The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a nationally recognized professional, educational, non-profit, and service organization dedicated to promoting interest in and encouraging women to pursue the fields of science and engineering.


The Northwestern University SWE Bylaws describe how our Chapter is organized and run. These bylaws were last updated on February 20th, 2007.

Article I - Name

Section 1 - Name

The name of this organization is the SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEERS hereinafter referred to as SWE or "the Society".

Article II - Objectives

Section 1 - Purpose

SWE is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to informing, inspiring, and motivating young women with an interest in math and science to pursue academic and professional opportunities in engineering. Our main objectives are:

  • To foster a supportive community among women engineers at Northwestern University
  • To inform students of academic and professional opportunities
  • To establish relationships with professors, alumni, and professionals
  • To encourage women engineers to attain high levels of educational and professional achievement
  • To cultivate enthusiasm in science and engineering among K-12 students

  • Section 2 – Powers

    The members of the Society of Women Engineers, either individually or collectively, are empowered to implement the objectives of the national Organization in consonance with the dignity of the engineering professions and the reputation of the Organization.

    The Organization may approve or adopt any report, standard, code, or formula pertinent to its objectives, but no substantial part of the Organizations' activities shall involve carrying on propaganda.

    The Organization will not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

    Section 3 - Parliamentary Authority

    In all situations not covered by the by-laws or rules of the Organization, Robert's Rules of Order, Revised is the parliamentary authority.

    Article III - Membership

    Section 1 - Membership Qualifications

    Any person who meets one of the following requirements is eligible for the grade of Student member if such a person is not employed full-time in an engineering position or a field related to engineering and:

  • Is pursuing an undergraduate course of study towards an associate or a baccalaureate degree in engineering, engineering technology, or a field related to engineering in a recognized college.
  • Is pursuing a full-time graduate course of study in engineering or a field related to engineering at Northwestern University.

  • Section 2 - Honorary Members Any member who receives a degree from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University shall be considered an honorary member of the SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEERS.

    An honorary member shall retain all Organization privileges except the right to vote and to hold office. In addition, an honorary member shall not pay dues.

    Section 3 - Dues Each national member is required to pay dues in the amount set by the SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEER'S National Headquarters.

    Article IV - Officers

    Section 1 - List

    The officers of the Organization are:

  • President
  • Internal Vice President
  • External Vice President
  • Program Director
  • Program Chair
  • Outreach Director
  • Treasurer
  • Freshman Coordinator
  • Fundraising Chair
  • Social Chair
  • Publicity Chair
  • Technological Director
  • Secretary
  • Alumni Relations Director
  • Summer Programming Chair

  • Section 2 - Eligibility

    Only a member who has served on the SWE executive board may run for the office of the President.
    The position of Program Director may only be filled by the current Program Chair.
    For all other positions, any SWE member is eligible to hold office.

    Section 3 - Term of the Office

    The term of the office is one year, beginning spring quarter and ending winter quarter.

    Section 4 - Duties

    The office and its duties follow:

  • To represent the Society before the public
  • To preside at all meetings (executive and general)
  • To review the budget and authorize the signing of checks for the Society
  • To prepare agendas for all exec and general meetings
  • To serve as a liaison with other McCormick student organizations and McCormick administration
  • To oversee the SWE listserv (exec and general) with the Tech Director
  • To maintain the by-laws
  • To generally oversee everything
  • To conduct membership drives
  • To maintain a list of all paid and active SWE national members
  • To succeed to the office of President if there is a vacancy in that office
  • To assume the duties of the President if the President is temporarily absent or unable to serve
  • To arrange transportation and information packets for the National and Regional SWE Conferences
  • To complete the appropriate annual award and reports for the section
  • To organize roundtable events (invite companies and alumni to attend)
  • To organize future plans panel (government, academia, industry, consulting, law, medicine)
  • To organize professional development events (networking)
  • To encourage partnerships with other McCormick student groups
  • To organize Industry Day
  • To organize Spring Banquet at the beginning of Program Director term (having already served one year as Program Chair)
  • To serve as liaison with the companies for Industry Day - considered SWE point of contact
  • Program Director is the 2nd year of the Program Chair’s 2-term position
  • To serve as a mentee under the Program Director
  • To assist the Program Director in organizing SWE events such as Industry Day and Spring Banquet
  • The Program Chair will become the Program Director for the next term; thereby serving on the SWE executive board for 2 years
  • To execute outreach activities including projects with area schools and other organizations
  • To organize Career Day for Girls with the coordination of the CDFG Planning Committee
  • In order to be eligible for this position, one must serve on an Outreach Committee prior to elections
  • To put together and send out a letter, Mentor request form and Tips before summer vacation.
  • To arrange the Mentor/Mentee program
  • To organize the New Student Week Brunch
  • To plan and coordinate activities for incoming freshmen, specifically the Mentor-Mentee program
  • To revise the applications for Freshman Scholarships and award them
  • To serves as an outlet for incoming freshmen who need advice about social issues or classes
  • To be responsible for the collection, safekeeping, and distribution of the Society's funds
  • To sign, either manually or by facsimile, the checks for the Society
  • To keep all financial records
  • To write checks, re-imbursements
  • To prepare financial reports for National SWE
  • To create the annual sponsorship packet requesting sponsorship from companies
  • To be the point of contact for all SWE fundraising activity
  • To lead the sales of t-shirts and other SWE paraphernalia to generate profit (at general meetings, programming, activities fairs etc)
  • To order and make accommodations for the food served in SWE General and Executive meetings
  • To plan social activities and related programming including informal Einstein lunches and movie nights
  • To work with the freshman coordinate and care out activities for the Mentor-Mentee program
  • To create and distribute advertising media for all SWE related events
  • To update and maintain the Bulletin Board, and any other media representing SWE on campus
  • *Tentative* Update the events for SWE on the MSAB bi-weekly newsletter
  • To arrange banner painting parties for SWE Industry Day , Career Day for Girls, Spring Banquet and any other events requiring a banner
  • Reserve Banner Space for by the Arch and the outside of Tech for the weeks before and of the event
  • To be in charge of SWE’s Facebook group, including messaging members about events.
  • To record, prepare, correct as directed, sign and distribute the minutes of meetings
  • To publish and mail the quarterly newsletter
  • To submit articles to regional and national newsletters
  • Provide thank you correspondence to speakers, guests, and involved alumni
  • To manage the SWE exec and general listservs under the discretion of the President.
  • To add current events/announcements to the SWE webpage
  • To create separate webpages that provide information for Industry Day and Career Day
  • To maintain the SWE computer
  • To take pictures with digital camera and upload them to the website
  • To create an accurate database of NU SWE alumni, which will serve as a resource for quest speakers and panelists in future programming
  • Organize opportunities for day-long externship visits with alum
  • Maintain communication with NU SWE alumni
  • Work with external and internal vice presidents on programming to involve alumni
  • To reach out to the Chicago SWE section, the McCormick administration and any other professionals who would be willing to provide resources for Summer programming.
  • To research the planning process other colleges and universities go through to pull off Summer outreach events.
  • To gauge interest within and without NU’s SWE section for volunteering time for SWE Summer programs.
  • To ultimately outline planning process for the first NU SWE Summer program 2008
  • *The position description for Summer Programming Chair should be updated within one year’s time*

  • Section 4 - Vacancy of the Office

    A vacancy in the office of President is filled by the Vice-President.
    A vacancy in the office of another officer is filled by an election.

    Section 5 - Inability to meet all of duties

    If for some reason an officer becomes incapable to serve out some of the responsibilities, it is this officer's responsibility to find a comparable replacement in a timely manner. This replacement must be approved in some form by the current executive board either through informal elections or group discussion.

    Furthermore, if a candidate will be away from campus during any significant part of their term, they may only be elected if they choose to run for office as a co-chair and the second candidate is able to fill the position during the period when the first candidate will be absent. If both candidates are present during one or more quarters of their co-chair term, they must decide between the following two options:

  • Both candidates attend all executive board meetings and are equally involved in executive board duties.
  • One candidate attends all executive board meetings and the second candidate has lesser responsibilities.

  • Section 6 – Impeachment

    An officer may proceed in impeaching another officer on the board by taking the following measures.

  • Approach the President stating intent to draft a letter of impeachment against another officer (if President is the one to be impeached, approach Internal Vice President with this intention).
  • If the President (or Internal Vice President) has not done so previously, they must meet with the individual to be impeached regarding the concerns that brought on the impeachment. The President (or Internal Vice President) may choose to have this meeting conducted by or with the section’s SWE Counselor.

  • After 2 weeks time, if no progress has been made through the aforementioned meeting the following steps must be taken:

  • An officer must draft a letter stating concrete reasons for the impeachment of another officer.
  • This letter must be agreed upon (via signatures) by at least 2/3 of the executive board.
  • This letter must be given to the President (or Internal Vice President) and then the President (or Internal Vice President) will give the letter, sans signatures, to the officer who is being impeached.

  • Following this impeachment process, elections will be held to fill the vacant position. The impeached officer cannot be a candidate in these elections.

    If there is a conflict with approaching the President or Internal Vice President with impeachment concerns, one may approach the SWE section counselor. The President, Internal Vice President and SWE section counselor are the only three people who may execute the final impeachment (Step 3).

    Article V - Elections

    Section 1 - Voting

    The voting members of the Organization shall by a plurality vote at a scheduled meeting elect the officers and shall determine all issues brought forth before the Organization.

    Section 2 - Election Format

  • Elections shall be held during the winter quarter each year. The newly elected officers shall assume their positions at the beginning of the spring quarter.
  • All voters must be SWE national members.
  • Only voting members may run for office.
  • Members shall nominate candidates for each office.
  • Candidates must talk to the current officer prior to Election Day.
  • Candidates must turn a one page description of their qualifications and reason for running prior to Election Day.
  • Nominations for each office shall then be voted upon by the membership present at the meeting, to include a 2 minute speech by candidates, the President being elected first. This procedure holds for all other existing offices.
  • After speeches are given for each position, candidates will be asked to step out of the room while voting members discuss the advantages of each candidate (1 person is allowed to give an advantage speech – 1 minute).
  • Notice of the election shall be given to all members at least two weeks prior election day.
  • If a candidate does not win for the position they are running for, they are given the option to “roll-down” and run for any subsequent elected position.
  • Article VI - Charters

    Section 1 - the Charter

    Any group of at least ten Student Members may petition the Board of Directors for Student Section charter, provided:

  • At least fifty percent of the members of the Student Section are women majoring in engineering or in engineering technology.
  • At least eight of the members expect to be eligible for membership in that Student Section for the fiscal year following granting of the charter.
  • The Student Section will operate under the guidance of a SWE Counselor.

  • The Northwestern Chapter gained its charter in 1976.

    Section 2 - Losing the Charter

    The Council may revoke the charter of any Student Section for cause, after giving the Student Section an adequate opportunity to be heard before the Council or the Board of Directors by a unanimous vote of the ballots cast by the Council members.

    The Council may disband any Student Section at the Student Section's request by a majority vote of the Council members.

    The Board of Directors may rule a Student Section inactive and therefore ineligible to participate in any campus activities in the name of the Society or to receive any dues rebates if the Student Section fails, for two consecutive years, to maintain:

  • At least ten Student Members.
  • Membership consisting of at least fifty percent women majoring in engineering or engineering technology.
  • Operation under the guidance of a SWE Counselor

  • A Student Section ruled inactive may be reinstated to the active list by the Board of Directors upon receipt of letter requesting reinstatement, signed by the entire membership of the Student Section and approved by the Faculty Advisor and the SWE Counselor, certifying compliance with National By-laws.

    A Student Section which has had its charter revoked may not be re-chartered within four years after revocation.

    Article VII - SWE Advisor and Counselor

    Section 1 - SWE Advisor

    Section 2 - SWE Counselor

  • The SWE Counselor of a Student Section is elected by the Student Section.
  • The Counselor is responsible to the Board of Directors, through the Student Activities Committee Chair, for the Student Section's compliance with these bylaws and with the policies of the Society.
  • The SWE Counselor must be a member in good standing of the Society.
  • Article VIII - Amendments

    This constitution may be amended by a majority vote, provided the amendment was proposed at least one meeting prior to the time of voting.