Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PUMA: The Beta Kappa chapter of the NWA

From Vice President: Juan Crespo
This past January down in New Orleans, I had missed my shuttle from my hotel to the airport after spending a week at the AMS Conference. Luckily, I happened to run into Tim Oram in the lobby of my hotel. At the time, Mr. Oram was the Emergency Response Meteorologist at the Southern Region Headquarters of the National Weather Service. Mr. Oram offered to drive me up to the NOLA Airport so I could catch my flight on time. During that drive, we discussed topics covered at AMS, my studies, as well as the National Weather Association (NWA).

Mr. Oram told me how the NWA was great for those who were interested in the field of operational meteorology, and told me that just like the AMS, there are local chapters within the NWA. As soon as he told me this, I knew this would be a great opportunity for PUMA. Being an NWA Chapter would allow PUMA to also focus on the operational side of meteorology as well as the research that is often focused on in our major. As soon as I returned to Purdue, I signed up to be an NWA member and began looking up how this could be done

My goal was to get our local chapter status by the end of the school year, but with how busy the officers were, and the fact that one of them was studying abroad in England, we decided to push it back for the next administration to handle. When I became Vice-President of PUMA for this school year, I immediately told Kayla, our President, that I wanted to get this task done. She trusted me and allowed me to write up our petition while I asked the other 3 officers to become NWA members so we could file for chapter status.

After getting the petition signed over the summer, we received word from the National Weather Association before the school year started that all we had to do was give them our by-laws with revisions that also focused on the NWA. There was only one problem: the current PUMA by-laws haven't even been touched since the early 90s and were extremely outdated! This meant we had to start from scratch; just like with the petition, I volunteered to write up the new by-laws so we could complete this process.

After writing and revising the by-laws for what seemed like days, we finally finished and approved the by-laws to be reviewed by the NWA. After about a month of waiting due to the NWA Annual Meeting, on Tuesday, October 23rd, PUMA was officially approved as the Beta Kappa chapter of the National Weather Association! It certainly was a long process that started 10 months ago, but the journey was worth it.

As a dual AMS and NWA Local Chapter, PUMA will be able to serve our members better. Our members will now have to opportunity to network and reach out more with the operational field of meteorology, but also be able to expand their horizons with both organizations. We hope that PUMA will continue to flourish in the near future as it begins to work with the NWA while keeping a strong connection with the AMS.

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