The following content is essentially based on material from the Cornell University Student Activities Office web page (www.activities.cornell.edu). Thanks to our colleagues for publicly sharing these materials.
The Constitution of an organization contains the fundamental principles which govern its operation. The Bylaws establish the specific rules of guidance by which the group is to function. All but the most informal groups should have their basic structure and methods of operation in writing. To qualify for formal recognition all student clubs and organizations at Carroll College must submit either a Constitution OR a Constitution with separate Bylaws. If a club or organization opts to submit a Constitution without Bylaws, that single document must address the relevant issues noted below under the discussion of Bylaws.
By definition an organization is a “body of persons organized for some specific purpose, as a club, union, or society.” The process of writing a constitution will serve to:
If you keep in mind the value of having a written document that clearly describes the basic framework of your organization, the drafting of the Constitution will be much easier and more rewarding experience.
The following is an outline of the standard information to be included in a Constitution. The objective is to draft a document that covers these topics in a simple, clear and concise manner.
Article I – The name of the organization
Article II – Affiliation with other groups (local, state, national, etc.)
Article III – Purpose, aims, functions of the organization
Article IV – Membership requirements and limitations
Article V – Officers (titles, terms of service, how and when elected)
Article VI – Advisor (term of service, how selected)
Article VII – Meetings (frequency, special meetings, and who calls them)
Article VIII – Quorum (number of members required to transact business)
Article IX – Vacancies and Dismissals (procedures and handling)
Article X – Amendments (means of proposal, notice required, voting requirements)
Article XI – Ratification (requirements for adopting this constitution)
The Constitution covers the fundamental principles but does not prescribe specific procedures for operating your organization. Bylaws set forth in detail the procedures your group must follow to conduct business in an orderly manner. They provide further definition to the Articles of the Constitution and can be changed more easily as the needs of the organization change.
Bylaws must not contradict provisions in the Constitution. They generally contain specific information on the following topics.
1. Membership (selection requirements, resignations, expulsion, rights and duties)
2. Dues (amount and collection procedures, any special fees, when payable)
3. Duties of Officers (powers, responsibilities, specific job descriptions, procedures for filling unexpired terms of office, removal from office)
4. Executive Board (structure, composition, powers)
5. Committees (standing, special, how formed, chairperson’s roles, meetings, duties, powers)
6. Order of Business (standard agenda for conducting meetings)
7. Parliamentary Authority (provisions for rules of order, generally Roberts Rules of Order – Newly Revised)
8. Amendment Procedures (means of proposals, notice required, voting requirements)
9. Other specific policies and procedures unique to your organization for its operation
Remember the reasons for having a Constitution and Bylaws. They articulate the purpose of your organization and spell out the procedures to be followed for its orderly function. Constitutions usually require a 2/3 vote of the membership for adoption. Bylaws only require a simple majority for passage. Once you have developed your Constitution and Bylaws review them often. The needs of your group will change over time and it is important that the Constitution and Bylaws are kept up to date to reflect the current state of affairs.
Make sure every new member of the organization has a copy of the constitution and bylaws. This will help to unify your members by informing them about the opportunities that exist for participation and the procedures they should follow to be an active, contributing member. A thorough study of the Constitution and Bylaws should be part of officer training and transition.
Congratulations to all candidates in a very competitive campaign. We are so impressed at the time and effort during these campaigns and look forward to seeing all the progress ASCC makes in the coming year!
What previous leadership experiences have prepared you for the position you are applying for? Some people love championships and friendship, but I am all about leadership (though I also love winning and my friends). My love for serving through leadership cam in high school, where I served in high school as the Associated Student Body president and implemented new fun programs, including lunchtime BBQs and an intramural kickball tournament, among other things. At Carroll College, I have been Vice President of three clubs and the secretary of one. These clubs have allowed me to travel to various conference and participate in countless service learning opportunities that have given me some awesome insight into programs, events and student life programs that I think Carroll students would greatly benefit from. Furthermore, I have worked under the student life activities director, Pat Harris, for 3 years and have been an integral part of the implementation of some of the schools most loved events (aka Softball Weekend) and know the importance of maintaining traditional events, but also of adding innovative events and moving forward with those suggested by students.
What does Carroll College need to improve upon to enhance the student experience? From a student life point of view, I would like to see more low-key additions to daily events happen for students that the school makes possible. Things as simple as the coffee pot in the library are what keep students going through the semester and I would love to put more attention into those small details. I think the current ASCC administration has done an awesome job with hearing student feedback and I would want to expand on that, as well as open up a clearer channel for students to communicate with administration on things like Academic Calendar changes and faculty appointments. This would allow students to better understand why certain changes are made and feel more a part of the campus.
Personal Biography: From Central Washington to Central Montana, my life and my college experiences thus far have made me the perfect candidate to be your ASCC president. My work and club experiences, combined with that one time I was first-team All-State for high school volleyball, have helped me develop skills in leadership, organization, responsibility, and winning, all of which I will put toward benefiting the Carroll College student body. I am running for President because I truly do not think there is anyone who has been more entwined in Carroll activities. I have seen what the students love and I want to help make more of that happen. I pride myself on being a social butterfly and know that this outgoing spirit will help me connect with students and serve them in the best possible way.
What does Carroll College need to improve upon to enhance the student experience? I believe that attending Carroll College will prove to be one of the most influential times of my life. The city of Helena has been very supportive of the college and I believe that acts of service in giving back to the community have greatly enhanced my experience as a student. We currently have students working as mentors to youth in the Helena school district, hospice and hospital volunteers working with the elderly and ill in our community, volunteers serving the underprivileged at various food shares in town, participants of the big brothers big sisters program, and many other local services. I have had the opportunity to experience many of these and it is incredible to see the life that our students bring to the people of Helena. I can say with confidence that if Carroll College were to make an even greater push towards increasing the participation in these local activities, the experience of every student on campus would be enhanced.
Personal Biography I am running for Vice President because Carroll College has served me well in the past 3 years, and I would like to take the opportunity to show my gratitude through service back to the students who have been a huge part of my experience. As a member of ASCC I believe it will be my role to be active in my outreach to students in figuring out what changes could be made to better their experience. I would like to use the relationships I have built with various students of many different groups during my time at Carroll, including athletes, students of campus ministry, and a variety of academic studies, to build camaraderie across the campus and enhance the community feel that brought us all to this college. I have seen firsthand the life that our students bring to this city of Helena and would like to take advantage of the opportunities that students have to serve this community that has been so supportive. With the experiences and leadership abilities I have accumulated throughout the recent years, I would be honored to have the opportunity to represent and serve our students as the Vice President of Carroll College.
What do you believe the roll of ASCC should be in association with Carroll College as a whole? My belief is that the ASCC is a representative body of the student population. Because of this designation, I believe that the ASCC is both a student governing body and a mitigating party between students and the school administration. Therefore, the ASCC has the responsibilities of organizing events, allocating funding to appropriate student clubs, and creating an unbiased, communicational-bridge between students and administrators. To accomplish these tasks, I believe that the ASCC must be transparent in its actions and accountable to the students that elected its officers and senators.
Personal BiographyRaised in Spokane and attending a small, non-denomination, private secondary-school, I chose to stick close to my roots and study biology at a small, private, liberal arts institution, Carroll College. In my free time, I enjoy skiing, sports photography, playing the piano, and running.
Providing excellence in leadership, integrity, and fiscal responsibility, I believe that I could preeminently represent the student population as Executive Treasurer. Because I will be a graduating senior, I figure this will be my last opportunity as a student to greatly contribute to the direction Carroll is moving. Being a tuition paying “investor,” I would like to voice the opinion of my peers and my own as the primary fiscal officer of the ASCC. If given the honored opportunity, I would endeavor to establish the necessary communicational lines between students, administrators, and the Executive Council. If you have any questions regarding my candidacy, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personal Biography Hi Carroll College! My name is Megan McInnis. I am junior biology major, Spanish and Gender Studies double minor from Bozeman, Montana. I am running for the position of ASCC secretary because I would like to serve my Carroll community and ensure that the student body is informed of decisions about the future of Carroll College. During the past two years I have served as secretary and as president of the Circle K service club and this leadership experience has prepared me for the role of ASCC secretary. I am a strong communicator, an active listener and very organized. I believe that ASCC is and should continue to be a necessary link between students and directors of Carroll College. I would take the initiative to continue future planning for a student activities facility on campus. I believe that as Carroll College grows our campus needs such a facility to enhance the student experience for years to come.