SEJ President’s Report: Reviewing SEJ's Bylaws and Membership Categories With an Eye Toward the Future
I’ve been thinking a lot about you, SEJ’s members, who are at the core of this organization. It’s because of you that we are here, and it’s also why we are looking at our membership categories to make sure they best represent the work environmental journalists do today and the evolution of our industry. You may recall that it’s been a year since the membership of the Society of Environmental Journalists voted to create a new student category. Early indications show the new category is succeeding in increasing student participation in SEJ, and in helping our organization better serve the next generation of environmental journalists. SEJ’s student membership is currently 110, about double what it was before we added the student category.
Those member-driven discussions of the student category spurred some proposals for additional possible bylaws revisions to make our organization more inclusive and equitable while maintaining the high journalistic standards required for membership. We currently have Active, Associate, Academic and Student members. SEJ has revised its bylaws several times in the past to add or change membership categories and our organization’s bylaws and membership standards need to continue to evolve in order to continue serving environmental journalists most effectively.
To ensure the voices of all of SEJ’s diverse membership are heard and considered, the board’s membership committee, in consultation with SEJ’s president and staff, has planned a multi-stage process to determine if and how to make those changes.
The first step is to create a small steering committee to determine the process and timeline.
Next, the steering committee will recruit a task force of SEJ members, with support from staff, which will review the bylaws and membership requirements. The task force will present recommendations to the SEJ board for a vote. Ultimately, any proposed changes will be brought before the full membership for a vote, as required by SEJ’s bylaws.
If you are interested in serving on the bylaws review task force, or have ideas about the bylaws or membership criteria, please take a few minutes to fill out this form. It’s crucial that SEJ members from all categories participate in this process. We’re eager to hear from you.
I’m also excited to see you at SEJ’s virtual annual membership meeting on September 25 beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (registration and agenda; you'll need your log-in info). You’ll hear from candidates running for open board seats, and you’ll have an opportunity to break out into virtual rooms to discuss volunteer opportunities and peer-to-peer support, and there will be an informational session on SEJ’s bylaws and membership as well.
I hope to see many of you later this month!
Sadie Babits, President, SEJ Board of Directors