MIT Synbio:Constitution

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Synthetic Biology for Undergraduates at MIT

Syn Bio for Undergradutes at MIT (SynBUM)

Note: Placeholder name because Jon said he liked it, and no one else commented :P

Purpose/ Mission Statement

The purpose of [SYNBUM] is to communicate the potential, as well as ethical considerations of synthetic biology for the MIT community and beyond. Specifically, [SYNBUM] strives towards the following goals:

  • Education and Outreach
    To generate interest and meaningful dialogue in the prospects of synthetic biology, its uses, and both scientific and ethical considerations; to further understanding of and exposure to the laboratory tools and process of synthetic biology; to connect with the MIT community and beyond to generate excitement for synthetic biology;
  • Networking
    To provide opportunities for the undergraduate community to network with graduate students, professors, and industry leaders with similar interests in synthetic biology;
  • Research and Academic Opportunities
    To provide the MIT undergraduate community unique opportunities in both coursework and research.

Definition of Membership

  1. Any member of the MIT community is eligible to become a member of [SYNBUM]. There is no course preference for students; we especially encourage students without biology backgrounds. One is considered a member of this organization in any given academic term if she has attended at least one club activity and one meeting in the preceding or current term and is a member of the [SYNBUM] mailing list.
  2. The organization’s membership will at all times consist of at least 5 MIT students and be more than half MIT students.
  3. This organization will not discriminate based on any characteristic listed in MIT's Nondiscrimination Statement.
  4. If this organization charges any monetary dues, there will be exceptions made for students that cannot afford these dues.


Election Procedures and Dates

  • Elections will take place at the end of the fall semester and occur by democratic (majority) vote of active members.
  • Platforms will be submitted and emailed to all active members at least one (1) day before elections. Votes will be tallied by the current executive board.
  • Votes of all members will have equal weight.

Terms of Office

  • There are no course or year restrictions on the eligibility to run for office. Both MIT undergraduate or graduate students of any major or background may run for office.
  • Duration of each officer position lasts for one year, starting from December of election year to December of the following year.

Duties of Officers

  • The organization will have, at all times, the following officers:
    • President
      Represent [SYMBUM] to the undergraduate and professional communities; plan and oversee the general activities of the executive board.
    • Treasurer
      Serve as the liaison between [SYNBUM] and the Student Financial Activities Office (part of SAO); maintain and track the [SYNBUM] budget, also handling reimbursement.
  • The following positions may be elected based on size of membership:
    • Secretary
      Keep record of all meeting minutes and events; compiles and sends out bimonthly newsletters to all active members. Work closely with executive board to ensure all officers stay current.
    • VP of Education and Outreach
      Plan events geared towards education and outreach to the community, including educational events, community service opportunities, and the IAP class. Inform and encourage members to participate in educational synthetic biology events.
    • VP of Academic and Corporate Relations
      Form and maintain relationships between members of [SYNBUM], the MIT faculty, industry leaders, as well as other professional resources; provide [SYNBUM] members with unique opportunities in the form of networking events and career workshops.
    • VP of Membership
      Maintain the [SYNBUM] mailing list, track membership statistics, and encourage social aspects of [SYNBUM], including boding events. Publicize events and increase visibility of [SYNBUM].

Removal Process for Officers

  • Officers may be removed by petition of more than two thirds (2/3) of active members or unanimous vote of the executive board.



  • [SYNBUM] meetings will occur monthly for all active and potential members.
  • [SYNBUM] executive board meetings will occur at least bimonthly. Select executive board meetings may be open to all active members.

Making Decisions

  • Disputes with no clear deadline may be motioned to be tabled until the next meeting for up to two times. Decision will then be made via majority vote of the executive board.
  • Disputes with impending deadline or or critical importance can be motioned for immediate end of discussion and majority vote.

Amendment Procedures

The Constitution may be amended based on petition by more than two thirds (2/3) of active members of majority of executive board. Voting is open to all active members. Amendment is accepted contingent upon majority vote of active members.

ASA Governance Clause

The [SYNBUM] agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of the Association of Student Activities, and its executive board. This constitution, amendments to it, and the by-laws of this organization shall be subject to review by the ASA Executive Board to insure that they are in accordance with the aforementioned rules and regulations.