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Comment: Global representation, local section territories, and Speaker Directory perks

by Beth Lorsbach, chair, Committee on Local Section Activities
May 23, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 16


Photo of Beth Lorsbach.
Credit: Chris Kausch Photography
Beth Lorsbach

The mission of the Committee on Local Section Activities (LSAC) is to “provide opportunities, resources, and networks to partner with and serve our diverse member communities.” While LSAC is responsible for supporting local sections and their members in the US and Puerto Rico, we believe that all members benefit when they can engage and network with others in their local communities, whether they are in San Diego or Singapore.

At ACS Spring 2024, LSAC reviewed and endorsed the Petition for Global Representation on Council. The petition expands representation on the American Chemistry Society Council to all ACS members. The petition will be voted on in Denver this fall, and LSAC supports its passage. As a committee, we feel that this petition as well as the recent actions to create an international district and the continued expansion of our international chemical sciences chapter and international student chapter programs are essential efforts to support our growing global chemistry community.

However, as noted in the Petition for Global Representation on Council, more than 1,000 members who reside within the US do not belong to an ACS local section. These members reside in US counties that fall outside existing local section territories. These members are represented by a district director based on the electoral district in which they reside, but they currently lack council representation and do not receive the benefits of belonging to an ACS local section.

We believe that all members benefit when they can engage and network with others in their local communities.

During recent meetings, LSAC discussed the status of these members and is keenly interested in opportunities to assign them to a local section. Options discussed included having members opt in to a local section of their choice or coordinating with ACS local sections to annex unassigned territory where those members reside. Similarly, individual local sections can proactively petition to annex neighboring unassigned counties.

LSAC has procedures in place to allow local sections to submit annexation petitions to the council. To date, such petitions have been handled on a case-by-case basis. But LSAC recognizes the complexity of this situation given that unassigned territory across the country often borders multiple local sections that may share an interest in annexing these areas. As a result, we are forming a working group to help inform and guide this process.

In other matters, LSAC is proud of our recent accomplishments in providing our volunteer local section leaders with the tools, resources, and support they need to lead thriving local sections.

In October, we launched a new monthly webinar series for local section leaders. To date, we’ve held the presentations “Advancing Inclusion in Local Sections,” “Robert’s Rule for Effective Meetings,” and “Best Practices for Involving Industry Members in Local Section Activities.” The webinars are offered live each month and recorded for those who cannot attend. Recordings and links to register for upcoming webinars can be found at

At ACS Spring 2023, we launched the Local Section Showcase, held during Sci-Mix. The showcase events provide an opportunity for local sections from a select ACS district to highlight their events and activities and promote the value of being engaged with ACS through local sections. For ACS Fall 2024 in Denver, we will feature local sections from District V, and LSAC will be there too. Make sure to stop by to say hello.

LSAC also launched a new Speaker Directory last year. The Speaker Directory now boasts over 1,300 speaker profiles. The directory provides users with access to speakers from around the globe who are available to present technical science talks, lead career development and professional advancement presentations, explore general interest topics, and more. The directory is available to all ACS component groups looking for speakers for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events. It is LSAC’s goal that all local sections use the directory to book at least one speaker in 2024. To that end, LSAC has partnered with immediate past president Judy Giordan to offer a $200 minigrant to sections that hold an event with a speaker from the ACS Speaker Directory this year. Funds are limited to the first 100 local sections that conduct their events and submit their minigrant requests. Visit to learn more.

ACS local sections and other component groups provide direct value to ACS volunteer leaders, our members, and the communities they serve. It’s through these component groups that we can make the greatest impact in our communities. Getting involved in your local section is a rewarding experience and a great way to build your professional network, develop new skills, and grow personally and professionally. Visit or email to learn more.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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