Written by Tom Heethuis
There is snow on the ground and temperatures are hovering near zero, yet March is a great time to start looking ahead to the 2015-16 school year. Specifically, now is a very appropriate time look at your group's constitution and bylaws to see if changes are needed for next year. Officer elections for next school year are usually held in April or May and organizational concerns may have manifested themselves. Issues such as purposes of the organization, membership, election/selection procedures, officers, their duties, standing committees and how additional committees are formed should be looked at and necessary adjustments can be made. Changes to be put in place for next year should be made prior to elections so the year can start with clear set of procedures and direction.
A constitution is a written set of procedures and principals that define why the organization exists, how it is organized, how members/officers are elected or selected and their duties. Bylaws are a set of rules and regulations that help a group manage its internal processes and meetings. Bylaws are a bit more fluid than a constitution and normally are easier to change.
Eight pages of information on Constitutions and Bylaws are posted on the MASC/MAHS website under the Resources/Adviser Resources tab. This link (click here) will connect you to an additional two page document from U.C. Irvine that takes a closer look and differences between a constitution and bylaws.