(Amended: 1988, 1996, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2014)
1. Purpose of the Section on Environmental Sociology
The purpose of the Section on Environmental Sociology is to promote sociological research and professional activity in relation to environmental and technological issues. To this end, the Section will sponsor meetings and conferences, newsletters and publications, and other means of communication deemed appropriate by the Council of the Section. The term “environment” is understood to encompass both the “natural” and “built” environments, as they relate to social behavior and social organization. The term “technology” is to be understood broadly to include the origins and consequences of technology; sociological aspects of technological risk and risk assessment; the impacts of technology on social behavior, social organization, and the environment; and related phenomena.
Membership in the Section is open to any member of the American Sociological Association (ASA) without regard to the classification of membership in the ASA. Members who do not pay their Section dues shall be dropped from the rolls.
Dues shall be set by the Council to cover the operation of the Section in accord with the requirements of the American Sociological Association.
4. Elections and Voting
The elections of the Section shall be carried out in cooperation with the American Sociological Association and coordinated with its schedule. Newly elected officers shall assume office on the day following the annual business meeting of the Section at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Prior to assuming office, newly elected officers may attend meetings of the Council as non-voting participants.
5. Powers of the Officers
The Council is vested with the power to carry out all necessary operations of the Section, acting as the representative of the membership of the Section. The Council shall make decisions by majority rule of its attending members. Any action of the Section may be brought to a vote of the Section by the Council, or by a petition signed by 10 percent of the members of the Section, or by 25 members, whichever is fewer.
6. Officers of the Section
The officers of the Section shall be the Chair; Chair-elect; past-Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; Chair of Nominations Committee; Chair of Policy and Research Committee; Chair of Membership Committee; Chair of Publications Committee; Chair of Teaching, Training and Practice Committee; Council Member-at-Large; and Student Member of Council. All officers are elected. Commencing with the election following member approval of these revised bylaws, the positions of Chair, Chair-elect, and past-Chair are held for 1 year each. All other offices are held for 2 years, except for the Secretary and Treasurer, each of whom serves a term of 3 years to assist in the transition from Chair to Chair-elect. The tenure of Secretary and Treasurer should not end on the same year. The Chair-elect automatically becomes the Chair following her/his 1-year term as Chair-elect; the Chair automatically becomes the past-Chair following his/her 1-year term as Chair. No member may hold two Section elective offices simultaneously. If an elected officer of the Section is elected to another office of this Section, the prior office shall be declared vacant. If an elected office is vacated before the term is completed, the Chair shall appoint a person to fill the remainder of the term, although this appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Council at its next meeting. Officers must be voting members of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and members of the Section on Environmental Sociology.
7. Duties of Individual Officers
The Chair is responsible for the overall leadership of the Section. The Chair will ensure that other elected Council members and Committee Chairpersons are carrying out their duties. The Chair is responsible for organizing and chairing the Business and Council Meetings.
The Chair-elect works with the Chair, past-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer to provide overall leadership of the Section. The Chair-elect is responsible for organizing Section-sponsored paper sessions at the ASA annual meeting. In addition, the Chair-elect will take on special tasks as deemed necessary by the Chair, such as liaison with other ASA sections and related non-ASA organizations. The Chair-Elect is responsible for chairing the Boguslaw Award Committee.
The past-Chair works with the Chair, Chair-elect, Secretary, and Treasurer to provide overall leadership of the Section. S/he is responsible for chairing the Fred Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award Committee. The past-Chair also takes on special tasks as deemed necessary by the Chair.
The Secretary handles all correspondence and (non-financial) record-keeping affairs of the Section, works with the Chair, Chair-elect, past-Chair, and Treasurer to provide overall Section leadership, ensure that the bylaws are up-to-date, and take notes and distribute minutes of the annual Council and Business Meetings.
The Treasurer handles all financial affairs of the Section, works with the Chair, Chair-elect, past- Chair, and Secretary to provide overall Section leadership, organizes the annual ASA reception, and engages in initiatives to increase funding available to the Section.
7.f. Council Member-at-Large
One Council Member-at-Large will be elected. S/he may be assigned various tasks, depending on Section needs (e.g., mini-conference organization). This Council Member-at-Large may also be appointed to assist on a major committee project (e.g. revision of the Syllabi and Instructional Manual).
7.g. Student Member
The Student Member of Council will write, or solicit from others, a brief article on student news and concerns for each newsletter. The Student Member will assist the Membership Committee in reaching out to students.
8. Standing Committees
8.a. Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee Chair will be elected, and will be joined by two members appointed by Section Chair with help from the Council. The committee will solicit nominations for upcoming offices by handing out nomination forms at the Council meeting, business meeting, and all section paper sessions at the ASA annual meeting. The committee also will solicit nominations through the official section announcement listserv directly after the ASA, and will compile a slate of candidates that takes into account that membership input.
8.b. Policy and Research Committee
The chair of the Policy and Research Committee will be elected, and will work with at least two members recruited by the Section Chair with help from the Council. They will keep informed of major research opportunities for Environmental Sociologists, and write or solicit from others an article on these opportunities for each newsletter issue. They will also keep aware of major policy issues and write or solicit from others brief policy notes for the newsletter as well. This committee will conduct the selection of the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award and the Marvin E. Olsen Student Paper Award.
8.c. Membership Committee
The chair of the Membership Committee will be elected. Working with at least two members appointed by the Section Chair with help from the Council, this committee will examine the membership list and the past membership lists provided by ASA. They will contact past section members and encourage their return to the section. This committee will also actively recruit new members. As an example of recruitment strategy, committee members may identify potential new members by scanning relevant journals for authors of Environmental Sociological work by non- members, then target these individuals for recruitment.
8.d. Publications Committee
The Publications Committee Chair will be elected, and will lead a committee composed of the Webmaster, Listserv Manager, Newsletter Editor, and one or two other members appointed by the Section Chair with help from the Council. The committee will oversee the Section’s Newsletter, website, and discussion listserv. This committee will deal with any future discussions on journal affiliations, as well as publishing and/or updating a brochure describing the Section and listing past Chairs and award winners, for use in expanding the Section’s presence and in soliciting new members.
8.e. Teaching, Training and Practice Committee
The chair of the Teaching, Training, and Practice Committee will be elected and will work with a committee of at least two others. One member must be invited from a non-academic, sociological practice. A fourth member, a graduate student, may be invited to serve by the chair to assist in administrative duties. The committee’s mission is to promote and support teaching and practice activities that advance the field of Environmental Sociology. The committee will periodically update the list of graduate programs in Environmental Sociology posted on the web to help graduate and undergraduate students identify opportunities. The committee will solicit articles on teaching and training for the section’s newsletters. The committee sponsors the biennial Environmental Sociology Teaching and Mentorship Award and is responsible for selecting the winner through the collection and evaluation of nomination packets that are due March 1 of award years. In alternate years, the committee sponsors the biennial Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award, and is responsible for selecting the winner through the collection and evaluation of nomination packets that are due March 1 of award years.
9. Continuity and Accountability
Each current officer will produce an “electronic notebook” detailing the position’s tasks and the schedule for performing them. Electronic copies of the notebook (or its annual additions/edits) will go to the Section Chair and Secretary who will keep an updated electronic record of all Section tasks. Each outgoing officer will present the incoming officer with the appropriate “notebook.” In addition, each officer will provide an annual written report of the accomplishments and/or difficulties within their Council position and committee, at least one month prior to the Council Meeting, which all council members will receive. As well, each officer will provide by February 1 to the Section Chair a mid-year report on tasks, progress, action items, and ideas for further projects. The Section Chair will analyze these reports and recommendation and prepare a report to the Council by March 1, in order to pursue the Section’s smooth operation.
10. Additional Section Positions and Committees
10.a. Newsletter Editor
The Chair, in consultation with the Council, will appoint a Newsletter Editor to edit and publish the official Section newsletter. The Newsletter Editor will be a member of the Publications Committee, but not a member of the Council.
The Chair, in consultation with the Council, will appoint a Webmaster to coordinate the Section’s website. The Webmaster will make sure that all listings of section officers, awards, and other business are kept current, and will work to provide a website with a rich set of resources related to environmental sociology. The Webmaster will be a member of the Publications Committee, but not a member of the Council.
10.c. Listserv Manager
The Chair, in consultation with the Council, will appoint a Listserv Manager to coordinate the Section’s discussion listserv, which serves as an important communications network for Section members and some colleagues who are not Section members. The Listserv Manager will be a member of the Publications Committee, but not a member of the Council.
10.d. Other Committees
Other committees may be created and appointed by the Chair of the Section on an ad hoc basis, subject to approval by the Council.
11. Section Awards
11.a. Fred Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award
This award may be made each year at the annual Section business meeting, but it is not required that it be given each year. The purpose of this award shall be to recognize individuals for outstanding service, innovation, or publication in environmental sociology or sociology of technology. This is intended to be an expression of appreciation, to be awarded when an individual is deemed extraordinarily meritorious by the Section. The Selection Committee for this award shall consist of all members of the Section Council, with the past-Chair of the Section serving as Chair of this committee. Each fall the past-Chair shall, through the Section newsletter, invite all members of the Section to submit nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. Prior to the next business meeting of the Section, the committee shall review all nominations and decide whether or not to make an award that year, and if so, shall select the recipient of the award. If an award is made, the name of the recipient shall be announced and a plaque or certificate shall be presented to the recipient at the business meeting.
11.b. Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award
This award may be conferred at the annual Section business meeting. It is given in alternate years for either (a) a book in even years or (b) an article of special noteworthiness in the field of environmental sociology in odd years. In other words, in even years, only books will be considered for the award. Then in odd years, only articles will be considered, and so forth. Books and articles must be published within a three-year period, ending on December 31 of the year prior to when the award is given (and can be single- or co-authored). The Policy and Research Committee and/or its award subcommittee(s) will be responsible for making this award. Each fall, the Policy and Research Committee, through the Section newsletter, ASA Footnotes, and official Section announcement listserv, shall invite nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. Nominees (or their publishers) will be asked to supply three copies of all nominated work to the award committee. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. There may be years when the committee decides not to make an award. Award winners will be recognized in the Section newsletter and website, in ASA Footnotes, and will receive a certificate from the Section.
11.c. Marvin E. Olsen Student Paper Award
This award may be conferred at the annual Section business meeting, although it is not required to be given if there is not appropriate recipient. Named to honor the memory of our distinguished colleague, the purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding paper presented by a graduate student at the annual American Sociological meetings. Should the award be granted, its recipient will be announced at the annual business meeting of the section, and will be presented a certificate acknowledging the honored paper and a monetary donation to help defray expenses associated with attending the ASA meetings. The Policy and Research Committee will be responsible for making this award. Nominees are limited to graduate students who are giving presentations at the annual meetings. Each fall the Policy and Research Committee, through the Section newsletter, shall invite all members of the Section to submit nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. All members, including potential recipients, are encouraged to submit nominations.
11.d. The Environmental Sociology Teaching and Mentorship Award
This award may be conferred at the annual Section business meeting. Given in even years, it honors faculty members who have provided especially dedicated service to the teaching of environmental sociology and effective training of graduate and/or undergraduate students. Section members are encouraged to nominate colleagues, but all members, especially those in smaller institutions, are encouraged to self-nominate. Nomination packets may include teaching statements, syllabi, innovative assignments and exercises, course evaluations, letters of support, peer observations, etc. The Section’s Teaching, Training and Practice Committee, or its designated subcommittee, will administer this award. Materials should be submitted electronically to the Award Committee Chair, in one file under 10 megabytes; for full consideration, all materials must be received by March 1 of the year in which the award may be given. Award winners will be recognized in the Section newsletter and website, in ASA Footnotes, and will receive a certificate from the Section.
11.e. Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology and Humanism
This award may conferred every odd year by the Section to a doctoral student or young investigator whose paper or article investigates the relationship between technology and humanism, although it is not required to be given if there is not appropriate recipient. The purpose of the award is to recognize work that addresses technology and human affairs, social action and social change, conflicts over values, or work that proposes innovative solutions to emerging social issues associated with technology. In accordance with Robert Boguslaw’s wishes, the honored work should address the concerns of ordinary people rather than reflecting organizational or institutional agendas. The award is limited to doctoral students or young investigators who have obtained their PhDs in the past five years. Unpublished papers or articles published within the last two years are eligible. Candidates may either submit their own work or be nominated by someone else. Neither nominees nor nominators need be affiliated with this or any other Section, nor do they need to be associated with any other professional network or organization. The Chair-elect is responsible for chairing the Boguslaw Award Committee. The Chair of the Section shall appoint two other members to serve on this committee. If an award is made, the name of the recipient will be announced at the annual business meeting, and the recipient will be presented with a commemorative certificate and a small monetary gift. The Chair will notify the Boguslaw family when an award is made.
11.f. The Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award
The biennial Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award given in odd years honors faculty members and other professional practitioners in the field of Environmental Sociology. The award recognizes the outstanding practice and outreach contributions of professionals not only in college and university positions, but also positions in journalism, government, service agencies, private sector environmental organizations, and non-profit environmental organizations. Section members are encouraged to nominate colleagues, but all members are encouraged to self-nominate. Nomination packets may include statements of commitment to service activities, letters of support that delineate the nominee’s outstanding service and outreach accomplishments, and other evidence of especially dedicated service to the field. Materials should be submitted electronically to the Award Committee Chair in one file under 10 Mb. For full consideration, all materials must be received by March 1.
12. Revision of Bylaws
Changes in the bylaws will be made by vote of the whole Section membership in the next regular ASA election, or, if the Council deems it more urgent, in an interim special election conducted by the ASA.