President outlines changes ahead for the SGA

Submitted by Dennis Blanton (sgapresident@thesga.org)

As the new president, I welcome the responsibility of leading The Society for Georgia Archaeology again. The organization is prospering and functioning in ways that were almost unthinkable when I served as president over a quarter-century ago. Clearly, the healthy state of SGA is testament to many years of sound leadership and broad support, and you can be sure that I appreciate and respect that legacy.

Naturally, there are measures we can take to further raise the stature and secure the future of SGA. I’ll be seeking the help of all of you to do so. One thing especially true of all-volunteer organizations is this: they accomplish little without a dedicated and fully engaged membership. To help you anticipate appeals for help, some of my goals for our organization are outlined below.

1. Identity: The SGA will be well-served by a heightened level of visibility. Why not strive to become a household name? Archaeology has plenty of popular appeal and Georgia can boast an archaeological record that rivals that of any state. Our challenge is defining a purpose that carries some cachet in the public arena and implementing an effective strategy for raising consciousness.

2. Membership: In five years I want to see the SGA membership swell to at least 1,000. The population of Georgia is large and growing, and our peer-reviewed journal Early Georgia commands wider and wider interest. Regular memberships will need to increase the most, but there are ways to attract new institutional members as well.

3. Local Chapters: I would liken our local chapters to vital organs. They sustain and promote SGA in every corner of our vast state. In my visits to chapter meetings I have been impressed by a vitality that, frankly, is not always duplicated at the annual meetings. Certainly we want to continue to nurture our chapters, and encourage formation of new ones, yet channel some of their energy toward larger, collective goals. An area of statewide action that I will be promoting is stewardship, and each chapter is perfectly poised to identify and help protect threatened archaeological sites (as some chapters have already been doing.)

4. Publications: An important element of SGA’s identity is its publications and long experience shows how necessary they are to retaining and attracting members. Early Georgia must be maintained in printed form but I will be promoting the idea of a companion series of occasional, special publications. We must also revisit the notion of scanning back issues of Early Georgia for distribution in electronic format, if for no other reason than to attract memberships from space-challenged libraries. I also believe there is some merit to distributing The Profile exclusively in an electronic format, not least among the benefits is lowered production and distribution cost. Savings realized from these measures may be at least partially invested in the SGA web site. Obviously the world-wide web is the portal of choice for many and we would do well to upgrade our cyber presence.

There is much more we can and will consider but these suggestions are offered to stimulate input. Please share your thoughts with me so that I can be as strong an advocate for your SGA as I can be. Drop me a line or give a call anytime: sgapresident@thesga.org; 404-210-3799.

Onward and upward, Dennis Blanton