Members Respond to the Sponsorship Issue…

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Sigrunn Johnsen, AAPG Delegate
Sigrunn Johnsen, AAPG Delegate

I am disappointed in what happened during the discussion and voting on the proposal for elimination of the “three sponsors” requirement for AAPG membership. The Executive Committee put the proposal to amend the Bylaws in front of the HoD to be voted on.

I am embarrassed that Young Professionals were present to experience the performance that was put on by some of the delegates who were against the proposal.

The PowerPoint presentation that was given to argue against the elimination of the three sponsor requirement exposed the general attitude held by some delegates, which includes:

  • Resistance to adjust to the faster and more transparent lifestyle of the younger professionals.
  • Suspiciousness of other’s intention and ethical behavior and thereby maintaining the impression of AAPG as an exclusive organization.
  • Single-minded focus on the negative aspect of issues.

After the presentation, those delegates against were the first to speak to the floor and immediately called for a motion to vote for another proposal, which would change the requirement from three sponsors to one. During the following discussion, the aforementioned delegates against the elimination of sponsors dominated the discussion on the floor with arguments that, at times, were intimidating, manipulating and aggressive. I ask: was this ethical behavior?

The technology advances we are experiencing are bringing the global community closer together and it is necessary to tolerate and respect each other to take advantage of the resulting vast opportunities.

AAPG needs to change and become unconditionally accepting and welcoming to the Young Professionals. By maintaining the requirements of one-year professional experience and one sponsor to become a member, AAPG still appears exclusive, which makes young people insecure and ask “Why?”

We may find ourselves scratching our heads and asking, “Where have all the young professionals gone?” which got me thinking of Pete Seeger’s song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” We need these “flowers” to maintain AAPG as a strong, attractive and sustainable professional organization.

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