Penn State Ecology Graduate Student Organization

EGSO bylaws

i.    Academic aspects of the program

1. Review core courses and other program requirements and propose alternatives to the Ecology Program Director and Program Committee

2. Coordinate relevant EGSO activities with the Ecology Program Director

3. Participate in Ecology Program Committee

4. Provide input to structure and content of program seminars and symposia

5. Work on logistical support issues (e.g. space and computer facilities)

ii.    Recruitment, mentoring and professional development

1. Make the program website an effective tool for recruiting prospective students

2. Make personal contact with prospective students

3. Upgrade fall orientation of new program students

4. Provide mentoring for new students

5. Assist students in preparation for program related exams

6. Facilitate student participation in important conference and training opportunities

iii.   Special activities and events

1. Organize special events such as picnic and retreats

2. Seek ways to increase student and faculty involvement in program events

3. Foster contact with program alumni

iv.   Outreach to other groups at PSU and the broader community

1. Collaborate with other groups (graduate or undergraduate) to ensure the success of science-based PSU outreach events

2. Facilitating EGSO member outreach by advertising known outreach events and organizing EGSO group participation

3. Hosting science-based outreach events for local school children or adult groups


Article I – Purpose

The purpose of the EGSO is to provide a forum for graduate students in the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) Ecology IGDP to engage in activities related to 1) academic aspects of the program, 2) recruitment, mentoring and professional development, 3) special activities and events, and 4) outreach to other groups at PSU and the broader community. Examples of activities for each of these four categories are:

i.    The membership shall be divided into members and associate members.

1. All currently enrolled students in the PSU Ecology IGDP are members of the EGSO.

2. Program alumni may apply for consideration as EGSO associate members. Associate members do not have voting rights in the organization.

ii.    Any and all new members will be given full disclosure during recruitment, including but       not limited to the disclosure of:

1. Organizational documents (public copy of EGSO constitution located at:

                      a.   Organization events and activities

                      b.   A list of responsibilities of members

c.    A copy of the University Hazing policy, prescribed by Policies and Rules for Student Organizations (These document will be available upon request by the Office of Student Activities).

2. All members, including but not limited to new members and recruits, reserve the right to refrain from participating in any activities without consequence, based upon personal/religious beliefs, personal values, or moral reserve as defined by the member.

3. Any and all interaction/activity between members and/or new members will be limited to guidelines stated by university policy, as well as local, state, and federal laws.

iii.   Membership removal

1. The EGSO reserves the right to expel a member who shows blatant disregard toward the policies of the organization. In order to expel a member, the case must be reviewed by and the member approved for removal by the President, Vice-President/Treasurer Secretary, and Advisor before it is brought to a vote either via email or at the next meeting. In the case that the member being removed holds one of the officer positions reviewing the case, this person shall be recused from ruling on his/her own case and only the other officers and Advisor shall review the case. Rules for voting are outlined in Article V.

iv.   Mediation Procedures

1. In the event of violations of constitutional policies and/or conflict between members of the EGSO, either the highest ranking officer not involved in the conflict, or the club advisor will facilitate an informal mediation procedure.

2. The informal mediation procedure is as follows:

a.    A mediation meeting will be arranged outside of regular organization meeting, at a location neutral to all parties involved.

b.    The mediator shall explain their role as an impartial party, state the objectives for the mediation, and set ground rules

c.     Each party will be allowed to express their views, and any supporting documents (emails, financial documents, photos, etc as determined by the nature of the conflict) should be presented at this time

d.    Goals shall be then set to reach an amicable resolution to the conflict. Both parties much agree, in writing, to the goals

3. The mediator is responsible for

a.    Arranging the mediation meeting

b.    Facilitating a resolution. However, as a third party, only make suggestions for resolutions if no suggestions are forthcoming from the conflicted parties

c.     Setting ground rules

d.    Maintaining an amicable tone to the mediation meeting


Article III – Officers

i.    Only EGSO members shall be eligible to serve as appointed or elected officers.

ii.    The officers of EGSO shall be President, Vice-President/Treasurer, Secretary,       Webmaster, Graduate Student Association Representative, and Social Chair

1. The President of EGSO shall preside over meetings and have the authority and responsibility of conducting EGSO activities with consent of the membership. The President shall also appoint Committee Coordinators in consultation with EGSO members to facilitate action on tasks designated by the organization. The President is also responsible for ensuring the EGSO’s active status with the Office of Student Activities and handling all proposed amendments to the constitution

2. The Vice-President/Treasurer shall assist the President in his/her duties and shall assume the duties of the President in his/her absence or incapacity. He/she shall also be responsible for maintaining all financial records, collections and disbursement of funds and preparation of financial reports.  The Vice-President/Treasurer will oversee any and all fundraisers conducted by the EGSO. The Vice-President/Treasurer will be the ONLY member with access to the EGSO Associated Student Activities (ASA) account.

3. The Secretary shall be responsible for all correspondence, recordings, reports, minutes and announcements which may be required by the members and officers of EGSO. These duties include administering any required votes via e-mail, serving as election monitor at the end of his/her term or designating another person to serve as election monitor for the fall meeting election.

4. The Webmaster shall be responsible for ensuring that the EGSO webpage is accurate and up to date.

5. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) Representative shall be responsible for attending GSA meetings and reporting any pertinent information back to the EGSO. When possible the GSA Representative shall serve as a liaison between the EGSO and the GSA.

6. The Social Chair shall be responsible for arranging social events to promote interaction between EGSO members.

iii.   It is permissible for two people to be elected to hold one office. Procedures for elections where co-candidates are running are described in Article VII.

iv.   In the event that an office becomes vacant, nominations will be taken at the meeting immediately following the announcement of the vacancy. Elections will be held at this meeting and will follow the procedures listed in Article VII.

v.    Committee coordinators, appointed as described above, will be responsible for organizing special meetings to discuss specific issues and for presenting a synthesis of these discussions to the general meetings for action. While committee coordinator roles will be flexible, there will generally be at least one coordinator for each of the four activity categories described in Article I.

Article IV – Meetings

i.    The EGSO will meet once a month during the fall and spring semesters. The meeting will be held at a time and location designated by the President.

ii.    In the event that none of the previous year's officers is present at the first meeting, the members in attendance will appoint a temporary president for that meeting.

iii.   Special committee meetings may be called by committee coordinators to discuss specific issues. All committees will be open to any interested member. Committee meetings will be generally advertised and are also open to any interested member.

Article V – Voting

i.    A 20% of the membership shall constitute a quorum at an EGSO meeting.

ii.    If a quorum is reached, a simple majority of those present shall be sufficient to decide an issue before EGSO.

iii.   If a quorum is not reached at a meeting, or if the issue is of immediate concern and therefore must be voted on prior to a meeting, an issue may be put to a vote of all members via e-mail. If the number of votes cast via e-mail is at least 20% of EGSO membership, a simple majority of votes shall be sufficient to decide the issue.

iv.    In the event that more than two options or candidates are put to vote and a simple majority is not obtained in the first round, a second vote between the two options or candidates that received the most votes will be taken.

Article VI – Finances

i.    All EGSO funds will be handled exclusively through the ASA office. The EGSO will not have an off-campus account

ii.     The payment of dues is not a condition of membership, and no dues will be collected from members to support the EGSO.

iii.    Financial issues will be dealt with as needed in regular EGSO meetings. The Vice-President/Treasurer will be responsible for finances as described in Article III.

Article VII – Elections

i.    Elections will be held for EGSO officer positions as described in Article III and for student representatives on program committees are described in Amendment I and III.

ii.     Elections for officers and representatives will be held on or after the last regularly scheduled meeting of the fall semester and be completed before the end of the fall semester following a nomination procedure as described in this article.

iii.    The outgoing secretary or someone appointed by the outgoing secretary will serve as the election monitor. The monitor will be responsible for both nomination and voting procedures at the fall election meeting. If the designated election monitor becomes a candidate for an office of the current election, they will appoint a substitute who is not a candidate to fulfill the election monitor duties. The election monitor may enlist the help of other non-candidates to conduct the election.

iv.   The election monitor will solicit nominations for the officer positions from the members and distribute the names of nominees to the members one week prior to the fall election. Self-nomination is allowed.

v.    The following protocols will be followed in cases where co-candidates are running for one office. Co-candidates run on an equivalent basis to one solo candidate. Voters cast only one vote per position.

vi.   Voting will proceed as described under Article V (Voting).

vii.  The officers shall be elected to serve for a term of one year and their term of office shall begin at the close of the meeting at which they are elected. Officers may run for reelection.

Article VIII – Ratification and Amendments to the Charter

i.    Any current member of the EGSO may propose an amendment to the constitution. Proposed amendments must be presented in writing to the President of the EGSO, who will then present the amendment to the EGSO member body via electronic communication. Voting on the proposed amendment can then take place either electronically, or at the next EGSO meeting (at the discretion of the EGSO President). The amendment will have passed if it is approved by a two-thirds majority vote given that a quorum of 20% of the EGSO membership is in attendance.

ii.    All amendments are subject to approval of the Office of Student Activities.

iii.   Any amendment that passes will take effect the following semester, unless otherwise indicated in the amendment at the time of voting.  

iv.    The EGSO founding meeting will have a quorum if it is attended by at least 20% of the students registered in the PSU Ecology IGDP at the time of the meeting. This charter will be ratified if it is adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of those attending the founding meeting.

v.     If this quorum of 20% of the potential EGSO members is not met at the founding meeting, the founding meeting facilitator will circulate the charter to all current Ecology program students via e-mail for a vote. If more than 20% of these students vote, the charter will be ratified if it is accepted by a two-thirds majority vote.

vi. This charter may be amended or revised at any EGSO meeting by a two-thirds majority vote provided that a quorum is present at the meeting and that the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing to the previous meeting. If a quorum is not present at a meeting, the amendment may be considered by e-mail as described in section B of this article. If changes to this charter are required by the Office of Student Activities in order to maintain the active status of the EGSO, then the President is obligated to make the changes required. In this case, the revisions may be sent out for a vote immediately via email, otherwise all other rules as described in this section apply.

Article XII – Operational Philosophy

i.    The President shall strive to achieve consensus in reaching decisions. Votes on issues shall only be taken when necessary.

Amendment I

i.    One current Ecology Graduate Student shall be elected to serve as a student representative each on the Ecology Program’s Faculty Program Committee and Curriculum Committee.

1. The student representatives shall represent as best as possible the viewpoints of the Ecology Gradate Students at large at the committee meetings.

2. Each student representative shall attend all committee meetings or shall appoint a temporary replacement to attend a meeting from among the EGSO members if the elected representative is unable to attend a meeting.

3. The student committee representative or their replacements shall report to the EGSO officers and members a synopsis of each committee meeting at the EGSO meeting following each committee meeting.

4. The student representative’s report will be incorporated into the secretary’s notes of the EGSO meeting.

ii.    Nominations and voting procedures will follow articles V and VII.

1. Current EGSO officers are not eligible to hold committee positions in order to cultivate more student involvement in the program.

2. Nominations and elections for the program committee and curriculum committee will be held separately with each EGSO member submitting one vote for each of the two representatives.

3. Committee representative appointments will be for a one-year term with possible reelection.

Amendment II

i.    Copies of this constitution are available to anyone upon request.

ii.    Copies of the EGSO constitution can be found here and downloaded here.

Amendment III

i.    One current Ecology Graduate Student shall be elected on an annual basis to serve as the Frank A. Andersen Ecology Award for Graduate Students Committee Representative.

1. The Student Committee Representative will be responsible for abiding by the procedures laid out in the official Frank A. Andersen Ecology Award guidelines document.

2. The Student Committee Representative will be responsible for convening a meeting of the Award Committee (i.e. President, Vice-President, Faculty Member Representative, and Student Committee Representative) twice a year.  In the fall, the committee will convene to determine the annual award budget.  In the spring, the committee will convene to select the annual recipient(s).

3. The Student Committee Representative will be responsible for making all application and award announcements to the current Ecology student body.  He or she will be responsible for the collection of applications and dispersion of completed applications to the full committee for review.  When a recipient returns from a conference, the Student Committee Representative will ensure that recipient fulfills the requirement to provide a conference reflection in a subsequent Ecology Newsletter.

4. The Student Committee Representative will be responsible for working with the current Ecology Program Service assistant to create and dispense an annual alumni newsletter with an attached donation form.  He or she will also lead efforts to facilitate the growth of this fund through alternative avenues. 

Article II – Membership

Only students who are currently registered at The Pennsylvania State University and enrolled within the Intercollege Graduate Degree program in Ecology may be members of the EGSO. The majority (50%+1) of the active members of the EGSO must be graduate students. There must be a minimum of 10 active student members at all times. Only active members may vote, preside, officiate, or solicit funding on the organization’s behalf.

Article IX – Parliamentary Authority

i.    For cases not specifically covered by this constitution. Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised by Sarah Corbin Roberts will be the parliamentary authority, unless it is inconsistent with the EGSO constitution. In the case of inconsistencies, the EGSO constitution and amendments shall take priority.

Article X – Accessibility of this Constitution

i.    A copy of this constitution will be made available to all members on the EGSO website .

Article XI – Advisor

i.    The EGSO must retain an advisor at all times.

ii.     The advisor must be a full-time faculty or staff member of The Pennsylvania State University.

iii.    The advisor will be elected by the EGSO membership (see Article VII – Elections), and hold office for one year. The current advisor may be reelected to the position.

EGSO constitution originally ratified on December 8, 1999.

Most recent updates to the constitution ratified on January 10, 2013.