Gamma Theta Upsilon

The International Geographical Honor Society


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Constitution & Bylaws

International Organization

Constitution - Download PDF version

Article I-  Name
Article II-  Classification
Article III- Purpose
Article IV- Membership
Article V-  Government of the Organization
Article VI- Committees
Article VII- Fees and Dues
Article VIII- Insignia
Article IX- Meetings
Article X- Regular Chapters
Article XI- Sustaining Membership
Article XII- Educational Fund
Article XIII- Code of Ethics and Conduct
Article XIV- Review and Amendments to the Constitution
Article XV- Bylaws


Chapter Organization


Chapter Roll

The Constitution of Gamma Theta Upsilon
An International Honor Society in Geography

Article I. - Name

The name of this International Geographical Honor Society shall be Gamma Theta Upsilon.

Article II. - Classification

This organization shall be classified as an Association of College Honor Societies Specialized Honor Society in the field of geography and shall be open to men and women alike.  Chapters shall be limited to colleges and universities that have been accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by The Association of College Honor Societies or its equivalent for chapters in countries outside of the United States.

Article III. - Purpose

The purpose of this Society shall be: 

A. To further professional interest in geography by affording a common organization for those interested in this field. 

B. To strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences other than those of the classroom and laboratory. 

C. To advance the status of geography as a discipline for study and investigation. 

D. To encourage student research of high quality and to promote an outlet for publication.

E. To create and administer funds for furthering graduate study and/or research in the field of geography.

F. To encourage members to apply geographic knowledge and skills in service to humankind.

Article IV. - Membership

A. There shall be two (2) classes of membership in Gamma Theta Upsilon: Regular and Honorary. 

B. Prerequisites for Membership are as follows: 

1.  Regular Membership.  To become a regular member of Gamma Theta Upsilon, an initiate must have completed the equivalent of three semesters of college coursework, a minimum of three courses in geography with a 3.3 GPA (on the 4.0 scale) in those courses, and  rank in the top 35% of their class.  All initiates must also meet minimum requirements of Gamma Theta Upsilon and The Association of College Honor Societies.                                 

2.  Honorary Membership.  Honorary membership is available under special circumstances and upon approval by the Executive Committee for any person whom it feels has by exploration, research, lecturing, publishing, teaching, or in any other way contributed to a marked advancement in any phase of geography.  A chapter may apply to the Executive Committee to bestow honorary membership on an individual it believes meets some of the above criteria.

C. Certification of qualifications of initiates seeking any class of membership is the responsibility of the chapter sponsor. 

Article V. - Government of the Organization

A. The governing body of the Society is called the Executive Committee and consists of the following members: 

1. Officers elected by the Executive Committee and chapters

a. President whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5 (a) of the Bylaws.

b. First Vice-President whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5    (b) of the Bylaws.

c. Second Vice-President whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5 (c) of the Bylaws.

d. Executive Secretary whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A.5 (d) of the Bylaws.

e. Comptroller whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5 (e) of the Bylaws.

f. Historian whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5 (f) of the Bylaws.

g. Outreach Coordinator whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A. 5 (g) of the Bylaws.

h. Development Coordinator whose duties shall be those defined in Article II, Section A.5 (h) of the Bylaws.

2.  Officers appointed by the President

a. Regional Councilors as provided in Article II, Section D C of the Bylaws.

3. Other Officers

a. Editor, Geographical Bulletin, elected by the Executive Committee as provided in Article II, section B.1 of the Bylaws.

b. Immediate Past-President whose duties are defined in Article II, Section B.2 of the Bylaws. Upon completing a term as President, this individual automatically serves a term as Immediate Past-President.

B. The Executive Committee shall consist of the current elected and appointed officers and the Immediate Past-President as voting members, and the Editor of The Geographical Bulletin as an ex officio non-voting Member.  The Executive Committee shall have full power to conduct the affairs of the Society.  It shall be the duty of this committee to present at the business meeting any problems or questions of policy.

C. The length of term of officers is as follows: Immediate Past-President, two years;  President, two years; First Vice-President, two years; Second Vice-President, two years; Executive Secretary, five years; Comptroller, five years; Historian, five years; Outreach Coordinator, three years; Development Coordinator, three years; Regional Councilors, three years, taking office in staggered terms; Editor of Geographical Bulletin, three years. The terms of officers carrying five-year terms shall be staggered so that no more than one term expires in any one year.

Article VI. Committees

A. The Executive Committee may create committees as needed.

Article VII. Fees and Dues

A. The charter fee for each new chapter shall be as stated in the Bylaws.

B. The initiation fee for each class of membership shall be as stated in the Bylaws.

C. The individual chapters may charge a higher initiation fee if they so desire.

D. The Society shall collect no dues after initiation.

E. Each chapter may set its local dues. 

Article VIII. - Insignia

The Gamma Theta Upsilon badge is a key which signifies the achievement of quality in a field of science.  The base or body of the key is a seven-sided shield.  Each bevel carries the initial of one of the Earth's continents.  Beginning with Europe at the top, there are the continents of the Old or Eastern World, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.  To the key's left are North America, South America, and Antarctica, the three great land masses brought into recorded geographical knowledge as humanity expanded westward from the Old World to the New World.  Spread across the key's base are five wavy blue lines signifying the five great bodies of water that have carried voyagers to all the lands of the Earth: the Atlantic, the Indian, the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Southern Ocean.  Above the waves is located a white star which is symbolic of Polaris, the great guide to travelers over the vastness of the northern hemisphere oceans.  At the key's top stand the letters Gamma, Theta, and Upsilon.  These initials of the three Greek words, Ge (Earth), Thalassa (sea), and Hypaithrios (atmosphere), serve as a reminder of the three great environmental domains with which geography deals.  The colors of Gamma Theta Upsilon are symbolic of geography's three domains:  brown for the Earth, light blue for the sea, and gold for the sunlight or sky.

Article IX. - Meetings

A. A business meeting shall be held at least once a year at a time and place decided upon by the Executive Committee. 

B. Business meetings shall be open to all members of the Society.  Any member shall be allowed to speak on a question.  The purpose of these meetings is to foster discussion of concerns and issues of the Society.

Article X. - Regular Chapters

A. A regular chapter may be established in any accredited college or university that offers a major, minor, certificate or its equivalent, in geography. Institutions of higher learning outside of the United States must meet and maintain the standards of the Association of College Honor Societies with respect to the mission and quality of eligible institutions.

B. A petition for charter may be made by a group of six or more individuals eligible for membership at the time of petitioning and sponsored by a faculty member.  Petitions must be submitted to the Executive Secretary. Approval of a charter is accomplished by a vote of the President, First Vice President and Executive Secretary, once the Executive Secretary has verified the accreditation of the petitioning institution.

C. The chapters shall be named in the order of their installation according to the letters of the Greek alphabet.

D. Each chapter may elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, and additional officers as desired. 

E. Each chapter may establish its own Constitution and Bylaws with the stipulation that no part of the instrument shall be at variance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society.

F. Failure to add at least one member in two successive years shall place the chapter in an inactive status.  There is no formal procedure for reactivating a chapter beyond submitting an initiate report form.

G. Failure to maintain compliance with IRS regulations shall place the chapter in inactive status.

H.  Each active chapter will be allowed to cast one vote to elect designated officers, to amend the Constitution and to amend the Bylaws of the Society.

Article XI. - Sustaining Membership

A. Members of Gamma Theta Upsilon who wish to continue to support the activities of Gamma Theta Upsilon beyond the year of their initiation may become Omega Omega sustaining members.

Article XII. - Educational Fund

An Educational Fund has been established for the purposes of promoting and supporting scholarly projects of the Society.

A. The Educational Fund shall be managed by the Educational Fund Committee consisting of the Comptroller (chair), First Vice President, Second Vice President and the Development Coordinator and shall be separate from the regular budgetary funds of the Society.

B. The Educational Fund shall support research, publication, lectures, scholarships and other activities not a part of the Society's regular operational functions.

C. The Executive Committee shall receive an annual financial statement from the Educational Fund Committee.

D. Dissolution of the Educational Fund or use of monies from the fund for any purpose other than those expressed in Section 2, shall be by ballot of the active chapters and shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those responding. 

Article XIII. – Code of Ethics and Conduct

Gamma Theta Upsilon’s Code of Ethics and Conduct requires officers to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As representatives of Gamma Theta Upsilon, officers must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Article XIV. – Review and Amendments to the Constitution

A. This Constitution may be amended upon recommendation of a majority of the Executive Committee voting and by an affirmative vote of a majority of chapters’ ballots.  A proposed amendment shall be circulated among the chapters at least one month prior to a vote on a proposed amendment.

B. This Constitution will be reviewed a minimum of once every five years.

Article XV. - Bylaws

Gamma Theta Upsilon will maintain a set of Bylaws that will support the articles of this Constitution. Matters not covered in the Constitution may be covered in the Bylaws.

(last revision – September 2015)

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Constitution & Bylaws

International Organization



Chapter Organization


Chapter Roll