How to get involved in local Sections and Student Chapters

September 10, 2020

As an SME member, have you ever wanted to get involved on a more local level? If so, consider joining a current SME Section or possibly starting one. With some 46 Professional Sections and 78 Student Chapters already in place both nationally and internationally, they are a great additional resource, outlet and way to engage with other SME members with similar industry interests.

SME Sections serve a specific geographical or interest area and provide a touchpoint for local members. Sections help you connect with like-minded individuals in your area for professional growth, local community outreach and expanded networking opportunities. It’s a great opportunity to meet others in the industry at events like happy hour gatherings, golf tournament fundraisers, monthly presentations and, during COVID, virtual presentations for professional development and activities like sporting clays for social distancing!

"My involvement with the Colorado Section helped open the door to the greater mining community in Colorado, and also resulted in many valued friendships. It has also put me in contact with a wide range of mining professionals who I can call on to help answer questions about mining. Similarly, I have come to be viewed as a resource for other mining professionals. I admit that I put a lot of time and effort into my involvement in SME, but I truly believe that the personal and professional rewards I have gotten back have been a ten-fold reward for my efforts.”
—David Bieber, Colorado SME Section Past-Chair

SME Sections are created and lead by volunteer leadership at the Section level. They are governed by a set of bylaws, which are created by the volunteer leadership and approved by the SME Board of Directors.

Bieber added, “I had been working in the engineering and environmental fields when I originally joined SME. After joining I decided to attend an Annual Meeting as a means to find potential employers in Colorado, where I hoped to relocate. That first meeting I attended did in fact yield a contact that resulted in my being hired by one of the firms attending as an exhibitor, and my relocating back to my home state of Colorado. After relocating, I began to attend local SME Colorado Section meetings as a way to network and expand my knowledge of the mining industry. Along the way, I volunteered to help with the Colorado Section, and before long I was tapped to become a Colorado Section officer, ultimately leading to my chairing the Colorado Section.”

SME Student Chapters bring students together to build a broad-based understanding of the minerals industry and a sense of unity and identity with peers. Student Chapters also serve as a link between school and business, providing the opportunity to engage in the type of activity necessary for ongoing professional development.

Brian Traweek, Pennsylvania-Anthracite SME Section Secretary-Treasurer, elaborates, “The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration has been an outstanding partner throughout my career, from scholarships received as a student, through the outstanding Professional Engineer's Exam preparation course, and now through industry contacts that have come through serving as an officer in the local SME Pennsylvania Anthracite Section that have enabled me to build my mining engineering consulting business. In addition, I earn most of my Professional Development Hours through local Section meetings. The value of membership continues to be high.”

Visit the SME Section and Chapter website for more information:


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