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Plain Talk for a New Generation
The Next Hundred Years

This organization is over a century old. That in itself is remarkable. Even more remarkable is its record of distinction. How did this long run and sustained success happen? Certainly not by chance. A hundred years of progress doesn’t happen by chance. It takes foresight and planning. The future must always be taken care of today; and right now, tomorrow’s technical experts are in a university somewhere. Our future is in college.

And there is a gap in the education of a great number of students. Most of them don’t know to what extent the world is formed, moved, and influenced by standards. Most of them don’t know that people who create standards are managing their own problems and creating their own solutions.

Most of them don’t know that international collaboration and the quality and relevance of technology is used for everything from penetrating markets to protecting the environment. Upon graduation, with precious few exceptions, most of them will know far less than they should about standardization, or their right to it. We must do something about this now.

ASTM International is proud to announce a new category of membership: student membership. Students everywhere, in universities around the world, undergraduates and graduates alike, are now entitled to become part of the ASTM International community of experts. Here’s what they will get: A free membership. A dedicated section on the ASTM Web site. Online subscriptions to SN, Business Link, and Access ASTM International. Special publications, like the Handbook of Standardization and academic articles in SN. A student paper contest, the winners of which will receive a monetary award. Career development tools such as free registration for symposia and helpful hints to assist students in their job search through links to other organizations. Above all, they will get something they can’t get anywhere else: a living curriculum, an unparalleled international network of peers,the thrill of witnessing the transformation of theory into practice, and the uncompromising quality of the consensus process. And the quid pro quo is this: The knowledge of ASTM International will spread throughout the world as it never has before. Through these young people, ASTM International will be able to see its future now, infused with new talent and enthusiasm, more international and diverse than ever before, imbued with a fresh measure of intellectual curiosity, filled with promise, enlarged and enhanced by the first citizens of the new millennium.

We welcome into our family these young men and women, our new engineers, our new business people, our leaders of tomorrow. I’ve dedicated this article to this new category of membership in the hope that the members of ASTM International will stop for a moment to consider the future of the organization in which they labor and give so much, think about their contributions and the legacy they have created, and then pass on this message, this opportunity, to the students they know, to the students in their own families. To the age-old question often asked, “What will it matter a hundred years from now?” Here’s our answer: It will matter. A lot.

James A. Thomas
President, ASTM

Copyright 2003, ASTM

James Thomas, President, ASTM

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Go to other Plain Talk for a New Generation articles

Look for the launch of the Student Member section of the ASTM Web site at the end of March. For questions regarding student membership, contact Catharine Allan.