Date Ratified: 10/04/2023

Date Last Amended: 10/04/2023

The Student Council By-Laws were ratified August 28, 2023 by current sitting Co-Presidents, Alexa Rojas and Danny Jarabek. The by-laws were revised to clearly reflect the processes, responsibilities, and expectations of Weitzman Student Council members. The by-laws are to be adopted and/or amended by the succeeding Student Council.

Preamble – Goals of Student Council

Article I – Composition and Responsibilities of Student Council

Article II – Elections and Terms of Representatives

Article III – Resignation of Representatives

Article IV – Amendments to By-Laws

Article V – Administrative Records

Article VI – Ratification


Goals of Student Council

The primary goal of the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design Student Council (hereafter “StuCo”) is to realize the full potential of the diverse and interdisciplinary spirit of the School of Design. StuCo serves as a gateway for student groups and individuals to better connect with one another within the Weitzman School of Design and University of Pennsylvania, as well as across the Philadelphia design community at large. StuCo aims to help make the School of Design a healthy, international collective of artists, designers, planners, analysts, historians, and scholars in training who look beyond disciplinary labels, in an environment that stimulates students and faculty across the entire school community.

The organization shall be known as the Weitzman School of Design Student Council, referred to henceforth as “StuCo”. The core mission of StuCo is to actualize the rich potential inherent in the diverse and interdisciplinary spirit of the Weitzman School of Design.

Section 1.01, Structure of Student Council

I.          Executive Committee

a.         Two (2) Co-Presidents;

b.         One (1) Vice President of Finance;

c.         One (1) Vice President of Communications;

d.         One (1) Vice President of Student Life (Wellness);

e.         One (1) Vice President of Student Life (Social);

f.          One (1) Beaux Arts Chair; and

g.         One (1) Historian

II.         Department/Program Representatives

a.         One (1) Master of Architecture (ARCH) Representative

b.         One (1) Master of City Planning (CPLN) Representative

c.         One (1) Master of Fine Arts (FNAR) Representative

d.         One (1) Master of Landscape Architecture (LARP) Representative

e.         One (1) Master in Environmental Building Design (MEBD) Representative

f.          One (1) Master of Urban Spatial Analytics (MUSA) Representative

g.         One (1) Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MSD-AAD) Representative

h.         One (1) Master of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (MSD-RAS) Representative

III.        Graduate and Professional Student Association (hereafter “GAPSA”) Representatives

a.         Three (3) Professional Council (Graduate student) GAPSA Representatives

b.         One (1) Research Council (PhD student) GAPSA Representative

Section 1.02 Additional StuCo Positions

I.          These primary positions may be supplemented with additional positions depending on current school enrollment and StuCo needs. Additional positions include (but are not limited to):

a.         One (1) Vice President of Facilities

b.         One (1) Library Representative

c.         Five (5) FabLab Task Force Members (with one (1) representative from each department)

d.         Five (5) IT Representatives (with one (1) representative from each department)

Section 1.03 Clauses and Addendums

I.          Per Article I, Section 1.01, I. Executive Committee, b.-g., positions must function as one entity; however, consenting running mates may be nominated and elected as a pair. Student Council may approve more than two (2) individuals running for an Executive Committee position by a majority vote conducted by the sitting Executive Committee.

II.         Department/Program Representatives outlined in Section 1.01, II. must be actively enrolled in the department/program they will represent.

a.         Dual-enrollment students may choose one (1) preferred department/program to act as Department/Program Representative.

III.        Department/Program Representatives may increase from one (1) to two (2) where the number of Representatives must be dependent on student enrollment within respective departments, determined necessary by the Executive Committee.

IV.        All non-department/program representative positions can be elected from students of any year within any department in the Weitzman School of Design.

V.         Each position must be held by a distinct individual or set of individuals; no one person can hold more than one elected position on StuCo. This limit does not apply to voluntary roles within StuCo, for which individual representatives may volunteer as they arise.

Section 2.01 StuCo Roles and Responsibilities

I.          Co-Presidents: As acting Co-Presidents, individuals are responsible for providing vision, direction, and motivation to StuCo while fostering a sense of unity and purpose within the student body. Co-Presidents represent the Weitzman School of Design student body and advocate for their needs to the school administration, faculty, and external entities. Such responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a.         Organizing Meetings: Planning and leading regular Council meetings to discuss initiatives, gather feedback, and make decisions.

b.         Advocacy: Identifying and advocating for the needs and concerns of design students, ensuring their interests are considered in school policies and decisions.

c.         Initiative Coordination: Working alongside the Weitzman School of Design Dean, Director of Student Services, and associated administration to oversee various student-led initiatives, events, and projects that contribute to the School's culture and community.

d.         Election Coordination: Overseeing the election process at the end of the academic year, including organizing candidate nominations, campaign activities, voting procedures, and results announcements.

e.         Collaboration: Working closely with other Council members, student organizations, and school departments to facilitate cooperation and achieve common goals.

f.          Transition Planning: Facilitating a smooth transition of responsibilities to the incoming Council members, including sharing insights, providing resources, and ensuring continuity in the Council’s efforts.

g.         Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion: Promoting an inclusive and diverse environment within the School by supporting initiatives that promote different perspectives.

h.         Feedback Gathering: Regularly seeking input from students to gauge their concerns, ideas, and suggestions for improving the school experience.

II.         Vice President of Finance: As acting Vice President of Finance, the individual(s) manages the Weitzman School of Design Student Council’s finances and ensures that funds are used effectively to enhance the student experience by supporting various student group events. Such responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a.         Budget Management: Develop, manage, and monitor the Council's budget, ensuring that financial assets are allocated appropriately and responsibly.

b.         Funding Allocation: Review funding requests from student groups, evaluate their feasibility and alignment with the Council's goals, and allocate funds accordingly.

c.         GAPSA Funds:  Handle the receipt and management of financial awards from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA), ensuring compliance with any reporting or procedural requirements.

d.         Finance Office Communication: Maintain regular communication with the Weitzman Financial Administration Office including the Director of Finance and any Financial Administrative Coordinators through sharing and coordinating information about budget status, funding allocations, and financial needs.

e.         Financial Reporting: Maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records by providing regular reports to the Council and/or relevant stakeholders about budget status and expenditures.

f.          Event Funding: Review event proposals submitted by student groups, assess their financial needs, and provide financial support for events that contribute to the School's community and culture. For example, coordinate and oversee the financial aspects of the Beaux Arts Ball, including budgeting for the event, securing necessary funding, and tracking expenses related to the event.

g.         Transparency:  Ensure transparency in financial processes, maintaining clear communication with student groups regarding budget availability, funding decisions, and any financial guidelines.

h.         Financial Policy Development:  Contribute to the development and refinement of financial policies and guidelines within the Council, extending to student groups seeking funding, ensuring consistency and fairness across the entire scope of financial activity.

III.        Vice President of Communications: As acting Vice President of Communications, the individual(s) promotes StuCo events, maintaining transparent communication, and fostering engagement within the student community, while also coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure cohesive messaging from all public Student Council platforms. Such responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a.         Communication Strategy: Develop and execute a comprehensive communication strategy that effectively promotes StuCo events, activities, and news to members of the School of Design with a cohesive graphic style.

b.         Design and Promotion: Create visual posters, flyers and/or other promotional materials for StuCo events, ensuring consistency with branding guidelines, matching overarching aesthetic directions, and capturing the essence of each event.

i.          Content Creation: Generate engaging content for various communication channels, including social media posts, newsletters, blog posts, and more.

ii.         Email Campaigns: Coordinate and send out email campaigns about upcoming StuCo, School of Design, and University of Pennsylvania events, initiatives, and important announcements to the School of Design’s student body.

iii.        Event Promotion: Collaborate with event organizers to design and distribute promotional materials that effectively communicate event details, encourage participation, and reflect the event’s themes and goals.

c.         Digital Presence: Manage and maintain the Council’s social media accounts and website, keeping content current, engaging, and relevant to the student community.

d.         Media Relations: Serve as a point of contact for media inquiries related to StuCo events and activities, coordinating responses as needed.

e.         Collaboration with Dean’s Office: Work closely with the Dean’s Office Senior Director of Communications to ensure consistent and aligned messaging across school-wide and Council communications.

f.          GAPSA Coordination: Collaborate with the StuCo GAPSA representatives to stay informed about University-wide initiatives, share relevant information, and ensure cohesive communication efforts.

g.         Community Engagement: Foster engagement within the student community by promoting discussions, gathering feedback, and encouraging participation in StuCo activities.

h.         Feedback Gathering: Seek feedback from students to actively assess the effectiveness of communication efforts and make necessary adjustments.

i.          Partnership Building: Collaborate with student organizations, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders to create opportunities for cross-promotion and information sharing.

IV.        Vice President of Student Life (Wellness): As acting Vice President of Wellness, the individual(s) promotes a holistic approach to student well-being and fosters a supportive, healthy, and engaged community within the Weitzman School of Design. Such responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a.         Event Planning and Facilitation: Organize and oversee a variety of wellness-focused events, including, but not limited to, movie nights, sports tournaments (e.g. ping pong, badminton, basketball), workshops, seminars, yoga classes, and activities that promote wellness across all eight dimensions (physical, financial, occupational, mental, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, and social).

i.          Physical Health Initiatives: Coordinate events that encourage physical activity, such as fitness classes, sports tournaments, outdoor excursions, and activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.

ii.         Mental Health Awareness: Plan workshops, discussions, and activities that address mental health topics, stress management, self-care practices, and emotional well-being.

iii.        Wellness Workshops: Plan and execute awareness campaigns focusing on different aspects of wellness, such as stress reduction, mental health, physical fitness, and overall well-being. Collaborate with experts to host workshops on nutrition, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and other practices that contribute to overall wellness.

b.         Community Engagement: Foster a sense of community by creating opportunities for students to connect, socialize, and support one another in maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

c.         Calendar Coordination: Work closely with the Vice President of Student Life (Social) to align the wellness events calendar with the academic schedule, ensuring appropriate timing and avoiding conflicts. Partner with the Vice President of Student Life (Social) to host joint events that combine social engagement with wellness activities, enhancing the overall student experience.

d.         Resource Allocation: Manage the budget allocated for wellness events, ensuring responsible spending and maximizing the impact of funds on student health.

e.         Inclusivity and Accessibility: Ensure that wellness events are inclusive and accessible to all students, considering diverse needs and preferences.

f.          Feedback Gathering: Collect feedback from participants to assess the success of wellness events and gather insights for continuous improvement.

g.         Documentation: Maintain records of event planning, budgets, attendance, and feedback to inform future wellness initiatives.

V.         Vice President of Student Life (Social): As acting Vice President of Student Life (Social), the individual(s) enhances the social fabric of the school, creating memorable experiences, and fostering connections among students through diverse and engaging events.

a.         Event Planning and Execution: Plan, organize, and oversee a variety of social events and activities that contribute to a well-rounded student lifestyle, fostering a sense of community and engagement.

b.         Happy Hours Management: Coordinate Happy Hour events, ensuring the successful execution of an enjoyable space for students to socialize by handling event logistics, including venue reservation, catering, entertainment, and any necessary permits or permissions.

c.         Event Promotion: Design promotional materials and utilize effective marketing strategies to raise awareness and encourage participation in social events. Develop content for event promotions, social media, and other communication channels to keep students informed about upcoming activities.

d.         Collaborative Planning: Work closely with Council members, student groups, and other interested parties to gather input, incorporate diverse perspectives, and create events that resonate with the student body.

i.          Theme Development: Create engaging event themes and concepts that resonate with students and add excitement to the social calendar.

e.         Inclusivity and Accessibility: Ensure that social events are inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to all students, considering diverse backgrounds and preferences.

f.          Budget Management: Manage the budget allocated for social events, ensuring responsible spending and creative resource allocation.

g.         Feedback Gathering: Gather feedback from attendees to assess event success, identify areas for improvement, and shape future event planning.

h.         Collaboration with the Vice President of Student Life (Wellness): Collaborate with the Vice President of Student Life (Wellness) to plan joint events that integrate social engagement with wellness activities.

i.          Documentation:  Maintain records of event planning, budgets, attendance, and feedback to inform future social initiatives.

VI.        Historian: As acting Historian, the individual(s) documents and archives the events and procedures of the Council throughout the course of the year to ensure a comprehensive and accurate record of the Council’s activity. This record is essential for the effective transition from one standing Council to the next.

a.         Documentation of Events/Council Meetings: Attend and actively participate in Council meetings, events, and activities. Take detailed and organized notes during these events, capturing important discussions, decisions, and outcomes. Use various forms of documentation, including written notes, photographs, videos, and audio recordings, as appropriate to develop minutes that are archived for future reference.

b.         Record Keeping: Create a structured system for organizing and storing all the collected documentation. This could involve using digital folders, databases, or physical archives, depending on the council's preferences and resources. Ensure that records are well-labeled, organized, dated, and easily accessible to other Council members who might need to reference them in the future.

c.         Archiving Procedures: Develop a clear archiving strategy with each individual Council position that outlines how different types of documentation will be archived and for how long to best serve each position’s long-term transition. Determine which records should be kept for historical purposes and which can be eventually discarded. Regularly review and update the archiving procedures to adapt to changing circumstances and technologies.

d.         Communication: Collaborate with other Council members to ensure accurate representation of events and procedures. Communicate with the Council's Executive Committee and other members to gather missing information and clarify details.

e.         Visual Material Preservation: Collect and store visual materials such as photographs, videos, posters, and design samples related to events and projects. Organize these materials in a way that makes them easily retrievable for future reference.

f.          Promotion and Awareness: Utilize the historical documentation to promote the Council's activities and achievements to current and prospective members. Share highlights from past events and projects on social media or through other communication channels.

g.         Alumni Relations: Collaborate with the school's Alumni Association (PWAA) to maintain a connection with former Council members and the Weitzman School of Design alumni community at large. Share historical records with alumni who might be interested in the Council's evolution and accomplishments.

h.         Long-Term Planning: Assist in setting long-term goals and strategies for the Council based on insights gained from historical records. Identify patterns and trends in past events that can inform future decision-making.

i.          Responsibility and Accountability: Take the responsibility to accurately document events and procedures, as these records may serve as an important reference for years to come. Maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity in recording information to ensure the accuracy of the historical narrative.

VII.       GAPSA Representatives: As acting representatives, the individuals ensure that the concerns and perspectives of the Weitzman School of Design’s students are effectively communicated and considered within the broader University governance structure. Such responsibilities are included, but not limited to:

a.         Advocacy and Representation: Represent the interests, concerns, and needs of students within the School of Design to the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) and the broader University of Pennsylvania graduate student governing body.

b.         GAPSA Meetings: Attend GAPSA meetings, as per GAPSA bylaws attendance policy, to stay informed about University-wide initiatives, policies, and discussions, and to effectively communicate this information to the Council and School of Design students.

i.          Professionalism: Represent the School of Design and the Council in a professional and respectful manner during interactions with GAPSA and University representatives.

ii.         Per the GAPSA Constitution, more than three (3) unexcused absences will result in a revocation of the representative’s position and voting power.

c.         Liaison Role: Serve as a liaison between individual students within the School of Design and GAPSA, facilitating communication and ensuring that student voices are heard.

d.         Policy Advocacy: Advocate for policies, changes, or initiatives that are aligned with the needs and aspirations of School of Design students within the larger University context.

e.         Collaboration with Student Council: Collaborate closely with the Council members, particularly the Executive Committee, to ensure that the School of Design's representation and communication efforts are cohesive with GAPSA requirements.

f.          Reporting: Provide regular reports to the Council about key developments, decisions, and discussions taking place at GAPSA meetings.

g.         Advancement of Student Interests: Actively seek opportunities to contribute to the improvement of the graduate student experience within the School of Design through active engagement with GAPSA.

VIII.      Department/Program Representatives: As an acting Department or Program Representative, the individual(s) bridges the communication between students and the Council, ensuring that the needs and perspectives of students within their respective departments/programs are well-represented and addressed. Such responsibilities include but are not limited to:

a.         General Participation: Engage, attend, and support Council activity, such as regular meetings and sponsored events. Their presence and involvement shall engage these events with their respective departments/programs.

b.         Event Promotion: Promote and advocate for Council events within their departments/programs. This includes disseminating event information, encouraging participation, and soliciting feedback to enhance event experiences.

c.         Department/Program Representation: Advocate for students within their respective department or program to the Council by acting as their voice in Council communication and meetings.

d.         Announcements and Updates: Regularly record and communicate important announcements, events, and updates from the department/program to the Council.

e.         Department/Program Liaison: Schedule and hold regular meetings with Department Chairs/Program Directors to discuss student concerns, share updates from the Council, and facilitate communication between students and Department/Program leadership.

f.          Collaboration with the Council: Collaborate closely with Council members, sharing information about department/program-specific matters and participating in discussions relevant to the entire school. Communicate any unique challenges or needs faced by students within the department/program, seeking potential solutions or support. Gather feedback and concerns from fellow students within their department/program and present these to the Council for consideration and potential action.

g.         Department/Program-Specific Initiatives: Propose and implement department/program-specific initiatives, events, or projects that enhance the student experience within their scope of representation. Encourage active engagement among students within the department/program, fostering a sense of community and shared goals.

h.         Leadership Development: Provide leadership within the department/program by setting an example of proactive engagement and effective communication. Be a visible presence within the department, conveying an environment of approachability and availability for conversations and dialogue with fellow students.

i.          Collaboration with Department/Program Peers: Collaborate with other department/program representatives to share insights, challenges, and best practices for effective representation.

Article II. Elections and Terms of Representatives

Section 1.01 Administration of Elections

I.          StuCo elections are administered by the existing Council under the direct supervision and responsibility of the Co-Presidents.

Section 1.02 Spring Elections

I.          Spring elections are held for Executive Committee positions and for Department/Program Representatives for programs that are longer than one (1) year:

a.         Co-Presidents

b.         Vice President of Finance

c.         Vice President of Communications

d.         Vice President of Student Life (Wellness)

e.         Vice President of Student Life (Social)

f.          GAPSA Representative(s)

g.         ARCH Representative(s)

h.         CPLN Representative(s)

i.          FNAR Representative(s)

j.          LARP Representatives(s)

Section 1.03 Fall Elections

I.          Fall elections are held for department representatives from programs that are one (1) or one-and-a-half (1.5) years, and to fill any vacant positions from the Spring Elections:

a.         MUSA Representative(s)

b.         MEBD Representative(s)

c.         MSD-AAD Representative(s)

d.         MSD-RAS Representative(s)

e.         GAPSA Representatives

Section 2.01 Terms of Elections

I.          Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible to run for a Council position, candidates must be full-time registered students within the Weitzman School of Design while adhering to any behavioral or disciplinary requirements.

II.         Nominations: The election process begins with a nomination period during which interested students can declare their candidacy for specific positions on the Council with a platform statement.

III.        Candidate Statements: Candidates create and submit candidate statements. These statements typically include information about the candidate's background, qualifications, and the reasons they want to be elected to the student council. This information is used to help voters make informed decisions.

IV.        Campaigning: Once candidates are officially nominated, they may engage in campaigning to promote their candidacies. Campaign activities can include making posters, distributing flyers, and reaching out to potential voters to share their platforms and ideas.

V.         Voting: The student body democratically votes for their preferred candidates on a designated election period prescribed by Council Co-Presidents. The voting process will take place via an online digital voting system.

VI.        Plurality Determination: The candidates with the highest number of votes (plurality) win, even if they don't have an absolute majority.

VII.       Runoff Elections: If no candidate achieves a plurality victory (a tie) in the initial election, a runoff election may be held between the top candidates to determine the winner.

VIII.      Announcement of Results: After the votes have been counted, the results are to be announced to the student body. The winners are then officially elected as representatives to the Council.

IX.        Term Length: Council representatives serve for one academic year unless otherwise specified for specific position term lengths less than one academic year.

X.         Council Member Transition: Newly elected representatives shall meet with incumbent representatives as soon as possible following the announcement of election results to ensure a smooth transition.

XI.        Responsibilities: Once elected, Council representatives are to abide by their responsibilities outlined in Article I, Section 2.01.

Article III. Resignation of Representatives

Section 3.01 Resignation

I.          If a representative must resign, that resignation shall be presented to the members of the Council via formal letter.

II.         Resignation procedures must be archived by the Historian.

Section 3.02 Filling Vacancies

I.          Vacancies on the Council may be filled by special election if deemed necessary by the Co-Presidents, with the support of the majority of Council members.

Article IV. Amendments to By-Laws

Section 4.01 Proposing Amendments

I.          Any member of the Council may propose an amendment to these by-laws at any time.

II.         Proposed amendments shall be reviewed by all members of the Council before the next scheduled meeting where a quorum must be met.

a.         Quorum requires a majority of sitting Council members to be in attendance at a meeting in order for an amendment to be reviewed and voted upon.

Section 4.02 Ratifying Amendments

I.          Amendments may be ratified by a majority vote of Council members.

II.         A tie constitutes amendment failure.

Article V. Administrative Records

Section 5.01 Institutional Memory

I.          Each year’s Council shall maintain records of its organizational structure, meetings, activities, and achievements such that they are easily transferred to the next year’s Council and to all members of the School of Design community and administration, if necessary.

Section 5.02 Availability of By-Laws

I.          These by-laws shall be made available on the Student Council section of the Weitzman School of Design website in a manner easily accessible by all members of the Weitzman School of Design community and the University of Pennsylvania community at large.

Article VI. Ratification

Section 6.01 Annual Requirements

I.This document shall be ratified at the beginning of each school term by that term’s elected Council members and at any time an amendment is proposed and/or implemented.

Section 6.02 Ratifying Amendments

I.          Amendments to these by-laws shall be ratified according to the procedures established in Article IV Section 4.02 of these by-laws.