Chapter Bylaws

Chapter Bylaws

Effective as of February 15, 2014

Article I:  NAME

The name of this organization shall be the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association (the "Chapter").

Article II:  PURPOSE

Section 1. The objectives of the Chapter shall be to promote and enhance the stature of the Pennsylvania State University ("Penn State") and higher education in general.

Section 2.  The Chapter is organized exclusively for social, cultural, charitable and educational purposes, including distributions of funds to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).

Section 3.  No part of the net earnings of the Chapter shall inure to the benefit of, or be
distributable to, its members, directors, officers, or other private persons, except that the Chapter shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered to it and to make other distributions of funds in furtherance of its purposes.

Section 4.  No part of the activities of the Chapter shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The Chapter shall not participate or intervene (including the publishing or distribution of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Section 5.  Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, the Chapter shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation/organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), or (b) by a corporation/organization, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).


Section 1.  Membership shall be open to any person who is a current or former undergraduate or graduate student of Penn State or parent(s) of same or friend(s) of Penn State University interested in supporting the purposes of the Chapter as described in Article II. Members of the Chapter shall be required to pay annual dues as specified by the Board of Directors in order to remain in good standing.  Only members in good standing may vote in Chapter elections.

Section 2.  The Chapter geographic area is specifically defined by Postal Zip Codes which cover the Greater Chicago metropolitan area from Elkhart, Indiana to Rockford, Illinois.

Section 1.  The governing body of the Chapter shall be composed of a Board of Directors (the "Board") of not less than 10 nor more than 20 members. The Executive Committee of the Board shall consist of the following four (4) executive officers of the Chapter:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

The other members of the Board shall be the chairperson of each standing committee and the Membership Experience Directors (“MEDs”, as defined below).  The number of chairpersons of standing committees and MEDs may vary (not to exceed 10 at any time). The Board has the authority to add or delete a committee at its discretion, depending on the needs and circumstances of the Chapter, and such action would require a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the entire Board to make such changes.

Committee chairs or MEDs shall have such responsibilities and duties as the Board shall determine from time to time, including the responsibility for corresponding with appropriate resources and contacts at Penn State University.  
Examples of committee chairs include the following:

  • Alumni Admissions 
  • Sports 
  • Scholarship
  • Community Service

MEDs are Board members who have the responsibility to assist the Executive Committee and the committee chairs to strive for an optimal experience for Chapter members.  Example of MEDs include the following:

  • Sports Watch Party
  • Social Engagement
  • Professional Development
  • Parent Liaison
  • Social Media 
  • Website 

In addition, there shall be up to six (6) Members-At-Large on the Board, including the past president. 

Section 2.  Board members are elected at large to serve a two-year term, unless terminated earlier, as set forth in Article V, Section 4.  Board members, with the exception of the President and Vice President, may be re-elected. A two-term limit (4 consecutive years) applies to the Treasurer and Secretary position.   When the nominating committee reports the slate of candidates to the Board, and they cannot recruit a candidate for the position of Secretary or Treasurer, the nominating committee may recommend to the Board the seated Secretary or Treasurer be nominated for a third consecutive term.  A two-thirds (2/3) majority of the full Board is necessary to accept the nominating committees recommendation that the seated Secretary or Treasurer be placed on the slate of candidates for a third consecutive term.  Only one spouse or domestic partner may serve on the Board of Directors at any one time. Board members must have graduated from the University with either an undergraduate or graduate degree.  If positions cannot be filled with Penn State graduates, any active (dues paying) chapter member may be elected to the board as a Committee Chair or as a Member-at-Large.

Section 3.  The past president of the Chapter is eligible to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board following his/her term of office for two years, if he/she so desires. The past president may serve as the chairperson of a committee, Secretary, or Treasurer, by vote of two-thirds of the Board of Directors, but may not serve as Vice-President or President of the Chapter for a period of two years thereafter. If the past president elects to serve as an ex-officio member of the board, he/she retains full rights to vote on all Board matters.

Section 4.  Voting members of the Board are expected to attend at least four (4) Board meeting per year. Failure to comply is grounds for dismissal from the Board.  Dismissal requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority from the entire board.  The Chapter shall meet on a regular basis. Meetings shall be established by the President of the Board.

Section 5.  Vacancies of Directors shall be filled by vote of a majority of the members of the Board for the remainder of the term of the person being replaced.

Section 6.  A quorum of the Board shall consist of at least one-half of the voting Board members.  It is further recommended that when a 2/3-majority is required by the full Board, electronic voting be permitted.


Section 1.  There shall be a Nominating Committee to select a slate to fill the positions on the Executive Committee.  This Committee shall be composed of at least three (3) but preferably five (5) members in good standing.  One of the Committee members must be a current Board member if the Committee is composed of three members and two Board members if the Committee is composed of five members, but no Committee member from the Board may be a candidate for election to the Executive Committee.  In either case, it is preferable, but not mandatory, that the one of the Nominating Committee members be the outgoing president. One of the members from the board will serve as the chair of the committee.  The board of directors must approve the nominees to serve on the Nominating Committee.   All committee members must be a Penn State graduate. 

Section 2.  Guidelines will be issued to the Nominating Committee regarding time-frames and deadlines in carrying out their duties.  Furthermore, the Nominating Committee and current board members are encouraged to provide input to each other regarding potential candidates.

Section 3.  The new slate of approved Executive Committee members will serve as the Nominating Committee to select a slate for the various standing chair and members-at-large positions from interested current members of the Chapter.  Open prospective committee chair positions shall be selected first from Board members-at large, if possible, then from other current board chair members, and finally, from Chapter members.  The Committee will submit the nominees to the entire board for approval at the next regularly scheduled board meeting, or sooner at a specially called board meeting if warranted.   Additional nominations, whether for a slate of officers or other board positions may be presented upon petition of ten members of the Chapter, filed with the Secretary at least thirty days prior to the Chapter meeting at which the election is to be held.  Prior to their candidacy, all candidates shall have agreed to serve if elected.

Section 4.  Elections shall be held at a general Chapter meeting of the Board’s choosing, or by electronic voting. Those candidates receiving the largest number of votes for the open position shall be considered elected to the Board of Directors. The term of office shall commence on July 1st of the election year.

Section 5.  Committee Chairs shall serve at the pleasure of the Executive Committee or until their successor has been nominated and approved by the Board.  Members of the Executive Committee may only be removed for cause and only upon the vote of two-thirds majority of the Board of Directors.


Section 1.  Chapter Executive officers shall be President, Vice-President, Secretary, and
Treasurer. Vacancies in any executive officer position shall be filled through a vote of the Board of Directors at a regular Board meeting. All members of the Board of Directors shall be eligible to run for a vacancy in any Executive Officer position. The person filling such vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the term of the person replaced.

Section 2.  The President shall serve a single 2-year term and shall preside at all meetings of the Chapter and serve as Chairman of the Board and an ex-officio member of all committees. He/she shall manage the day-to-day business of the Chapter, call Chapter and Board meetings and preside at those meetings. The President shall inform the Penn State Alumni Association (the "Alumni Association") of Chapter activities and shall be responsible to submit all reports as are required by the Alumni Association. The President shall be the primary liaison with the Alumni Association and shall be responsible to ensure proper training of executive officers and Board members.

Section 3.  In the event of the absence or disability of the President, or at his/her request, the Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President. He/she shall perform such additional duties as may be delegated to him/her by the President. If the office of the President becomes vacant, the Vice-President shall become President until the next annual election of officers by the Board. The Vice-President shall be the President-Elect and shall succeed to the office of President upon a majority vote of the Board of Directors and by the majority vote of the membership. The President and Vice-President shall be responsible for identifying potential new Board Members and Executive Officers. The Vice President shall serve a single 2-year term.

Section 4.  The Secretary shall prepare the agenda for meetings of the Executive Officers and Board of Directors. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of Board meetings, shall notify members of meetings, shall notify members of election or appointment to office, and shall act as custodian of records. The Secretary shall work closely with the President and Vice-President to prepare all reports as required by the Alumni Association.

Section 5.  The Treasurer shall safeguard, and account for and disburse the funds of the Chapter. Accounts shall be balanced by the Treasurer before each Board meeting so that a report may be presented. The Treasurer shall coordinate the preparation of the budget for the upcoming year with the President and other Executive Officers. All Chapter checks in excess of $1,000.00 shall be co-signed by an Executive Officer unless otherwise approved by the Board of Directors. This does not include transfer of funds from one Chapter account to another.  The Treasurer will also control the expenditures on the Chapter credit card with approval of the Board of Directors.  Any charges in excess of $1,000.00 shall be approved by the Executive Officers unless otherwise approved by the Board of Directors.


Section 1.  The Executive Officers of the Chapter shall constitute the Executive Committee.  Disbursement of funds shall be approved by the Executive Committee. Any disbursement exceeding $5,000.00 must be approved by a majority of the Board of Directors.

Section 2.  The Board of Directors is authorized to establish standing and special committees, as needed, to carry out the major functions of the Chapter. The Nominating Committee shall be considered a special committee formulated as provided for in Article V.

Section 3.  A statement of purposes and a list of duties of each standing committee and any additional special committee will be attached to these Bylaws. The purpose statements shall be reviewed annually and may be changed by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.


The Board of Directors shall meet at least quarterly and the full Chapter membership shall meet on call by the President. Meetings of the Chapter shall be open to all Chapter members in good standing. A representative of the Alumni Association shall be invited to attend each meeting.


Amendments to these Bylaws must be submitted to the Secretary of the Board and a notice of such amendment shall be submitted to each Board member at least two weeks prior to a meeting.  If a majority of the Board in attendance recommends approval of the amendment, it will then be submitted in writing to members in good standing of the Chapter. A vote of one-half of the members in good standing in attendance and voting at the Chapter meeting or by electronic voting shall be required for passage of the Amendment(s).


Upon dissolution of the Chapter, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the Chapter, assign half (or up to $5,000) of any remaining funds or other assets to a holding account the Penn State Alumni Association for seed money for a future chapter that will re-establish in the Chapter’s territory.  The other half of funds or assets will be designated to the Chapter's established Endowed Scholarship Fund at Penn State.  The annual yield on this fund shall be put back into escrow each year until the new chapter is re-established.


The rules contained in the Modern Edition of "Robert's Rules of Order" shall govern the Chapter to the extent that they do not conflict with the provisions of these Bylaws or any other special rules of order for this organization.


The Chapter shall operate on a fiscal year beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30 each year.

Chapter Policies and Procedues

PSU Chicago Chapter

Ethics Practices 

April 2015 

Policy Statement:

The Penn State Alumni Association Greater Chicago Chapter has deemed it advisable to institute a set of guidelines to (i) engender a sense of confidence in our membership, with our local Chicago Penn State community and at the University that any monies, property or confidential information that the Chapter is handling are being managed and safeguarded properly, (ii) avoid the appearance of any impropriety by our members or Board, and (iii) eliminate any actual or potential conflicts of interest between the interests of our members or Board and those of the University or our Chapter. 


  • The Chapter shall ensure that membership, alumni records and University student information remains confidential.  Chapter Board members and general members shall not mishandle or misuse student or member information, especially in connection with personal or commercial business ventures unrelated to Chapter or University events or activities.  Student and alumni information shall be used strictly in compliance with law and University privacy guidelines. 

  • The Chapter and its board shall safeguard monies and property belonging to or earmarked for the benefit of the Chapter or the University to eliminate or minimize the potential for theft, fraud or conversion.  To that end, audit processes shall be implemented to ensure that any money raised is documented and deposited in Chapter bank accounts (or forwarded to the University) promptly.  Each fundraising event at which more than $500 is raised shall be under the management of a Chapter Board member and such Board member shall file an accounting for the event (detailing all proceeds and expenses) not later than the next ensuing Chapter Board meeting.  Co-mingling of Chapter/University assets and personal assets is strictly prohibited.  No part of the net earnings of Chapter events or activities shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to, any Board or Chapter members or third parties, except to pay reasonable compensation for goods or services rendered.  A periodic audit of the Chapter Treasury shall be conducted, but not more than annually, unless circumstances reasonably require otherwise.

  • The Chapter Board shall ensure that Chapter activities are conducted in compliance with applicable laws and regulations (eg, federal and tax laws and regulations, fundraising rules), as well as University policy.  Any required governmental or University filings shall be made in a timely manner.  The Chapter shall not engage in activities to influence legislation or political campaigns or initiatives, or any other activities prohibited for entities exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended or replaced, or any state law or regulatory versions thereof.

  • The Chapter Board shall ensure that any monies donated for a specific purpose are properly receipted and then used in compliance with the wishes of the donor (including any donor consultation required).  An accounting of donated or purchased prizes shall be maintained to ensure that all proceeds are used in accordance with their intended purposes. 

  • The Chapter Board and members shall ensure that vendor selection is not driven by personal gain.  If furtherance thereof, any Board or Chapter members involved in any selection process shall not accept gifts or money (other than (i) de minimis offerings not to exceed $25 such as complimentary food or beverage during a meeting or (ii) items which are to be used for Chapter fundraising purposes).

  • No Board or Chapter member shall access or use of Chapter resources, including website, credit card and bank accounts, except as required in the performance of their Chapter duties or otherwise in accordance with Board directives.

Processes and Procedures:

  • In furtherance of the Chapter Ethics Guidelines, the Chapter Board or its Committees may adopt such processes and procedures as it or they may see proper. 

  • In the event of any actual or potential conflict of interest, the affected member shall provide prompt disclosure to the Board.  Failure to give such prompt notice shall also constitute a violation of these Guidelines.

  • In the event of a suspected violation of these Ethics Guidelines, the Board may make such inquiries, take such actions or impose such penalties as it may (in its reasonable discretion) decide, including without limitation, restitution, suspension or removal from office or chapter membership.

Scholarship Guidelines
In order to establish a more consistent basis for the review and rating of applications submitted in connection with the scholarship program run by the Penn State Alumni Association Greater Chicago Chapter (“Penn State Chicago”), the Scholarship Committee has developed these guidelines for the review team.  These are guidelines suggested for use in the review process, but are by no means a final, determinative method for the process.  Scholarship Committee members may supplement the guidelines with their own metrics and methodologies as they, in their discretion, deem appropriate.  In reviewing and rating the applications submitted for the Penn State Chicago scholarship, the committee recommends utilizing the following metrics.  It is recommended that each category be weighted equally and use a scale of 1-5, with suggested grading provided below. 

  • Grades
    Because the minimum GPA necessary for application is 3.0, it is suggested that applicants be given points in the upper end of the range.  Weight may be adjusted if the reviewer believes that the applicant is taking a particularly rigorous (or easy light) course of study (e.g., Schreyer Honors College, double major, difficult major) or achieves academic success while having a large commitment to other activities.  Scale is suggested to be:
    • 5.0 pts = 3.90 - 4.00
    • 4.5 pts = 3.75 - 3.89
    • 4.0 pts = 3.50 - 3.74
    • 3.5 pts = 3.25 - 3.49
    • 3.0 pts = 3.00 - 3.24


  • Essay and Intangibles
    ‚ÄčThe essay grading is a particularly subjective portion of the review process, but the reviewer should consider the ability of the student applicants to express their views in a clear and concise manner.  The subject matter for the essay may vary in any given year, but it should evidence pride in Penn State, a high level of interest in their field of study, as well as an active participation in the University Park community.  Extra weight should be given where the student provides particularly compelling insights, personal history, or lofty goals. Eloquence and writing style of an essay may, but need not, be taken into consideration.
    • 5 = Outstanding
    • 4 = Very good
    • 3 = Good
    • 2 = Fair
    • 1 = Poor 
  • Activities
    This category should reflect the level of participation in activities outside of the academic world.  Examples may include Student Government, THON, Lion Ambassadors, intramural or intercollegiate athletics, College extracurricular programs (e.g., engineering projects, business venture projects) or other volunteer activities.  Extra weight should be given for those students undertaking multiple or large time commitments or those holding leadership roles. Activities and level of involvement outside of the academic world
    • 5 = Extremely involved
    • 4 = Very involved
    • 3 = Moderately involved
    • 2 = Slightly involved
    • 1 = Not at all involved


  • Need
    The application form suggests that the student provide some sense of economic need as part of the essay.  However, in some instances, this information is not provided.  As such, the scale of 1-5 should indicate 1 for “no need/no need specified” to 5 for extreme need.  It may seem unfair to give a low number if the student does not address need, but we cannot assume need of if nothing is stated.
    • 5 = Absolutely Essential
    • 4 = Very Important
    • 3 = Of Average Importance
    • 2 = Of Little Importance
    • 1 = Not Important At All

Harassment Policy:

  • The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination, harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status and retaliation due to the reporting of discrimination or harassment. Discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. 

In the event that you experience or witness any actions which may violate these policies, please advise a member of the executive board of our Chapter.  The board thanks you for you cooperation in keeping the Chapter and its activities safe and fun for all.