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Club Constitutions & Bylaws

Student Organization Constitution Checklist - Click here for a downloadable detailed checklist to consider when creating or editing your constitution.

Constitution Example - Click here for a downloadable constitution example that you can use as a resource as you work on your constitution!

Important note: your organization may look different than this example! Your meetings, recruitment, elections, positions, etc. may all look different -- and that's okay! Think about what works best for your organization. However, you should generally be thinking about all the points covered in this example.


What is a constitution?

A student organization’s constitution provides a foundation to govern the purpose and future actions of the organization. This document should be used to refer back to when discussing the operations of your organization, such as meeting structure, member recruitment, and elections. It allows a group and its members to be held accountable.


Why is a constitution required for all organizations?

The process of writing a constitution serves as a guide to clarify the organization’s purpose, create a basic structure, and build a foundation for an effective organization. It allows members to have a clearer, holistic understanding of the functions of the organization.


What is the difference between a constitution and bylaws?

Constitutions contain the fundamental principles that govern an organization’s operations.

Bylaws establish specific rules by which the group is to function. Bylaws detail the procedures a group must follow to conduct business and provide further definitions to articles in the constitution. Bylaws tend to be a more fluid document that can be adapted as needs change for the organization.


Does my group need to have both a constitution and bylaws?

No. Each group is required to have a constitution. A separate bylaws document helps flesh out details if a group finds it necessary. If you do NOT have a separate bylaws document, be sure to incorporate the bylaws checklist into your constitution.


What should be in a constitution?

Below is a resource contains a checklist of what should be included in a basic constitution. The document should cover these areas in a clear and concise manner.

Once the constitution and bylaws are developed, it is important to review them regularly. The needs and goals of the organization will shift over time, and it is important that the constitution and bylaws reflect the current state of the organization.


Required points to consider:

  • The constitution should also include reference to the Cornell Bias Policy and the Cornell Discrimination Policy policy 6.4, holding members accountable to this policy.

  • If you are working with a National organization, the constitution that you upload to your registration form should take into account the national constitution for the organization, if one is available