29
p. 47


Become An Advocate For Science

E. Ann Nalley, ACS President

Photo by Peter Cutts

It is hard to believe, but I've already completed half of my term as ACS president, and I can honestly say that whoever coined the phrase, "Time flies, especially when you're having fun!" sure knew what they were talking about.

Since assuming the office of ACS president, I have been privileged to travel throughout the U.S. and internationally, visiting with ACS members and representing ACS at large and small meetings, symposia, and other events. I have been absolutely energized by the positive spirit and enthusiasm I have encountered among our membership.

Our sheer number of members, now more than 158,000, maintains us as the world's largest scientific society, but the volunteer ethic of our members also makes us one of the most productive societies in the world.

While our members volunteer in many different ways in many different venues, I want to focus on the important contributions our members make in the area of advocacy on behalf of the top priorities of ACS members—and to encourage more of our 158,000 members to also become Advocates for Science.

As you may know, one of the first letters I wrote as ACS president was to President George W. Bush (chemistry.org/government/06Nalleylettertobush.pdf) sharing with him our deep concern regarding two troubling indicators for future U.S. global competitiveness—the deficit we have of young people entering our nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics pipeline and the relatively flat federal budgets for research and development over the past several years.

I urged President Bush to include these important topics in his State of the Union address. I also had the ACS Legislative Action Network (LAN) activated, which then involved 11,000 ACS members who are registered for this program. The LAN assisted these members also to contact the President with the same message. I was delighted to learn from the ACS Office of Legislative & Government Affairs (OLGA) that, on short notice, more than 1,000 of you did so.

If you watched the State of the Union address, you were probably as excited as I was when President Bush announced a bold new federal initiative, the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) (chemistry.org/government/06budgetresponse.pdf). In the President's fiscal 2007 budget, ACI was funded at a level of $10.7 billion with recommendations of $50 billion in new funds over the next 10 years.

Congress is now actively engaged in the appropriations process, which will ultimately decide how much of the President's initiative gets funded and implemented. ACS has recently adopted new policy statements (chemistry.org/government/statements/index.html) supporting the appropriations for key federal agencies essential to restoring U.S. competitiveness and fostering innovation that will allow us to involve our members in subsequent steps of the congressional process. OLGA also will be representing these positions actively on Capitol Hill, along with many other scientific, business, and academic organizations.

OLGA, however, can't do this alone. We desperately need your involvement. At no other time in recent memory has science education, research, development, and exploration been higher on the national agenda. But we need to let our support be known to our elected congressional representatives, and the best and easiest way to do that is through the ACS LAN.

Are you a member of LAN? If not, please make a commitment today to become an Advocate for Science. It takes less than one minute to join LAN and even less time to get involved on future visits when you will be asked to respond to alerts and e-mail your elected representatives. Go to www.chemistry.org/takeaction.

One person can make a difference, and you may very well be that person!

Thanks for reading and, more important, thanks for considering joining your fellow ACS members who are already LAN members. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, and comments with me at president@acs.org.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.

More Online

ACS Comments, which appear in C&EN from time to time, are written by society officers and committee chairs. They are available on C&EN Online at www.cen-online.org/html/acscomments.html. Comments are archived back to 2000.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society