The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) was established in 1989 at the San Francisco meetings. The committee was nominated as an ad-hoc committee by then American Elasmobranch Society (AES) President George Burgess. Student Affairs Committee members and a committee chair were, and continue to be, appointed by the AES President.
The original goals of the committee were to ascertain and examine graduate student concerns and needs within the context of the AES and provide suggestions for changes in policy, if needed, to the President and Executive Committee. The goals of the SAC have not changed over the years, but its role within the society has expanded in its desire to adequately address and meet student needs. The accomplishments of the SAC have shown it to be an extremely useful and valuable committee to the student members and the society as a whole. For example, the AES student auction held during the annual meeting banquet has raised thousands of dollars for the student travel awards, and provides fun and entertainment. This, of course, would not be possible without a society as dedicated to its students as the AES.
The SAC has grown with the society and its student membership. Where in 1989, six students responded to a student survey (conducted through the October 1989 AES newsletter), the SAC now holds annual student business meetings attended by dozens, and the SAC and student body communicate over the internet between meetings. The evolution of the SAC continues, and student membership becomes more active each year. With activities such as the student auction, student workshops, making t-shirts and other items for sale (at the meetings and through the newsletter), creating and maintaining a faculty listing and a page in the AES newsletter, the committee has grown from three to more members. Many students and senior member of the society deserve credit for their enormous time and effort in making the SAC an integral part of the society.
AES Bylaws, Article VII, Section 5, Student Affairs Committee (as of July 21, 1998): The Student Affairs Committee shall be appointed by the President. The chair of the committee shall be one of the members of the committee and shall be appointed by the President. Its task shall be to review issues affecting student members and to recommend to the Society and its Officers policies appropriate to student membership.
The SAC remains a standing committee and its members are appointed (or re-appointed) by the AES president on an annual basis. The Committee shall serve from one annual meeting until the next. After each annual meeting, the SAC chair contacts the current President presenting the wishes of the SAC and student body regarding the next years SAC chair and members. The President may discuss SAC appointments and student wishes to that effect with the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors if they feel it necessary to do so, but the final decision rests with the AES President.
The, now formalized, annual student business meeting provides an important opportunity for the SAC and the student body to discuss ideas for future meetings (workshops, auction surprises etc.). Additionally, it allows discussion among student about their current and future needs within the AES, as well as the current membership and structure of the SAC itself. From this, the chair will make the wishes of the SAC and student body known the society's President for decision.
Student Affairs Committee members may resign their position on the committee at any time with a formal letter to the SAC chair. If a student resigns their position between January and the upcoming annual meeting, the above procedure has been used. If the position is resigned between the most recent annual meeting and January (or in an emergency situation), the SAC will discuss filling the position and the chair will approach the President with a recommendation to fill the position. There is no limit on the number of terms a student may serve on the committee. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of people that may sit on the SAC at any given time. The need for additional people is determined by the SAC and the chair then poses the addition of the new member to the President for approval.
The duties of the SAC chair are to delegate SAC responsibilities to its members and work closely with them on all aspects of those duties, and in the development of new ones. Additionally, the chair must keep in contact with the President (and BOD if necessary) regarding presentation and approval of new ideas for future meetings, student body needs and requests and adding new members to the SAC. The chair is responsible for making sure that everything which needs to get to and from meetings for SAC events gets taken care of (by them or another SAC member). Any monetary needs for this need to be discussed with the AES President and Treasurer in advance.
The chair is responsible for presenting a SAC report at the annual BOD and business meetings. As such, the chair should make every attempt to be at the annual meetings, or forward their report to the President. This report is intended to update the Executive Committee, Board, and general membership on SAC activities for the past year. The chair is responsible for organizing and running the annual student business meeting. It is important for the chair to contact the Executive Committee soon after each meeting to arrange for the Student Business Meeting to be included in the agenda for the following years meeting. The formalization of this student meeting has been of enormous help to the SAC and student body.
The SAC members work as a cohesive unit to meet the needs of the AES student members and society as a whole. They play a particularly large roll in running the AES Store during annual meetings. There are specific duties performed by each position on the committee: