Section Bylaws

(As amended: 1988, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2020)

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 sociology topics. 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.

2. Membership

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.

3. Dues

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; Chair of Legacy Committee, two Co-Chairs of Digital Communications Committee; Chair of Committee on Racial Exclusion and Equity; Council Member-at-Large; and Student Member of Council. All officers are elected except the chair of Committee on Racial Exclusion and Equity, who is appointed by consensus-based decisions between the Section Chair, the outgoing Committee on Racial Exclusion and Equity Chair, and the committee’s other members. 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, and the Chair of Committee on Racial Exclusion and Equity, who serves for two or three years.  The Chair-elect automatically becomes the Chair following their 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. Each Section Officer and Member of Council will participate actively in efforts to create a meaningful, positive, and inclusive space for participation of all members and to help diversify Section membership. This includes but is not limited to reading the most recent Racial Exclusion and Equity report; actively reflecting on their routine responsibilities and those of other Council members; suggesting changes to position responsibilities to implement positive practices; and contributing or soliciting 1-3 newsletter articles, email postings, or tweets per year that diversify our collective space. Additionally, each Council member’s annual report, due July 1, will include a section on ‘Racial Exclusion and Equity’ that summarizes their work over the year toward these ends.

7. Duties of Individual Officers

7.a. Chair

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 may also create and appoint other committees on an ad hoc basis subject to approval by the Council.

7.b. Chair-Elect

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.

7.c. Past-Chair

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.

7.d. Secretary

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.

7.e. Treasurer

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 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 serve as the Newsletter Editor. One or two other committee members may be appointed with help from the Section Chair. The Publications Committee will oversee the Section’s Newsletter and will deal with any future discussions on journal affiliations.

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.

8.f. Legacy Committee

The Chair of the Legacy Committee will be elected and will work with a committee of at least two other members. The Committee will oversee the Section’s Oral History Project. The Committee will also deal with other legacy issues that may arise, including honoring Section members who have passed away and the documentation of the Section’s history.

8.g. The Digital Communications Committee

The Digital Communications Committee will be co-chaired by two elected positions: 1) the Webmaster, who will maintain the Section website and 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; and 2) the Social Media Coordinator, who will manage the Section’s Facebook, Twitter, and other digital social media accounts. The Social Media Coordinator will be responsible for managing all postings to engage with Section members and the public around news and topics related to environmental sociology. These tasks do not include the student media accounts, which will stay the responsibility of the student representative. One or two other committee members may be appointed with help from the Section Chair, including a Listserv manager if necessary, who will coordinate the Section’s email discussion listserv, which serves as an important communications network for Section members and some colleagues who are not Section members.

8.h. The Committee on Racial Exclusion and Equity

The committee Chair must be a member of the section for the duration of their term. The committee, made up of a chair and at least two members, shall be appointed by a process and for a term determined by the section council. The committee’s mission is to assess the historical and contemporary state of racial exclusion and equity in the Section with curiosity and a critical lens. The committee may undertake various projects and/or initiatives to achieve this mission with the objective of creating an empathetic yet critical space for conversation, reflection, and new scholarship at the intersection of racial exclusion and equity and environmental sociology.
a. The committee is responsible for the production of “The Section on Environmental Sociology Racial Exclusion and Equity Report.”
b. Internal committee policies: The committee will strive to be a racially diverse committee, as well as represent diversity with respect to career stage, gender, and other lines of inequality within the section. The committee is invited to work directly with all section committees on their common missions and objectives.

9. Continuity and Accountability

Each current officer will produce a notebook detailing the position’s tasks and the schedule for performing them. Copies of the notebooks (or its annual additions/edits) will go to the Section Chair and Secretary, who will keep an updated book/binder 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.

10. Section Awards

All participants in each of the Section awards committees will be required to assess potential conflicts of interest by filling out and signing the section’s conflict-of-interest questionnaire. (See Conflict of Interest Form in Appendix A of the bylaws.) Should an award committee participant find that they have a conflict of interest – as identified by a positive response to any of the items listed on the conflict-of-interest questionnaire – they will recuse themselves from participating in the awards process and an alternative member will be selected to review the nomination materials.

10.a. The Environmental Sociology Fred Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award

This award is given annually to recognize individuals for outstanding service, innovation, or publication in environmental sociology. It is intended to be an expression of appreciation, awarded when an individual is deemed extraordinarily meritorious by the Section. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. 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 spring, the past-Chair, through the Section newsletter, Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, shall invite nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination materials fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section.

10.b. The Environmental Sociology Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding published contribution to the field of environmental sociology. It is given for (a) a book in even years or (b) an article in odd years. Books or articles must be published within a two-year period, ending on December 31 of the year prior to when the award is given. Single-author and multiple-author publications are eligible. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. The Policy and Research Committee of the Section and/or its award subcommittee(s) shall administer this award. Each spring, the Policy and Research Committee Chair, through the Section newsletter, official Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, 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. The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination materials fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section.

10.c. Environmental Sociology Marvin E. Olsen Student Paper Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding paper written by a graduate student or group of graduate students. Nominees are limited to graduate students. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. The Policy and Research Committee of the Section and/or its award subcommittee(s) shall administer this award. Each spring the Policy and Research Committee Chair, through the Section newsletter, official Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, shall invite nominations for the award. Nominations should include a copy of the nominated paper and a nomination letter. The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination materials fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section, as well as a monetary award. The Policy and Research Chair will consult with the Section Treasurer to determine the amount.

10.d. The Environmental Sociology Teaching and Mentorship Award

This award, given in even years, honors faculty members who demonstrate a notable dedication to teaching and mentorship, including through innovative pedagogy; actionable attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion; robust community-engaged approaches; and/or other elements of excellence in the teaching of environmental sociology and mentorship of students at the undergraduate and/or graduate level. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. The award is open to faculty of any rank, including tenure-track or contingent positions. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. The Teaching, Training, and Practice Committee of the Section and/or its award subcommittee(s) shall administer this award. Each spring in an even year, the Teaching, Training, and Practice Committee Chair, through the Section newsletter, official Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, shall invite nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. Initial nomination packets shall include a Letter of Nomination, not to exceed 2 pages. Review of Letters of Nomination will conclude by early March, after which a narrower selection of potential winners and/or their nominators will be asked to submit a complete nomination packet by April 15. A complete nomination packet should include:

1. Personal statement on teaching philosophy, not to exceed 3 pages.
2. CV with the following relevant components highlighted: teaching/mentoring awards and activities; publications or presentations co‐authored with students (underline the names of student co‐authors and indicate whether undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral student).
3. Maximum of 5 letters of student support (any mix of present or past undergraduate and/or graduate students)
4. Maximum of 2 additional letters of support from colleagues who are not former students
5. Maximum of 3 syllabi of relevant coursework (with no more than 2 graduate syllabi), all from within the previous 5 years
6. Summary of teaching evaluations for the courses in #5.

The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section.

10.e. The Environmental Sociology Robert Boguslaw Award

This award is conferred every odd year by the Section to a doctoral student or scholar who has obtained a Ph.D. in the past five years. The purpose of the award is to recognize a paper or article that investigates innovative approaches to addressing emerging issues pertaining to technological, environmental, and social change. In accordance with Robert Boguslaw’s wishes, the honored work should address the concerns of “ordinary people rather than those of established organizations and institutions.” Unpublished papers or articles published within the last two years are eligible. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. The Chair-elect will serve as chair of the Boguslaw Award Committee. The Chair of the Section shall appoint two other members to serve on this committee. Each spring, the Chair-elect, through the Section newsletter, official Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, shall invite nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination materials fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting, and during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section, as well as a small monetary gift. The Chair-elect will consult with the Section Treasurer to determine the amount.

10.f. The Environmental Sociology Practice and Outreach Award

This award, given in odd years, honors faculty scholar-activists who demonstrate outstanding practice and outreach contributions that advance equity in the context of socio-environmental relations. All members of the Section are encouraged to submit nominations; self-nominations are welcome. In accordance with ASA policies, the recipient must be a current member of the association at the time the award is given to receive the award. The Teaching, Training, and Practice Committee of the Section and/or its award subcommittee(s) shall administer this award. Each spring in an odd year, the Teaching, Training, and Practice Committee Chair, through the Section newsletter, official Section announcement listserv, and ASA Footnotes, shall invite nominations for the award, together with supporting documentation. 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. Preliminary decisions on nominations will be made by the Committee in early March. Those selected for further consideration, for the award will be asked to submit a CV and up to 5 letters of support from any mix of community members/public representatives, colleagues, and/or students by April 15 for final consideration for the award. The committee is not required to offer this award during a year when there is not an eligible recipient whose nomination materials fulfill the award criteria. Recipients will be recognized in the Section newsletter, Section website, ASA Footnotes, and at the Section reception or business meeting during the annual meeting of the ASA. The recipient will receive a certificate or plaque from the Section.

11. 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.