From the Chair
By Steve Benson, 2010 Chair
2010 Fall Conference and workshops: This is our 20th Anniversary Conference! It’s a long way from our first conference held June 4-5, 1990 in St Paul. Online registration is closed but walk-up registration will be available. Check the website for conference and workshop schedules, fees, activities, and the preliminary program.
Special conference speakers: Don’t miss Rick Lorenzen’s slide show on competing and navigating in the longest canoe race in the world, during the Wednesday evening welcome reception (hors d’oeuvres and cash bar) at the Great Lakes Aquarium on the Duluth waterfront. We have excellent keynote speakers for the conference: Paul Ramsey will speak on Life in an Open Source World, and James Scott Brew will speak on Digital Nature and Sustainable Design.
Scholarship endowment fund: This fund is over $24,000 now, and growing. Once the account hits $100,000, interest will become the source of funding for Consortium scholarships. Thank you to those individuals and organizations that have contributed to this fund. You can find a donation form on the Consortium website, or donate directly at the GiveMN website.
General Consortium fund: The economy is forcing changes everywhere, and the Board has been working to cut costs this year as most entities are doing. We’re changing banks to cut fees, reducing printing, increasing e-communications to cut mailing costs, re-negotiating conference costs and cleaning up our member database. You can help by going to the Consortium website to make sure your member profile is up-to-date.
Facebook: The Consortium’s Facebook site is a good place to find and contact other members, as well as a place to find news and updates. Be a friend!
You can participate! Consider giving some of your time and skills to help in the Consortium’s work, either by serving on the Board or on a committee. We are a volunteer-run organization and always need more people, new energy and fresh perspectives. If you haven’t been involved, please consider it.
Open board positions this year are Chair-Elect, Treasurer, Conference Chair-Elect, State Government, and Private Sector. You can nominate yourself or someone else interested in supporting the GIS/LIS community anytime until November 5th using the online nomination form. Please contact any Board member to ask questions about their position, find out how much and what kind of work is required and decide if a Board position is something in which you’re willing to invest some time. New Board members begin in January.
Also, there are multiple Consortium committees that are made up of both Board and non-Board members, with interesting work that needs to be done. Please take a look, ask some questions and consider volunteering. You might be surprised to find it’s fun, challenging and rewarding.
MN State Government employees: Due to the change in email addresses for many state government employees, please use the Consortium website to update your member profile - specifically your email address. Otherwise, you could miss e-announcements and other communications from the Consortium, since email sent to your old address will not be forwarded indefinitely.
Membership in the Consortium is free: All you need to do is sign up on the Consortium website. Please reach out and let non-members know about this, so they can decide if they’d like to join. You need to join to register for the conference and workshops.
The Consortium is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation: Meetings are open, and the minutes and Consortium activities (going back 22 years) are listed on the web site. Take some time to browse the site, and see if there are activities you’d like to participate in.
Some other organizations:
- The Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE) is hosting Geofest Minnesota October 16 at Macalester College.
- The MidAmerica GIS Consortium (MAGIC) has inquired about Minnesota joining their organization. Board members are reviewing this.