A Student Chapter should be concerned primarily with stimulating interest in motion picture and television technology among students and developing future engineers for the motion picture and television industries and related fields. You just need 12 SMPTE Student Members and an Advisor to get started.  Below you will find guidelines to help you understand and start a SMPTE Student Chapter at your school!

The following is taken from the SMPTE Bylaws, Section X and the SMPTE Administrative Practices, Section IX (A full copy of the SMPTE Constitution and Bylaws and Administrative Practices can be found here)

Student Chapter Authorization

Following a written petition to form a Student Chapter, the Board of Governors of the Society may authorize Student Chapters at an educational institution. This petition must be signed by a minimum of 12 SMPTE student members who are currently enrolled and in good standing at the educational institution (application for Society membership may be included with the petition), an advisor (an active or higher grade SMPTE Member), and the Dean or the Department Head of the institution.

Download the Petition Form

Chapter Officers

The officers of each Student Chapter shall be a Chairperson and a Secretary (not excluding holding both offices). Each Chapter officer shall hold office for one school year, or until a successor is chosen.  The procedure for holding elections shall be by ballot vote during the first or second official meeting of the school year.

  • The Chair shall see that at least four meetings are held during the school year and that the Student Chapter membership is encouraged to attend local Section meetings and otherwise assist in the operation of the local Section.

  • The Chair shall see that the Secretary-Treasurer prepares and forwards appropriate reports.

  • The Chair shall appoint such committees as necessary to carry on the activities of the Student Chapter.

  • The Chair should seek advice and counsel from the Chair of the local Section in the area in the operation of the Student Chapter.  The Chair and the Board of Managers of the Section will be in a position to offer valuable assistance and also to take part in some of the Student Chapter programs.

  • The Chair shall advise the local Section Chair in the area concerning each meeting of the Student Chapter in advance of meeting, giving details concerning the program to be presented.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer shall have custody of any property belonging to the Student Chapter and shall keep the records of activities in an approved and permanent form.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer shall forward to the Sections Vice-President, Director of Operations, and Managing Editor of the Journal a report covering meetings held, giving the subject, speaker, and approximate attendance at each meeting.  These reports shall also cover attendance of Student Chapter members at local Section meetings and describe other types of cooperation with the local Section.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer shall send to the Society Secretary/Treasurer, with copies to the Financial Vice-President, the Sections Vice-President, Executive Director, and Director of Operations in mid-January and at the end of the school year, or on demand, an itemized account of all expenditures incurred.

  • The Secretary-Treasurer shall prepare any other reports, minutes of business meetings, etc., that are deemed necessary by the Advisor and Chair or that have been requested by the Sections Vice-President, and shall preserve these reports as well as other property of the organization, such as its files of Journals and other publications of the Society.


It shall be the Advisor’s duty to advise the officers of the chapter on its conduct and to approve its reports of activities.

The Advisor shall perform an advisory and supervisory function over the Student Chapter.  The utmost freedom should be allowed the officers and membership of the Student Chapter to run its own affairs, and the Advisor's chief function is to keep the Student Chapter activities within the rules and regulations of the school and of the Society, and to offer assistance, advice, and inspiration to the Chapter.  The Advisor shall also approve all reports to the Sections Vice-President and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Society, and shall approve all Chapter expenditures. 


Chapter Membership

All members of the Society in good standing who are attending the designated educational institution shall be eligible for membership in the Student Chapter, and when so enrolled they shall be entitled to all privileges that such Student Chapter may, under the Constitution and Bylaws, provide.

Attendance at Student Chapter events shall also be open to interested nonmembers who are students at the institution, and guests, as space and campus policy allow.

Should the attendance at student chapter events fall to below ten, or the activity of the Student Chapter fall to fewer than four events in a school year, the Board of Governors may cancel the authorization.

Chapter Meetings

The Chapter shall hold at least four meetings per year. The Secretary/Treasurer shall forward to the Executive Director, Sections Vice-President, Director of Operations and Managing Editor of the Journal reports of all meetings, giving the subject, speaker and attendance of each meeting or event.

Cooperation with local Section meetings does not relieve the Student Chapter of its responsibility to hold at least four meetings of its own which are considered as essential for the maintenance of an organization structure on its own campus.  These need not be closed meetings, but may be open to all students and faculty.  In the cases where there is no local Section to the area, it is presumed that Student Chapter meetings will be held once a month during the academic year.

Chapter Expenses

Each Student Chapter shall be independently responsible for expenses incurred.

Chapter Status

A Student Chapter has independent status within the framework of the Society, provided that its activities shall not be inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society.  The Student Chapter shall report officially through the Advisor to the Sections Vice-President of the Society.  Its relationship to a Local Section in the geographical area should be looked on as a parallel, cooperative situation.  The officers and members of the Student Chapter should take part in the affairs of the Local Section, attending meetings and providing such assistance and help as they can.  This should be looked on as a way of furthering contacts and understanding with the industry leaders.


Upon authorization of the formation of a new Student Chapter from the Board of Governors of the Society, an organizational meeting shall be held to select temporary officers to serve for the remainder of the current academic year. A quorum for such meetings shall consist of not less than ten Student Members.  The Advisor shall act as Chair to receive nominations from the Student Chapter membership for the offices of Chair and of Secretary/Treasurer.  Rules of parliamentary procedure shall be followed and nominations shall be accepted from the floor.  Election shall be by show of hands or by written ballot, as desired.  A majority of those Student members present and eligible to vote shall constitute election.

For subsequent elections, a Nominating committee shall be appointed by the Advisor, comprising the current Chair and two members of the Student Chapter.  Where practicable, elections shall be held in May for the ensuing school year.  If this is not feasible, the election may be held no later than October 15 of the new school year. The Nominating Committee shall select not more than two names for each of the two offices involved.  Nominees should be selected on the basis of candidates showing the ability and willingness to promote the activities of the Student Chapter. At a special meeting called for the purpose of election, the names of the nominees shall be put before the Student Chapter members by the Chair. A quorum for such meeting shall consist of not less than ten (10) Student members.  Other nominees may be added by nomination from the floor and election may be by show of hands or paper ballot, with each member given the right to write in the name of any Student Member desired for each office.  A majority of those Student Members present and eligible to vote shall constitute election.

Offices vacated by resignation or other reason shall be filled by appointment made by the Advisor or by election at a special meeting of the Student Chapter, whichever is deemed best by the Advisor.