The Ohio University Chapter of the American Meteorological Society has its beginning as the losely organized Meteorology Club in the mid 1990's. At the time, the Meteorology program was still in its infancy, and was just beginning to grow. In 2004, a group of undergraduates decided to bring the club back, with the approval of Dr. Isaac, the Chair of the Geography Department. The motivation was that the Meteorology program needed to develop tighter relationships within the major, and provide hands on learning opportunities to explore topics in greater depth. Underclassmen also needed a way to connect with and be mentored by the upperclassemen, to help them through a demanding major. These ideas are still at the core of the OUCAMS today.
The OU Meteorology Club began to have its first meetings every week in Scalia Lab during the fall quarter of 2004, and had the elected officials of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Weekly meetings included fundraising, developing and selling OU Meteorology Club T-Shirts and hoodies and growing members of the club. The club had ambitious plans, and in January of 2005 attended their first AMS meeting in Atlanta, GA. The club grew in 2006, included a practicum and supplemental course called "Severe and Hazardous Weather", and worked to establish a better relationship with the NWS in Charleston, WV.
Symposium and AMS Student Chapter
In 2009, inspired by other AMS Student Chatpers, the club decided it wanted to hold a meteorology symposium on the Ohio University campus and become an AMS Student Chapter. Funding for the symposium was first approved in 2010 by SAC (at the time the Student Activites Committee), and hosted a combination of local broadcasters and forecasters from the National Weather Service in Charleston, WV. The same year, the club presented its first ever chapter poster at the AMS Student Conference in Atlanta, GA, after being approved as the Ohio University Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (OUCAMS).
One year later, OUCAMS began take on a number of firsts. One included adding a new professor, Dr. Ryan Fogt, to the program, who would soon take over as the clubs faculty advisor. Next was to restructure its consitution and bylaws, adding positions such as the Fundraising, Outreach, and Advertising Chairs. Third came paricipating in the Annual Homecoming Parade Banner Contest, as a form of publicity for the Chapter and also Scalia Lab. The banner contest continues today, as OUCAMS has placed every year it has entered the contest.
During September of 2010, a tornado and straight-line wind event hit Athens County, and the chapter realized that the university's severe weather preparations were inadequate. From this the StormReady initiative was born, and led to a Crispy Creme fundraiser to pay for weather radios required in a number of campus buildings, creating laminated training documents to keep with them, and training building personnel in these locations. After numerous meetings between the Athens County emergency manager, NWX RLX, the director of Residential Housing, and OUCAMS, Ohio University was designated as a StormReady University by 2011.
Also in 2011, OUCAMS collaborated with the AMS Student Chatper at the University of California-Pittsburgh, to send volunteers for the first annual StormFest at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The connection between OUCAMS and Cal-U AMS still exists today. By the end of the year, the chatper was awarded the Edwin L. Kennedy Community Service Award at the Ohio Unveristy Leadship Awards Gala. In 2014, OUCAMS increased its community outreach, by working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to take part in the Adopt-A-Highway program, volunteering to clean a two-mile stretch of Rt. 56, west of Athens.
Symposium attendance increased again to a record number, with over 120 students, professionals, and community members in attendence. Combined with all of these efforts, OUCAMS was awarded the AMS Student Chapter of the Year by the American Meteorological Society for the 2014-2015 school year, and received the award at the 2016 AMS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.