President’s Message Spring 2009
“EN LA BREGA”
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Spring 2009
Message from PRSA President Gladys M. Jiménez-Muñoz and Vice-President Roberto Márquez.
Before we begin sharing our plans for next year’s conference with you, we want formally to express our thanks to former president Luis Aponte Parés (2006-08) and former program chair Elizabeth Crespo Kebler for their good work on our October, 2008 PRSA conference in Puerto Rico. The Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe’s Spanish-colonial architecture, surrounded by its trinitarias and the ocean breeze, was a perfect setting for many critical discussions and presentations of new and innovative research and community work: for dialogues and exchanges which oftentimes challenged colonial representations as aged—and as current—as those reflected in the architectural environment and lived experiences of Old San Juan itself. We also want to take the opportunity to thank all the members of the Local Organizing Committee who put in so much time and hard work into making the conference both possible and such a clear success.
We are now in the process of organizing our next conference. We are pleased to announce that the Executive Committee (EC) is excited to be following through on Guillermo Irizarry’s and Luis Figueroa’s offer, made at our 2006 Cornell Conference, to make Hartford, Connecticut the site of our 2010 PRSA conference. Hartford is, as you know, home to one of the most important—and politically—active Puerto Rican communities in the United States. Within relatively easy reach of any number of other communities and locations in the Northeast corridor, it is, practically and symbolically, an excellent venue for our kind of gathering. We have already secured the Marriot Hartford Downtown as our conference site for October 21-24, 2010. Members can arrive on Thursday and leave Sunday. An opening reception is planned for Thursday night. A conference party Saturday night will close the event. Panels, roundtables, and plenaries are scheduled for Friday and all day Saturday. Vilma Santiago Irizarry has agreed to be Chair of the Program Committee and Charles Venator Santiago will serve as chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), on whose initial organization and planning he is already at work.
The current state of the economy is, of course, among the most important of the challenges facing our next conference. The LOC will, as a result, be working particularly hard to make our conference accessible to all our members, tapping into local funding for support and to subsidize this particular PRSA conference. Our goal is to make the cost of conference registration as low and affordable as possible. Renewing your membership on or before December 31, 2009 will give those of us planning the conference a more accurate and reliable estimate of the number of people we can expect will be attending. This, in turn, will facilitate making available hotel-room adjustments and enable us to negotiate better services, food, and general offers for members attending the conference. At our Conference in Chicago (2002) and Cornell (2006) our association’s EC made important recommendations, discussed at the PRSA Business Meeting, which need to be implemented for our next conference. One of them is to remind our members that paper and/or panel proposals for the 2010 conference cannot be accepted unless all conference paper and/or panel participants are PRSA members in good standing by the date the proposal is submitted. Please check the PRSA website— www.puertorican-studies.org — for membership rates and the on-line form.
We have several other important PRSA-business issues to discuss at our next meeting in 2010. We need, first, to update our by-laws. The EC will, to that end, prepare a list of suggested changes to make our current by-laws less ambiguous. Members should also feel free to suggest amendments by sending any proposed changes on ahead of time so that they can be circulated before our general Business Meeting. We also need to talk about new sites for future conferences. There are, too, the upcoming elections for the EC. Last, but not least, we need to evaluate our association, the possible benefits and services we can now offer—and should be offering—to our members. For all this we need your input and active participation in the vital life of our organization. We will soon be sending the membership a survey to formally begin this conversation. More specifically, if you want to make any suggestion to the EC for improving our organization’s effectiveness and/or for the planning of our next conference, you can also send a personal note to gjimenez _ at _ binghamton.edu Any and all suggestions and ideas will be very much appreciated.
We will continue to keep you updated about our conference’s planning. We expect the Call for Papers for the 2010 conference to be going out by the end of the current semester. This Call for Papers will include a new format for proposals which hopefully will make the work of the Program Committee a bit easier. In the meantime, we wish you all a very productive 2009.