President's Letter - December 2020

Written by  Dr Susan Northfield, MRACI

Published 4 December 2020

Dear RACI Victorian Branch community,

It is almost shocking to find that we are nearly at the end of this difficult year. I want to thank the committee members of the Victorian Branch of RACI for all their work helping to navigate adapting our activities to an online format. A special thank you to our immediate past President, Dr Yvonne Mah, who did a wonderful job guiding us through the year until the end of her role in September. I also want to pass on my thanks to all our amazing specialist Groups in the VIC Branch. You all did spectacular jobs this year, and I eagerly look forward to working with you further in 2021.

Above all, I must say a special thank-you to the team in the RACI office who have supported our branch this year. In particular I want to thank our CEO, Roger; Finance Officer, Mary; Marketing Specialist, Michelle; and most of all our Branch Coordinator, Alyce. You’ve all gone above and beyond to support us this year. We thank you sincerely for all your efforts. We couldn’t have done it without you.

As we look ahead to 2021, we are planning to return to in-person events for our members. There will be an adjustment period for all of us as we make this transition back and adapt to COVID-safe event practices. This will include the wearing of masks for indoor events and other state-required practices, but the most important feature will be the tracking of registrations and attendance at events. The Branch will be working closely with our Groups to help guide through these changes and requirements, and we will make the requirements clear for attendees at the point of registration. 

One of the lessons we learned this year is that online events opened opportunities not available for in-person events. For example, we have been able to regularly invite interstate and international speakers, have interstate and international audience members, and allow people to attend who would otherwise have missed events due to child-care responsibilities, living too far from the venues, etc to attend where they otherwise would not. So you can expect to continue to see some online activities next year, and even some hybrid events (combination of in-person and online).

Before concluding, I am sad to report the death of one of our members, Emeritus Prof Bruce West. Bruce was Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Monash University 1964-1993 and afterwards Emeritus Professor. He was a long-time member of the RACI, including a term as national President in the 1990s. We send our deepest sympathies to his family at this time. 

Finally, I wish all our RACI members a peaceful and safe end-of-year. I hope with the easing of restrictions you can meet with family and friends (safely of course) that you haven’t been able to see this year and enjoy the end of year holidays. We look forward to seeing you all (hopefully in-person) in 2021!

Best wishes to you all!

Dr Susan Northfield
RACI VIC Branch President


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