Article One. Name and Mission

The name of this university-wide student group shall be Harvard Italian Student Society (HISS)

The HISS is dedicated to create a community of people at Harvard University interested in:

  • Promoting the Italian culture and heritage across Harvard
  • Facilitating homogeneous relationships, upholding Italian traditions, and formulating a support group that will help native Italians feel more at home in their new country of habitation
  • Supporting the Italian language and the relationships with Americans and Italian-Americans
  • Supporting projects aimed at the diffusion of best practices in Italy
  • Facilitating the relationships between member students/scholars and the other Italian societies and associations of Italians and Italian-Americans in the United States
  • Maintaining direct connection with alumni members of the Society in order to establish links among former and current members
  • The activities of the HISS shall include, but not be limited to: organization of social gatherings, discussion groups, events, debates, exhibitions and conferences by inviting speakers from Harvard University, and guest speakers from Italy, the US and the rest of the World.
  • Organization of open roundtables on Italian culture, language, and civilization
  • Establishment of connection with interested institutions in the Greater Boston Area and nation-wide, like Universities (e.g. MIT, Tufts, Northeastern University, and Boston University), cultural centers (e.g. Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts) and school of languages
  • The HISS also uses its resources to inform the Harvard community of the various programs it will be sponsoring

Article two. Membership

2.1. Membership in the HISS shall be open to all graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in a degree-granting program at Harvard, faculty, staff, alumni and spouses or partners of currently enrolled degree-seeking students; regardless of sex, race, creed, age, color, national origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation.

2.2. A majority of the members of the HISS shall be registered in any Harvard University school (Harvard Business School, Division of Continuing Education, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard College, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Divinity School, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study).

2.3. Membership shall be defined by subscription to the official HISS email list.

2.4. Once attained, membership shall continue until a student severs connections with the University, whether by graduation or withdrawal. Membership shall therefore not be terminated by the taking of a leave of absence. Any member may formally withdraw by so informing in writing one of the members of the HISS Executive Board.

2.5. A majority of membership’s vote shall be required before any membership fee shall be assessed. Such a vote shall authorize a membership fee for the current academic year.

Article three. Officers

3.1. The officers of the HISS shall be two Co-presidents, the Vice-president, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Officer for Communications, the College Liaison Officer, and the Officer for Fund-raising and Charity. Any student currently registered in one of the above mentioned Harvard Schools as a degree-seeking student is eligible to serve as an officer.

3.2. This group of eight people (two Co-presidents, the Vice-president, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Officer for Communications, the College Liaison Officer, and the Officer for Fund-raising and Charity) represents the HISS Executive Board.

3.3. The two Co-presidents shall be the chief executive officers of the HISS and shall exercise general supervision and control over its programs as well as chair its business meetings. The Co-presidents shall also be the principal spokespersons for the HISS to present its decisions and shall lead the monthly meetings.

3.4. The Vice-president shall assist the Co-presidents in the duties of that office. Should one of the Co-presidents leave the office prior to completing the term, the Vice-president shall assume the office until the next regularly-scheduled election.

3.5. The Secretary shall be responsible for distributing information about the organization, handling correspondence, notifying members of the organization's meetings, and maintaining written records of meetings and other business.

3.6. The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping the financial records, collecting dues which the organization may have, handling other financial matters as they occur, and submitting financial reports. The treasurer shall share HISS financial information in a timely way with the Supporting Unit, as requested.

3.7. The Officer for Communications shall be the person of contact whenever the press wants interview or write articles on HISS members and HISS activities. This officer should also oversee and, in case, edit interviews and articles to make sure they provide a real and unbiased view of the Society and its members. The Officer for Communications is also responsible for the advertising of the HISS events through social media.

3.8. The College Liaison Officer shall be responsible to maintain good relations and timely feedback between the HISS and the Harvard College population. The College Liaison Officer shall also address specific needs coming from the undergraduate students.

3.9. The Officer for Fund-raising and Charity shall be responsible to look for organizations, hospitals and misery environments where the help of HISS can be vital. The officer should run synergies between these less fortunate situations and the HISS in the attempt to provide the highest possible help.

Article four. Elections

4.1. Election will be held on the third Sunday of April. However, the new elected people will start their duties on the 1st of September of the year of the elections. This will allow the old officers to provide a four months tutoring to the new elected officers.

4.2. Officers shall be elected annually by the members of the HISS who have attended at least three HISS monthly meeting (other than the election meeting).

4.3. Any member who has attended at least three HISS monthly meeting (other than the election meeting) and is a currently enrolled degree-seeking student is eligible to run for an officer position; regardless of its HISS status during the previous year.

4.4. Anyone who has served three consecutive or non-consecutive years in any given office is not eligible to run for election to that specific office again.

4.5. Degree-seeking students interested in serving as officers shall so inform the Secretary prior to the day of the elections. In electing officers, each member shall have one vote, and members shall be entitled to vote by written proxy. Candidates must obtain a majority of all votes in order to be elected to office. In the event that no candidate attracts the requisite number of votes for election, a run-off shall be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes.

4.6. Vacant offices will be filled with special elections, which will be announced to the full membership of the HISS at least two weeks before the special election.

Article five. Executive Board Operations

5.1. Regular monthly meetings of the HISS shall be held every third Sunday of the month.

5.2. At least one of the Co-presidents shall preside over all business meetings of the HISS. In the absence of the Co-president, the Vice-president shall preside.

5.3. Any member of the Executive Board can propose the cancellations of a monthly meeting by providing written notice to the seven left members at least one week in advance. The left members can either accept or refuse the cancellation by casting an informal vote poll.

5.4. Special Meetings of the HISS may be called by any HISS members, who shall so inform the Secretary at least one week prior to the date of the proposed meeting.

5.5. One of the Co-president may call a special meeting of the Executive Board with 48 hours notice.

5.6. The Secretary shall be responsible for informing the membership of the date, time, place, and agenda of all regular and special meetings.

5.7. For the purpose of voting at business meetings, a quorum shall be defined as a majority of the membership who has received right to vote by attending at least three monthly meetings (other than the election meeting). Each member shall have one vote, and may vote by written proxy if necessary.

Article six. Constitutional Amendments

Any HISS member who has participated in at least three meetings shall be entitled to propose amendments. These proposed amendments shall be communicated to the Secretary, who shall schedule a meeting for the purpose of voting on these amendments. If the date of submission of these amendments is near the date of a regular or special business meeting, then no additional meeting need be scheduled. A two-thirds majority of all votes cast shall be required for any changes to this constitution.

Article seven. Adherence to University Policies

HISS organizing members and officers agree to abide by the policies and procedures of Harvard University as outlined in this Handbook.

PDF version can be downloaded here.