Bylaws , CONSTITUTION, & Handbook
The constitution was approved by the organization's officers on December 10, 2018, and was given final approval at the January 9, 2019 meeting of the National Executive Board of Directors.
Article II, Section 3 was corrected on February 15, 2019, due to an error discovered in the online version. Inductee fees are paid once and are for a lifetime; chapters pay annual dues.
Article V, Section 3 was officially added on June 5, 2019, after approval by the national executive board in April 2019.
Article II, Section 1 and Article V, Section 1 were modified to reflect the inclusion of chapters at institutions offering associate's degree, after approval by the national executive board in April 2020.
Article IV, Section 6 was added on March 12, 2021, at the request of local chapters.
Article V, Section 3 has been revised to indicate that graduate students may be enrolled as part-time students and be eligible for initiation, but the GPA requirement has been raised to 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale).
Article V, Section 2 has been revised to indicate that honorary members are not required to have been a first-generation student.
Article V, Section 1, 2, and 3 were revised on February 18, 2021, to allow for different definitions of first-generation students, based on the constituencies served by member institutions.
Alpha Alpha Alpha is a welcoming community that embraces and values the diversity of all members on our member campuses. We accept the uniqueness of all individuals, and we cultivate an environment that respects, affirms, and defends the dignity of each member of our community.
Alpha Alpha Alpha does not discriminate against any person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, pregnancy, familial status, marital status, citizenship status, veteran/military status, disability status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law.
Inquiries concerning this policy may be directed to Carol Traupman-Carr, President, Alpha Alpha Alpha, c/o Moravian University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018 (610.861.1348).
Inquiries concerning the application of these laws may also be directed to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323, Phone: 215-656-8541, Fax: 215-656-8605, Email: OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov.
Approved 9/10/19; updated 8/18/20
Alpha Alpha Alpha does not share member or advisor contact information with any outside organizations or vendors.
Alpha Alpha Alpha Honor Society
All policies and procedures for Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha) chapters are based on the provisions of the National Constitution. Chapter advisor(s)s are asked to review this document carefully. Copies can be provided to chapter officers and all chapter members as a reference to the national guidelines that govern all chapters of Tri-Alpha. (Always consult www.1stgenhonors.org for the most recent edition of the National Constitution.)
ARTICLE I: NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be Alpha Alpha Alpha, colloquially referred to as Tri-Alpha.
Section 2. The purpose of this organization shall be to recognize academic achievements in first-generation college students, create enthusiasm for scholarship, to promote leadership, and to provide support networks for first-generation students within and across college chapters.
Section 3. Alpha Alpha Alpha is a not-for-profit corporation.
ARTICLE II: LOCAL CHAPTERS
Section 1. Any regionally or nationally accredited institution of higher education which offers an associate's degree or baccalaureate degree is eligible to establish a new chapter.
Section 2. Each institution with a chapter shall pay an annual affiliation fee approved by the National Executive Board of Directors.
Section 3. The one-time (lifetime) individual member dues for students paid to the National Executive Office shall be not less than $10. The one-time (lifetime) individual member dues for faculty/staff/alumni/honorary members paid to the National Executive Office shall be not less than $20. The exact amounts shall be determined by the executive committee of the chapter and shall be announced to chapter advisors at least three (3) months in advance of any changes in fee structure.
Section 4. Duly chartered local chapters shall conform to this Constitution as set forth by the National Executive Board of Directors. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the charter.
ARTICLE III: THE CHAPTER advisor(s)
Section 1. The chapter advisor(s)(s) shall be responsible for the direct, day-to-day supervision of the chapter and act as liaison between faculty, administration, students, and community.
Section 2. The chapter advisor(s) shall maintain files on membership, chapter history, activities, and financial transactions.The chapter advisor(s) shall complete the annual survey and submit it to the national office.
Section 3. The chapter advisor(s) shall regularly review each member for compliance with honor society's standards and obligations.
Section 4. The chapter advisor(s) shall help the chapter officers understand and carry out their duties.
Section 5. The chapter advisor(s) shall be a member of the faculty and/or staff, appointed annually by the provost (or other college/university administrator, in accordance with the normal practices of the institution). There is no term limit for the advisor(s). Ideally, the chapter will have two advisors, one from the faculty and one from the administration, though the local chapter may proceed with a single advisor. Again, ideally, at least one of the advisors was a first-generation college student.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership in the local chapter is an honor bestowed upon a student. Selection for membership is verified by the advisor(s) and officers.
Section 2. Membership shall be known as active, honorary, and alumni. Active members shall become alumni members at graduation. Alumni members shall have no voice or vote in chapter affairs.
Section 3. Officers, advisors, and active faculty/staff inductees shall support the institution in creating and sustaining an environment in which each student is known, accepted and valued, trusted and respected, cared for and encouraged to be an active and responsible member of the school community. They shall also help to create a network of support for first-generation students, whether or not those students are eligible for induction.
Section 4. Candidates become members when inducted at a special ceremony.
Section 5. A Tri-Alpha member who transfers to another school and brings a letter from the chapter advisor(s) to the new school advisor(s) shall be accepted automatically as a member in the new school’s chapter.
Section 6. Members who resign or are dismissed are never again eligible for membership or its benefits.
Section 7. Any inductee of Alpha Alpha Alpha who is discovered to have lied about their first-generation student status will have their membership permanently revoked. Said persons are instructed to return their pin and certificate of induction to their chapter office. Membership fees are forfeited and will not be returned under such circumstances.
ARTICLE V: SELECTION OF MEMBERS
Section 1. Eligible students must be enrolled as full-time degree candidates in a program leading to an associate's degree or baccalaureate degree; must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale); and must have completed the equivalent of two full-time terms of study [normally, a minimum of at least 30 credit hours (=12 courses)] towards an associate's degree or bachelor’s degree. Typically, a person is eligible if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor's degree prior to the student. However, we recognize that due to the students they serve, individual institutions may have a definition which varies from this. Institutions are permitted to use their existing institutional definition of first-generation student, so long as they inform the national board as to the definition being used; this requirement (notifying the national board) also applies should the institution change its definition after a chapter has been granted. Note that Article V, Section 1 was revised on September 22, 2020, lowering the minimum credits required for induction from 36 to 30 and the number of terms of study from three to two. Note that Article V, Section 1 was further revised on February 18, 2021, regarding the definition of a first-generation student.
Section 2. For faculty/staff and alumni inductees, the candidate must have completed a baccalaureate degree with neither parents, step-parents, nor guardians having completed a bachelor’s degree or, in situations where those relatives did complete the baccalaureate degree, the inductee must have completed said degree prior to completion of a baccalaureate degree by parents, step-parents or guardians. As with student inductees, typically, a person is eligible if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor's degree prior to the student. However, we recognize that due to the students they serve, individual institutions may have a definition which varies from this. Institutions are permitted to use their existing institutional definition of first-generation student, so long as they inform the national board as to the definition being used; this requirement (notifying the national board) also applies should the institution change its definition after a chapter has been granted. Such inductees must be working at or connected to the institution housing the chapter (through employment, volunteering, serving as a donor or trustee, or having a sibling at the institution). Non-student inductees must be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation college students, if requested. For honorary inductees, the candidate may have been a first-generation student or be an advocate, supporter, or mentor for first-generation college students, so long as they are clearly connected to the institution housing the chapter, through activities such as (but not limited to) volunteering, donating, mentoring, or serving as a trustee. Note that Article V, Section 2 was revised on February 18, 2021, regarding the definition of a first-generation student.
Section 3. For institutions with graduate programs, graduate students who are identified as first-generation may be inducted as student members upon completion of the equivalent of one full-time term of study (minimum 9 credit hours), if they have achieved an overall GPA in their graduate program of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). Graduate students may be enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis. Typically, a graduate student is eligible if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor's degree prior to the student. However, we recognize that due to the students they serve, individual institutions may have a definition which varies from this. Institutions are permitted to use their existing institutional definition of first-generation student, so long as they inform the national board as to the definition being used; this requirement (notifying the national board) also applies should the institution change its definition after a chapter has been granted. Note that Article V, Section 3 was revised on February 18, 2021, regarding the definition of a first-generation student.
ARTICLE VI: CHAPTER OFFICERS
Section 1. The officers of the chapter, their duties, and the method of their election shall be determined by the members of the chapter, approved by the Faculty Council and the principal, and described in the chapter bylaws.
Section 2. The officers of each chapter shall normally be the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and historian. Each chapter has the authority to create additional officer positions as they see fit to ensure the attainment of their chapter goals.
Section 3. Duties and responsibilities of the officers are listed in the chapter advisor’s handbook. If the chapter elects or appoints additional officers, it is the chapter’s responsibility to write the duties of that/those position(s).
Section 4. New officers shall be announced and installed at the spring induction ceremony, with their service to begin the summer prior to the next academic year. Officers shall not be elected if they are unable to serve through the entire subsequent academic year after being elected or appointed to office.
Section 5. The officers and advisor(s) shall have the authority to develop bylaws for their chapter. Such bylaws may not contradict the national bylaws nor any section of this constitution. Chapter bylaws are not required. If bylaws are created by the chapter, they must be submitted to the national office.
ARTICLE VII: MEETINGS
Section 1. Each chapter shall have regular meetings during the school year on days designated by the officers and in accordance with school policy and regulations.
Section 2. The regularity of the meetings (i.e., weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) shall be designated in the chapter bylaws. If the chapter does not set any bylaws, then the officers and advisors shall have at least one meeting per semester in order to plan for the induction ceremony and to plan any activities for the year.
Section 3. The chapter president or other designated student leader may call special meetings approved by the executive committee.
Section 4. Chapters shall conduct meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order,
ARTICLE VIII: ACTIVITIES
Section 1. Each chapter shall determine one or more induction ceremonies per year, at which at least 10 members shall be inducted.
Section 2. Each chapter shall consider service opportunities for its community and members, with a particular focus on supporting first-generation students. The size, scope, and quantity of such opportunities will be at the discretion of the officers and advisor(s).
Section 3. All members shall regularly participate in these projects, if they occur.
Section 4. Individual members may choose to create an individual service project that reflects his/her/their particular talents and interests. This is in addition to the chapter projects to which all members contribute.
Section 5. Each chapter shall publicize its projects in a positive manner, and include summaries of these events in the annual report to the National Executive Committee.
ARTICLE IX: OFFICIAL INSIGNIA
Section 1. This organization shall have an official emblem (a pin). The emblem shall be uniform and its distribution and rules for its use shall be determined by the National Executive Board of Directors.
Section 2. Each active, honorary, or alumni member in good standing with the chapter shall be entitled to wear this emblem
Section 3. All insignia must be procured from the national office of the National Office of Alpha Alpha Alpha, 1200 Main Street, Bethlehem PA 18018. The official emblem/logo is to be used on letters of invitation and induction ceremony programs without alteration.
Section 4. The official colors of Alpha Alpha Alpha shall be blue and grey.
Section 5. An alumni member may purchase a replacement for a lost emblem (pin) by verifying membership to the national office.
ARTICLE X: CHAPTER BYLAWS
Section 1. Each chapter is permitted to write bylaws to amplify sections of this Constitution and to clarify operating procedures of the chapter. Bylaws do not need the approval of Alpha Alpha Alpha but must be consistent with this Constitution. Chapters which write their own bylaws must forward a copy to the National Executive Board of Directors within three (3) months of adoption of said bylaws. Amendments or updates to chapter bylaws must also be forwarded to the National Executive Board of Directors within three (3) months of adoption.
Section 2. The chapter bylaws shall contain information concerning the election and duties of officers, the schedule of meetings, member obligations, dues, and the like.
ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended by the National Executive Board of Directors based on the recommendations of the chapters, national officers or the officers of the corporation.