Many volunteers work behind the scenes, ensuring that CSEG initiatives are successful. Those who want to volunteer, or to say thank you to those who do, often don’t know what committees and opportunities exist.
This column aims to bridge those gaps. In addition to the column, the CSEG website will be updated regularly with committee and volunteer information.
First formed in 2003-04, the CSEG Foundation is the registered charitable arm of the CSEG. Many activities benefitting members, students and the general public are run through the Foundation. So, what makes it tick? Hundreds of CSEG volunteers with a passion for geoscience and outreach are dedicated to the many programmes, events and initiatives. They are guided by the Foundation Board Directors – all well known to the CSEG membership and also in the wider geoscience community. We meet a few of them below.
Larry Herd has been volunteering with the CSEG since 1983 in many capacities: Doodlespiel, Doodlebug, GeoConvention, CSEG Executive including Director of Finance and President and, most recently, as CSEG Foundation Board Chairman. Larry is proud of the Foundation. He is happy to be at the helm with a vast network of energetic volunteers focusing their enthusiasm on a common goal of public and student outreach. Many volunteers and donors are working diligently to ensure that the Foundation becomes self-sustaining – over the past few years the Foundation has grown to over $2 million in assets. That said, fund-raising is difficult in tough economic times so the Foundation is presently focusing on long-term objectives such as a Planned Giving program. His volunteering interests don’t stop at the CSEG. In early 2016, Larry and his wife Vicki spent six weeks volunteering at an orphanage in the Nairobi slums building a pre-school. So whether it is for the CSEG, CSEG Foundation or an outside venture, for anyone considering volunteering, Larry has some advice…
Just do it! Take the leap – believe me, it’s worth it!
Mike Clement (CSEG Foundation Board Treasurer) feels that the Foundation Board is exceptional to work with. He comments that “there is a lot of history and they are all passionate about their role and the promotion of science”. For many years Mike has been volunteering with conventions, scholarships, Ski Spree and the CSEG Executive, and still finds it hard to fathom the size of the volunteer base working behind the scenes to accomplish both CSEG and Foundation goals. Like many others, Mike started volunteering with the CSEG to network in the industry – and found it to be invaluable for meeting new people while learning from the experiences. Being the chair of a large committee prepared him for senior management later in his career. As Convention Chair, Mike met the challenge of having a profitable convention in a string of convention losses; now he faces similar challenges on the Foundation Board as they predict a deficit year while working to build a self-sustaining endowment. As Treasurer, he has help from past Treasurer, Annette Milbradt and Assistant Treasurer, Susan Thomson: something he encourages other committee members to consider to both
spread the burden and ensure succession planning.
Since graduating in 2013, Dennis Ellison has has taken on a number of volunteer assignments: CSEG boothie for a high school career fair, ESfS, ASEG, GeoConvention and many other career fairs. These all stand him in good stead to take on the role of CSEG Foundation Outreach Program Chair. He admits that the current reduction in the Foundation Outreach budget is a challenge but also finds it amazing to see the personal growth of volunteers as they take on and master assignments. He notes that, through volunteering, he has learned skills earlier in his career than he would have otherwise. Dennis has a full schedule. He spreads his time between work, volunteering and play, so on Tuesday nights he’s home playing with his kids and on Sunday afternoon he is napping when they do. Volunteering provides an opportunity to meet people outside his regular network and, as a bonus, socialising with fellow volunteers gives Dennis a sense of community. So get involved! For those thinking of volunteering but feel they can’t, words of advice from Dennis are “Do it! We learn best by overcoming adversity!” He also advises:
If you want something, say it. If you know something, share it.