May 15, 2003


 Officers on the road

Posted May 1, 2003

Officers on the road

Vice President Kendall on the SAVMA Symposium and SAVMA Advisers Conference

How is the Student AVMA organized?

Dr. Thomas R. Kendall,
AVMA's official liaison
to the Student AVMA
and student chapters,

There's some confusion about this. The Student AVMA is made up of student members from student chapters, or SCAVMAs, at the veterinary schools. The SAVMA has national officers and a House of Delegates much like the AVMA Executive Board and House of Delegates. Students pay two memberships, one to their SCAVMA and one to the SAVMA. To have its two delegates with voting privileges in the SAVMA House of Delegates, each Chapter or Affiliate has to have better than 80 percent membership in SAVMA. A very high percentage of SAVMA members, well over 90 percent, go on to join the AVMA after graduation.

How does SAVMA benefit students?

One of the major things the SAVMA does is to put on a student educational symposium in the spring. This year, the symposium was March 20-22 at the University of Georgia in Athens. It was attended by more than 1,500 students from the veterinary schools in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Similar to the AVMA convention, there is a tremendous amount of continuing education that goes on and there are also numerous wet labs.

What are the challenges to hosting the SAVMA Symposium?

Veterinary schools bid on hosting the symposium. The budget has climbed to more than $300,000, and it puts a lot of pressure on the host school and the students putting it on. One of the major concerns is that the symposium is getting so big that some schools can't host it because of the expense and the amount of resources required. So the ability of the students and the schools, even when economic times are good, to raise the money is still a difficult task. Food is a big factor in the budget, and they've done various things to ameliorate that. A lot of the speakers do donate their time, although some are paid honorariums. Given the size of the symposium, I think we're expecting a lot from students to carry it. The AVMA, as the parent organization of SAVMA, definitely needs to provide help with continuity.

Next to the troubled economics of the profession, what are veterinary students worried about?

The raising of tuition. Schools and colleges across the country have taken hits in their budgets, and most tuition increases are in the double digits. Obviously that has a direct effect on student debt.

Talk about the latest SAVMA Advisers Conference.

The SAVMA Advisers Conference has been a biannual event, but because of its success, the AVMA Executive Board will consider, at its May meeting, a proposal by the AVMA Budget and Financial Review Committee to make it part of the annual budget. A SCAVMA officer and one of the SCAVMA Faculty Advisors from each Student Chapter were invited to attend the conference. This year, the conference was hosted by the AVMA in Schaumburg, April 4-5. The focus was on professional unity. There were breakout sessions on how professional unity existed at the various schools.