Bylaws are extremely important to student organizations where there is frequent turnover of members and leadership.  Bylaws outline the rules that affect the everyday functions of the organization and they can be easily changed.

If your organization seems to be straying or begins to dispute a matter, a referral to your bylaws may help clear things up.  Bylaws are vital to the long-term success of an organization because they provide structure and continuity from one year to the next.

What Bylaws Contain:


  • Duties and powers
  • Provisions for filling unexpired terms
  • Rules for election
  • Procedure for recall

Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws

  • Notice to membership of proposed amendments
  • Type of notice required
  • Vote required to affect amendment
  • Procedure for proposing an amendment:


  • Types: Regular and Special
  • Procedure for calling special meetings
  • Quorum (designate a percentage of the membership)
  • Parliamentary authority/votes required to take action
  • Provision for notification of membership if no regular meeting date is established
  • Who shall preside at special meetings

Membership Provisions

  • Who can be a member
  • Types of membership
  • Method for admitting new members
  • Method for dropping members
  • What constitutes “good standing” for members


  • Amount:  Annual membership
  • When payable
  • Initiation fees
  • To whom all dues are payable


  • Time when elections are held
  • Method of nomination
  • Method of voting
  • Duration of all offices
  • The vote required to elect

Board of Directors

  • Eligibility for membership on board
  • Duties
  • Frequency of meetings
  • Delegation of authority to act between
  • Who is delegated to speak for the organization in emergencies
  • What constitutes a quorum (usually a majority of members)
  • How to recall members
  • Authority to hire salaried staff

Standing Committees

  • Names (Finance, Membership, Constitution and Bylaws, etc.)
  • Functions (Duties and Limitations)
  • How selected or elected
  • Term of office
  • Quorum (usually majority of members)
  • Meetings (number and how called)

Sample Bylaws of an Organization*:

--Membership (types, requirements, methods of selection, termination).

--Officers and their election (statement of positions to be occupied by officers, length of terms, dates of elections, procedures for nominating officers, type of vote, and duties of each elected official).

--Committees (names of standing committees; their selection, duties, and limitations).

--Meetings (time, place, definition of quorum, method for calling special meetings, order of business, parliamentary code [if any] to be followed).

--Finances (how money can be raised and how money is to be handled).

*These rules can be changed at any meeting by a simple majority.