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Article I: Name

The name of this organization will be Upsilon Sigma – The Urban Studies Honor Society, hereafter referred to as the Society.

Article II: Mission and Scope

The Urban Affairs Association created its honor society to recognize the academic achievements of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in urban studies and related fields.

Urban Studies is a broad umbrella term for academic programs and research that focus on the social, political, economic, spatial, physical, historical, cultural, and environmental dynamics of urban contexts. Elements of urban studies can be found in several different disciplines as well as within explicitly interdisciplinary fields such as urban affairs and urban planning. Given the varied academic homes for urban studies, eligibility for participation in the Society will be judged on the basis of individual program attributes.

Article III: Organizational Structure

SECTION 1: Chapters.  The Society will consist of university/college based chapters that have been approved and given a charter by the UAA Governing Board. An Ad Hoc Committee on the UAA Honor Society (hereafter referred to as Ad Hoc Committee) will review chapter applications and make formal recommendations to the Governing Board.  Any university/college that applies for a charter must be fully accredited by its regional accrediting agency. Each chapter will have a self-designated faculty advisor who acts as a local coordinator and serves as the point of contact with UAA and prospective members.

SECTION 2: Types of Chapters.  In recognition of the broad array of institutional and programmatic attributes, different types of chapters may be established.

  1. Campus-based Student Organization (CSO)—recognized by institution. Chapters of this type are formed when an academic unit receives a charter and establishes a student organization made up of inductees, that is officially recognized by its institution. The faculty advisor identifies and nominates eligible students for induction, and serves as a mentor to the student organization.
  2. Academic Program-based Chapter (APC). An academic unit may apply and receive a charter that allows it to identify qualified students for induction without creating a formal student organization (i.e., a campus organization recognized by the institution). The faculty advisor identifies and nominates eligible students for induction.
  3. Joint Chapters.  Academic programs at two or more institutions may submit an application to establish a joint chapter. Each university/college involved must be an accredited institution and identify a faculty advisor.
  4. International Chapters. An application to establish a chapter at an international institution (outside of the United States) will be reviewed by the Ad Hoc Committee, and voted on by the UAA Governing Board.

SECTION 3: Membership.  Members of each chapter will be students who meet eligibility requirements established by the chapter.  These requirements must be included in the chapter application and approved by UAA. UAA will establish minimum requirements for eligibility that must be enforced by all chapters. Failure to enforce minimum eligibility standards will be grounds for revocation of a charter.

SECTION 4: Non-discrimination. Members of each chapter will be qualified students without regard to age, color, gender, disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, and/or sexual orientation.

Article IV: Benefits

SECTION 1: Benefits to academic programs. Academic programs that are granted a charter to establish a chapter of the Society will be free to advertise this unique opportunity to prospective and current students.  As an official chapter, the academic program will have access to special services provided by UAA. These services shall include complimentary institutional membership in UAA, and national/international exposure of the program’s chapter activities through the UAA website and social media outlets. Additional benefits may be determined by the UAA Governing Board on an annual basis.

SECTION 2: Benefits to Honor Society Inductees.  Students who are inducted into local Society chapters shall be granted the right to identify themselves as Society members.  This distinction will add a unique element to a student’s record and give clear indication of significant academic achievements.  Each inductee will receive an official certificate of membership.  Society members will be eligible for special discounts to become UAA members and to attend annual UAA conferences. Additional benefits may be provided by local chapters of the Society.

Article V: Governance

SECTION 1: UAA Governing Board. UAA Governing Board will establish, review, and modify (as needed) all policies related to the Honor Society.

SECTION 2: Ad Hoc Committee on the UAA Honor Society. A special 5-person UAA Ad Hoc Committee on the Honor Society will be established by the Governing Board Chair.  At least one member of this committee will be a Board member. The Ad Hoc Committee will be responsible for:

  1. Reviewing chapter applications;
  2. Reviewing annual chapter reports;
  3. Making an annual report to the UAA Governing Board; and,
  4. Making policy recommendations to the UAA Governing Board.

SECTION 3: Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS).  As the umbrella organization for honor societies, ACHS establishes guidelines and policies that allow honor societies to be officially certified by meeting certain standards.  To become an associate nonvoting member of ACHS, an honor society must apply after it has operated for five (5) years and has chapters in at least two regions of the U.S.  After ten (10) years of operations, an honor society may apply for active voting membership.  The Society will seek membership in ACHS after five years of operations and will endeavor to become a full voting member after ten years of existence.

Article VI: Administrative Structure

SECTION 1: UAA Executive Office. The overall coordination of the UAA Honor Society will be managed by the Executive Office. Specifically, the Executive office will:

  1. Establish and maintain communications and serve as a resource for prospective and continuing chapters;
  2. Maintain a centralized list of approved chapters and their inductees;
  3. Receive all annual chapter dues and induction fees submitted by the Faculty Advisor;
  4. Provide charter certificates to approved chapters;
  5. Provide certificates of induction to approved student members; and,
  6. Provide an annual report on Honor Society finances and induction trends to the UAA Board.

SECTION 2: Chapter Advisor. Each chapter will designate a faculty member who will serve as the point of contact with UAA.  The Chapter Advisor will:

  1. Field questions from prospective local student members;
  2. Coordinate local chapter activities;
  3. Submit name, contact information, and evidence of eligibility for each inductee;
  4. Collect inductee fees and submit to UAA;
  5. Submit payment of annual chapter dues; and
  6. Prepare and submit an annual report to the Ad Hoc Committee.

Article VII: Finance

In order to maintain a high level of UAA service to Society chapters and inductees, annual dues and fees will be collected.

SECTION 1: Chapter Dues. Each approved chapter will pay annual UAA Institutional Membership dues to maintain its operational charter.  The level of institutional membership dues will be established by the UAA Governing Board.  Chapter dues will cover a calendar year with renewal required by January 15 of each new year.

SECTION 2: Induction Fees. Each student who is approved by a chapter for induction into the Honor Society will pay a one-time induction fee.  The UAA Governing Board will establish the fee level. This fee covers the cost of an official certificate of induction and associated distribution costs. Academic programs that host Society chapters may subsidize student inductees by paying induction fees on behalf of accepted students.

SECTION 3: Other fees.  Individual chapters may choose to impose fees on inducted members to cover the cost of local activities.  Such fees must be identified in the chapter application and annual report.


SECTION 1: Legal Responsibilities of National Office of Upsilon Sigma

  1. The national office of the Society will not establish policies or seek to enforce practices that compel individual chapters to violate federal and state laws, or local ordinances, as a condition of membership.
  2. The national office will be solely responsible for the financial management of the Society.
  3. The national office will conduct its activities in a manner that is non-discriminatory based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, and ability

SECTION 2. Legal Responsibilities of Individual Chapters

  1. A chapter is an academic unit(s) that has met all of the requirements for establishment and has been granted a charter in accordance with the bylaws of the Society.
  2. A chapter is an independent, autonomous affiliate of the Society, the Urban Studies Honor Society. Each chapter shall function under bylaws, policies, and procedures which are not in conflict with those of the Society. Simultaneously, chapters are affiliated with, hosted, and supported by their academic institution, and must operate within the institution’s policies established for campus-based organizations.
  3. The Society provides bylaws and guidelines for developing chapters to meet minimum requirements.  In addition to the minimum expectations, chapters are expected to:
    1. Conduct their activities in a manner that is non-discriminatory based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, nationality, and ability;
    2. Abide by their institution’s policies and approved practices; and,
    3. Establish policies and procedures that are transparent, made public, and protect the due process rights of student members.
  4. The Society is not legally responsible for the actions or consequences of actions committed by individual chapters, faculty advisors, advisory councils, and/or student members. Each chapter of the Society assumes full financial responsibility for any expenses and/or debt obligations incurred in the operation of its activities.
  5. The Society will engage in due diligence to enforce rules and policies that govern chapters as outlined in the Society’s National Constitution.


SECTION 1: This Constitution may be amended by a majority vote of the UAA Governing Board.

SECTION 2: Any proposal for amending this constitution will be submitted to each chapter (which is in good standing) for review at least 90 days prior to Board voting to allow for comments from Society members and representatives.