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Re: What is it all about?

  • Subject: Re: What is it all about?
  • From: Albert Huntington <amasakih@gmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2013 10:52:22 -0700


  I hear a certain amount of frustration behind your questions, for which I am sorry.  There are a *lot* of ideas out there about what the society *should* do, but fundamentally what the society *does* is to publish Aroideana.

  The gap between what the society does and what people want the society to do can only be filled in one way - by volunteers.  It is not so much a deficit of ideas as a deficit of resources.  The board does is come with ideas of what the society *should* do, but often fails to find someone actually willing to *do* it.  Another thing the board does is try to protect the financial interests of the society so that we can keep publishing Aroideana.

  That gap between what people think we should do and what people are willing to actually do is apparent in the conference organization - someone thought it would be nice to have the society more involved in the conference, and I don't think anyone would disagree, so they put us on the program from day one.  We've done what we can - we voted on the location when asked, we put it on our website.  But that's different from identifying someone to fly out to Hanoi and make a presentation on their day off work, which is what we are currently struggling with.

  We are similarly struggling to find someone to drive down to where things for the show are stored in South Florida and schelp a bunch of shirts and posters and such in their luggage halfway across the world, spend the conference selling it rather than hobnobbing with the other attendees. and then schlep all the extra back to Florida with whatever money they might have collected.  If any such person exists, we'd all be more than happy to have some merchandise at the conference.  It's not that we are intentionally US-centric, but there are certain things that still need a physical location in this day and age, and most of them are still in South Florida, though our membership down there is on the wane.

  Speaking of membership - historically, it's always been a few hundred.  This despite enthusiastic campaigns, advertising and educational material surrounding things like A. titanum flowerings.  A few hundred is on the lower edge of a viable population for a plant society.  In a time when many other niche plant societies are often sputtering out, we are surprisingly holding reasonably steady ... but by the same token, growth is a difficult problem when you are a secondary or tertiary interest for most growers.

  Finally - and this is for all you Aroiders out there - please do look at your society not as a monolithic entity, or a bunch of faceless folks in an ivory tower handing down edicts about what they *won't* allow, but as a handful of people who are taking time they cannot really spare in order to try to make something wonderful happen for the community at large.  And if what you wonder why something isn't getting done ... talk to Zach or Peter or myself, or whoever succeeds us about volunteering to do it.  There are often hidden reasons and difficulties, but beyond that, the only way anything *will* happen is if someone steps up to do it.


On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM, Greg Ruckert <greg@alpacamanagement.com> wrote:
As a person who has beem a member of the IAS, on and off, over a long period of time, I am moved to wonder what is the purpose of the IAS.
I note that the term of five Board membership expires in September and would like to know what the Board members do? When and where does the Board meet?
When are nominations called for the vacant positions?
Does the IAS has a plan for the future and where might I find it?
We have a wonderful editorial team and, without wanting to cause any offence, what is the succession plan that the IAS has in place for these wonderful people?
As a non-American member, apart from the newsletter and Aroideana, what is the point of me being a member?
Does the IAS have a plan to increase its membership?
Why is the IAS Facebook page not monitored?  There is an increasing amount of spam being posted there (I am not the only one who is annoyed by this) and nothing is done about it.
The IAS has a financial membership of 365, including institutions.  The Facebook page has 850 members and is growing quickly. Why isn't the Facebook page used to promote the society and recruit new members?
I notice I don't necessarily get answers to questions I pose. Does the Board think this is a good look?
Why is there a high level of Society disinterest in the International Aroid Conference to be held in Hanoi? Is it because it is outside the USA?
I have asked on Facebook about the Society's involvement in the conference and have effectively been told that it really is nothing to do with the IAS.  This is despite the IAS being involved in selecting the site for the conference and the front page of the IAS website encouraging people to "Join us"
Nobody seems to know who is giving the IAS presentation at the conference! Why? Why will there be no IAS merchandise available?
I have asked thirteen questions and will be interested to see how many I get satisfactory answers to.
Greg Ruckert
South Australia

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