ARPAS is about creating a culture of integrity in our industry by virtue of our commitment to a code of ethics and professional accreditation. Membership is the key element because it contributes to our critical mass in the industry. Thus, membership has to be a key objective in a multifaceted approach.
Graduate Students. Forty-three universities, including five in Canada, have been contacted, and a faculty member has agreed to present to departmental graduate students why to become an ARPAS member. No faculty members contacted have refused to do this. Graduate students are the primary target for several reasons: they have the highest exam passage rate, the ARPAS Foundation pays their $25 exam fee the first time they take the exam, and once a member, they are more likely to continue as a member for their career. In fact, some of the faculty members I have contacted said that that is when they became an ARPAS member. We provided a PowerPoint set and a one-page flyer about membership for presentation to graduate students. I attended one of those virtual presentations in December and offer to do so for others too. The next challenge is to get the graduate students to actually take the exam. That requires some follow-up to set this as a priority for them. The link for this exam process is https://www.arpas.org/Becoming-a-Member/ARPAS-Online-Exams.
Highly Qualified Individuals (HQI). Many in postgraduate positions have an aversion to taking the qualifying membership exam, and so, another option has been created and was approved by membership vote late last year. There will now be an alternate route as a HQI, about which more information will be provided as this process is developed. The key question is what is your group, organization, company, or university department’s number of ARPAS members? And, what could it be? And, how can that be achieved?
Sponsorship. This will be the third year after revision of the sponsorship program to make it have a lower annual cost and be simpler, more visible, and funded by a wider array of sponsors, including individuals. After 2020 several dropped off from 2021, but new sponsors for this year are Diamond V, Innovative Liquids LLC, Kemin Industries, Milk Specialties Global, and Pancosma. At least 10 more potential sponsors have been identified and contacted. The full listing of current sponsors is here, with links to their websites. Is your group or are you on the listing? There is still time to become a 2022 sponsor and be recognized for most of this year. www.arpas.org/Sponsors/Annual-Registry-Sponsorship
Demographics. This is also the third year for a more refined yet more useful demographic picture of our membership. We simply need to know more about who our members are and what areas might need more attention and help to increase. We will share some of this information about our membership as it becomes more available and more complete.
One benefit I have received from contacting people for the previously mentioned programs is that I am learning more about what members or others think about ARPAS. One person said he thought our potential membership should be about three times what it is now. To reach that level would require more creative and effective approaches than we may have used so far. What do you think?
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