Should student members be able to vote in ASCE elections?

ASCE members will answer the question in May, with a constitutional amendment that would grant student members voting rights on the 2021 Society election ballot.

The ASCE Board of Direction approved a second reading of the constitutional amendment last October, as prepared by the Governing Documents Committee, sending it to the 2021 election ballot.

“Our students are the future of the profession and the organization,” said ASCE 2020 President K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, at the time.

The amended constitutional language reads:

“Membership in the Society is available worldwide to civil engineers, civil engineering students, and other persons similarly qualified in another branch of engineering or in an allied profession. The voting membership grades of the Society shall be Student Member, Affiliate Member, Associate Member, Member, Fellow, Distinguished Member, and President Emeritus. The rights, privileges, responsibilities and qualifications of membership shall be set forth in the Society’s Bylaws and/or other appropriate governing documents.”

The amendment requires two-thirds approval from voting members in the 2021 election to go into effect.

“I think students having a voice in Society-level affairs is a great way to increase involvement and retention during their undergraduate journey, along with improving transition as students graduate and become professional engineers,” said Matthew Jacobson, EIT, ENV SP, S.M.ASCE, a senior civil engineering student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, who has served as his student chapter’s president, chaired the ASCE Student Presidential Group, and spent two years as an ASCE student ambassador.

“I believe ASCE has made great strides over the past few years to involve students at the society-level from the Student Presidential Group, Student Ambassador Program, and ASCE committees, and allowing them to vote is the next step in keeping them engaged,” Jacobson said..

Members at the grade of affiliate or above who are current on their dues by April 1 may vote in the election.

ASCE's election provider, Survey and Ballot Systems, will send an email to eligible voters announcing the election on May 1. Voting will close at 6 p.m. EDT June 1.

For more information about the ASCE 2021 election, including a complete ballot, visit the ASCE website or email Patty Montgomery.