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American Sociological Association: Student Forum
What is the Student Forum?
The American Sociological Association's Student Forum provides resources for graduate and undergraduate sociology students, helps develop networks among student members, and facilitates student participation in the ASA by encouraging professional development and service. Individuals who join the American Sociological Association as student members automatically become members of the Student Forum, receive all mailings and electronic communications, and have access to Student Forum programming. There are no additional fees associated with membership in the Student Forum.
What is the Student Forum Advisory Board?
The Student Forum's activities are coordinated through its Advisory Board, which consists of nine students who are elected by the ASA student membership. The Student Forum Advisory Board is a student-run group whose main purpose is to help students connect to the opportunities of the American Sociological Association and its sections. The SFAB communicates and works with ASA students through the student link e-mail list, organizes sessions for the Annual Meeting, and provides funding to assist students with the cost of attending the Annual Meeting. On the Student Forum website, students have access to discussion groups and links to research, funding, and employment opportunities within the discipline.
Both undergraduate and graduate students are represented on the Board and - in keeping with the American Sociological Association's commitment to diversity - students of color, women, non-traditional students, and individuals interested in working in applied settings are encouraged to participate. The American Sociological Association also assigns a faculty advisor to the group to facilitate dialogue between the Student Forum, the Student Forum Advisory Board, and ASA Council.
How did the SFAB Come to Exist?
The ASA Student Forum Advisory Board was first established by ASA Council at the close of the 1998 Annual Meeting, but its origin can be traced back many years and are closely linked with the American Sociological Association Honors Program. Prior to the development of the Student Forum, student engagement with the ASA was limited to participation in the ASA Honors Program, presenting a paper, section membership, or taking part in the ASA employment service. While students from the ASA Honors Program had historically been responsible for organizing the refereed student roundtables, paper sessions, and student activities at the annual meeting, they did not have actual representation within the larger organization. Also, the transitory nature of the student membership makes collective action and representation in the interest of students difficult.
During the 1997-1998 year, the Director of the ASA Honors Program, Duane Dukes, encouraged a group of students to request permission to represent the larger student membership by taking on a more active role within the Association. This group went before Council and received approval to recognize the ASA student membership as the ASA Student Forum with its own Advisory Board. ASA Council also approved a budget and asked the group to elect officers for the initial implementation phase. These elections were held during the next Business Meeting of the American Sociological Association Honors Program. In subsequent years and up to this day, elections have followed a discipline-wide open nomination process in which any student member of the ASA can be nominated and elected (in the course of ASA's annual elections) to the SFAB.
For more information about the Student Forum or the Student Forum Advisory Board, please contact Jessica Brathwaite, Nicole MacInnis, or Beth Floyd at firstname.lastname@example.org