After additional consultation with leadership, its board of directors and its members, the American Chemical Society (ACS) reaffirms its plans for the ACS Fall 2021 “Resilience of Chemistry” meeting as both an in-person and virtual meeting. The in-person portion of the meeting will be held in Atlanta on Aug. 22-26.
A key factor in determining whether to proceed with the hybrid meeting was presenter preferences indicated during submission of abstracts for the meeting. For the more than 7,000 abstracts submitted, roughly half of the presenters elected to present their research in person, while the rest opted for the virtual option.
“It is important for ACS to listen to its members’ voices,” says Paul Jagodzinski, Ph.D., chair of the ACS board of directors. “With nearly 50% of papers elected to be presented in person, and the ability to safely conduct a limited in-person meeting for the first time since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, it is clear ACS members are eager to gather in person in a safe way to share their science.”
This decision to continue plans for a hybrid meeting comes as Georgia recently passed a voting law widely criticized as limiting the ability of Georgians to vote in future elections. While the new Georgia voting law is extremely concerning, in reaffirming its decision to continue with the hybrid meeting in Atlanta, ACS also was mindful of the administrative order issued by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms seeking to mitigate the effect of Georgia’s new election law, as well as lawsuits seeking to overturn the Georgia law. ACS also considered calls from former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams asking organizations not to boycott Atlanta and penalize its workforce.
“ACS holds the belief that voting rights are fundamental to our U.S. democracy and is hopeful that all states and the federal government will ensure all of its citizens are permitted the right to vote without barrier or limitation,” Jagodzinski says.
In connection with its in-person portion of the ACS Fall 2021 meeting, ACS is making a special effort to engage the local community through enhanced chemistry outreach activities. These efforts will have a special focus on students from underrepresented populations. The outreach will have two goals: to increase awareness, excitement and understanding of chemistry, and to attract greater diversity to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pipeline and the chemistry enterprise. Additional details will be disclosed in coming months.