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Student Life

Constitutional Development

All organizations should have their basic structure and methods of operation in writing. This requirement of a registered student organization at Eastern Mennonite University assists in the continuity, consistency, and unity of the group over time.

The purpose of a constitution is as follows:

  • To define primary characteristics of the organization and to prescribe how the organization functions in order to communicate to current and future members what the organization is about and how it functions.
  • To prescribe how the organization functions
  • To include all rules that the group considers so important that they cannot be changed without previous notice to the members and the vote of a specified large majority

Format Guide for Developing a Constitution of a Student Organization:

Constitution of (Name of the Organization)

Adopted (Signature of President and Date)

Article I – Name
Exact title or name of the group to be used in addressing the organization

Article II – Purpose- Outline the following:

  • Group purpose
  • Why was the group was founded
  • List general group goals
  • Outline political, cultural, religious, social, service, etc. purpose

Article III – Membership
Define eligibility for membership, including specific restrictions and process for becoming an official member. List the rights of members and how members are removed. The university’s nondiscrimination clause should be included in this section.

Article IV – Officers- Outline the following:

  • Titles and duties of any club officer positions
  • Eligibility to become an officer
  • Definition of procedure for filling officer positions in the case of unexpected vacancies
  • Outline of the process for removing an officer if necessary
  • Articular length of officer terms

Article V – Elections- Outline who will be elected, along with the following articulation:

  • Elections must be held in the spring of the year for the following year’s officers
  • How nominations to be made
  • How nominees present their qualifications along with who is eligible to run for a position
  • How is an election to be determined
  • By what means and how far in advance will nominations and/or elections be announced and members notified

Article VI – Meetings- Outline the following:

  • How often meetings will be held
  • How members will be notified of meetings
  • How organizational decisions will be made
  • Who is eligible to vote and what constitutes a quorum at meetings
  • How will meetings be run

Article VII – Finances- Outline the following:

  • How will the organization finance its activities
  • Whether the organization will submit an annual budget request to SGA
  • How financial records be kept
  • Who is responsible for developing the budget
  • Whether dues be required, and if so, how much, how often, and to whom they are paid
  • Who is responsible for collection and disbursement of funds
  • Who may authorize expenditures

Article VIII – Advisor
Define the advisor’s role in the organization, as well as how this person is selected and what expectations the organization has of the advisor.

Article IX – Committees 
Define and explain the purposes of any committees in the organization including how and when they will be formed.

Article X – Affiliations 
Outline any affiliations with local, state, national or international organizations.

Article XI – Amendments 
Detail how constitutional amendments are to be proposed and by whom. Outline how amendments will be voted upon, incorporated into the Constitution and by what percentage they will pass.

Article XII – Ratification 
State how the Constitution will be approved by the organization members.