CSWEA Chair’s Message




    “Great Things in our Future

    By Amanda Streicher

    It could be the fact that I’m a new mom, or it could be the fact that seemingly everything has changed this year, or it could be that it’s an election year, or maybe just the fact that seasons are changing and snow has fallen that has got me thinking about how quickly things change and how we must always be looking ahead to our future.

    Looking at the past, I can see all of the great things our Section has done.  Looking at the present, I can see the drive to continue to do great things, but I also see the struggle to find the time.  To look ahead to our future, we must know where we’ve come from, where we’re at, and where we really want to be.

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Holland over some beer the other month, and we had a great, candid conversation about where we really think the IL Section could go.  We recognized that we need to spark the flame that we once had.  We thought, “Gee, Central States does this idea exchange event (CSX) that works really well to generate new ideas and promote new ways of thinking about how we operate as an organization, and Global Water Stewardship does an exchange (GWX), too.  So does the MN Section.  Maybe this is something IL Section should do!”  So, began the planning of the IL Section’s first Section Exchange event, IL-X.

    Following closely to the guidelines and agenda the MN Section has used for previous MNX meetings, I’ve posed the following questions to the IL Section.

    • What does IL Section want to be known for? What are we doing to get that out of the Section?
    • What do you believe CSWEA IL should identify as one of its core values and why?
    • How is our niche unique relative to other professional organizations in wastewater and stormwater?
    • Is there anything we can do to reach deeper into the state and make it easier for those not in the Chicagoland area?
    • How can the leadership of CSWEA IL do a better job supporting initiatives that you believe in?
    • Should your committee structure and/or leadership be changed for 2021?

    I’m hoping these questions spark positive discussion about how we can grow to be the Section we want to be.  This discussion has not been had in IL on a Section level.  I’m excited to hear from new members, experienced members, members who maybe haven’t been active in a while, and those who want more from us as a Section.  All of these different experiences with CSWEA’s IL Section will help promote good discussion and hopefully lead to a few action items on where we will move as a Section.  Things are always changing and the IL Section needs to adapt and grow with the times.  As we discuss who we want to be as a Section, it’s important to know where we’ve come and what we want our future to hold.  Planning for the future will be a big part of the discussion during IL-X.

    How can we bring all members together to discuss the needs of our Section for the improvement of the IL water community?  It may be difficult leading good discussion virtually, but I’m counting on everyone’s investment in this Section to provide an active and engaging discussion.  We will need to consider how we can move forward as a Section with both virtual and in-person events.  It may be our new reality that all events have a virtual aspect to them.  How can we as a Section capitalize on this new way of involvement while still maintaining a personal relationship with our members?  More good questions to think about!

    We are hosting this event at the end of October, unfortunately after this letter is due.  I’m hoping the next message from the Chair will have all of the great ideas from IL-X in it and will be filled with optimism and energy for the great things the IL Section wants to become.  For now, I challenge the IL Section to find new or improved ways to keep our Section active and to bring energy back into our Section.

    We have great things in our future, and I’m looking forward to embracing the change that has been 2020 and using it to grow our Section.


    Mission Statement

    To provide a Water Environment Federation (WEF) organization (Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin) offering multiple opportunities for the exchange of water quality knowledge and experiences among its members and the public and to foster a greater awareness of water quality achievements and challenges.