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SPS & Sigma Pi Sigma Constitution & Bylaws
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Constitution
SOCIETY OF PHYSICS STUDENTS—INCLUDING SIGMA PI SIGMA

ARTICLE I. NAME

The name of this organization shall be “Society of Physics Students” with an honor society component named “Sigma Pi Sigma.”

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ARTICLE II. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the Society of Physics Students shall be to:

a) encourage and assist students interested in physics to develop the knowledge, competence, enthusiasm, and social responsibility that are essential to the advancement of physics;

b) stimulate interest in advance study and research in physics;

c) develop collegiality among physics students and faculty members;

d) promote public interest in physics;

e) provide liaison between students and the member societies of the American Institute of Physics; and

f) recognize high scholarship and potential achievement in physics among outstanding students by means of Sigma Pi Sigma membership.

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ARTICLE III. OFFICERS

Section 1. Elective Officers

Clause 1. The elective officers of the Society shall be the President of the Council, the President of Sigma Pi Sigma, one Councilor from each of the geographic Zones, and one Associate Councilor from each of the geographic Zones. Elective officers may not serve more than two consecutive full terms on the Council in the same office.

Clause 2. The President of the Council shall be elected biennially by the Society of Physics Students Chapters from a slate of at least two candidates presented by the National Nominating Committee. Elections for the President of the Council and the President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall be held on alternate years. The term shall be nominally two years, beginning thirty days after the election is completed or at the beginning of the next meeting of the Executive Committee, whichever occurs first. The uncompleted term of a President of the Council who vacates the position between annual elections shall be filled as determined by majority vote of the Executive Committee until the next annual election when the remaining portion of the uncompleted term shall be filled through the normal election procedure. The duties of the President of the Council shall include serving on the Executive Committee as its chairperson and presiding over meetings of the Council.

Clause 3. The President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall be elected biennially by the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters from a slate of at least two candidates presented by the National Nominating Committee. Elections for the President of the Council and the President of the Council and the President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall be held on alternate years. The term of the President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall be nominally two years, beginning thirty days after the election is completed or at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council or at the beginning of the next meeting of the Executive Committee, whichever occurs first. The uncompleted term of a President of Sigma Pi Sigma who vacates the position between annual elections shall be filled as determined by majority vote of the Executive Committee until the next annual election when the remaining portion of the uncompleted term shall be filled through the normal election procedure. The duties of the President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall include representing Sigma Pi Sigma to the Executive Committee and the Council and providing liaison, together with the Director of the Society of Physics Students, between Sigma Pi Sigma and the Association of College Honor Societies.

Clause 4. One third of the Councilors, each representing one of the geographic Zones, shall be elected in each annual election by the Society of Physics Students Chapters within their Zones from slates of at least two candidates for each position presented by the national Nominating Committee. Councilors shall be professional physicists who have demonstrated continuing interest in student organizations. The term of Councilor shall be nominally three years, beginning thirty days after the election is completed or at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council, whichever comes first. The uncompleted term of a Councilor who vacates the position between annual elections shall be filled as determined by majority vote of the Executive Committee until the next annual election when the remaining portion of the uncompleted term shall be filled through the normal election procedures. The duties of the Councilor shall include representing the Chapters in the Zone at Council meetings, assisting Chapters of the Zone, arranging combined activities among the Chapters in the Zone, and providing liaison between the Chapters in the Zone and National Office.

Clause 5. Associate Councilors, each representing one of the geographic Zones, shall be elected in each annual election by the Society of Physics Students Chapters within their Zones from slates of at least two candidates for each position presented by the respective Zone Nominating Committee. Associate Councilors shall be student members of the Society of Physics Students. The term of Associate Councilor shall be nominally one year, beginning thirty days after the election is completed or at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council, whichever occurs first. The uncompleted term of an Associate Councilor who vacates the position between annual elections shall be filled by appointment by the Councilor for that Zone. The duties of an Associate Councilor shall include representing the Chapters in the Zone at Council meetings and assisting the Councilor for the Zone.

Clause 6. Election procedures shall be those specified in the Bylaws of this Constitution.

Section 2. Administrative Officer

The Director of the Society of Physics Students shall be the administrative executive of the Society and shall have administrative, supervisory, and fiscal authority over the National Office. The Director of the Society of Physics Students shall serve as secretary for the meetings of the Council and the Executive Committee and shall prepare the agenda for those meetings. The Director of the Society of Physics Students shall be appointed by the Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics with the advice and consent of the Council and shall be responsible to the Executive Director of the American Institute of physics.

Section 3. Historian

The Historian shall maintain a historical record of the Society of Physics Students as well as Sigma Pi Sigma. The Historian shall at- tend all meetings of the Council and Executive Committee, with a voice but no vote. The Historian shall be appointed for a three-year term by the Director of the Society of Physics Students.

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ARTICLE IV. COUNCIL

Section I. Council Duties

The policy making and legislative functions of the Society of Physics Students shall be the responsibility of the Council. The Council shall set the date for the annual meeting of the Council, which shall be designated as a Convention of both the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma. Special meetings may be called by the President of the Council. The Council shall establish the schedule for the election of Council members. Only the Council shall elect persons to Sigma Pi Sigma honorary membership upon recommendation either by the Chapter into which the member is to be received or by a member of the Executive Committee. The Council shall specify the composition of the geographic Zones, with approximately equal numbers of Society of Physics Students Chapters in each Zone.

Section 2. Council Membership

The Council shall consist of (a) the members of the Executive Committee, (b) one Councilor from each of the geographic Zones, and (c) one Associate Councilor from each of the geographic Zones.

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ARTICLE V. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section I. Executive Committee Duties

The Executive Committee shall have the administrative, supervisory, and fiscal responsibility for the operations of the Society of Physics Students and shall approve all policies of the Society of Physics Students before they are implemented. The Executive Committee shall specify the procedures for the installation of new Chapters and the reception of new members and shall designate official insignia items of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma. The Executive Committee shall determine the privileges of, and the dues and fees to be paid by, all members of the Society of Physics Students and/or Sigma Pi Sigma. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for approving petitions for new Chapters and withdrawing charters from Chapters. The Executive Committee shall meet at least twice annually.

Section 2. Executive Committee Membership

Clause 1. The Executive Committee shall consist of (a) the President of the Council, (b) the President of Sigma Pi Sigma, (c) the Associate Councilor Representative, (d) the Director of the Society of Physics Students, (e) the Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics, or his representative, and (f) a member appointed by the Executive Director of the American Institute of Physics. The Director of the Society of Physics Students shall arrange At-Large Sigma Pi Sigma membership for any nonstudent members as soon as possible after their election according to the procedure described in Article IX, Section 4 of this Constitution.

Clause 2. An Associate Councilor Representative on the Executive Committee shall be elected by the Associate Councilors from their number at the time of the annual Council meeting. The term of the Associate Councilor Representative shall be nominally one year beginning at the close of the Council meeting at which the election was held and ending at the close of the next annual Council meeting. The uncompleted term of an Associate Councilor Representative who va- cates the position during the term of office shall be filled by appointment by the President of the Council from among the remaining Associate Councilors.

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ARTICLE VI. SOCIETY OF PHYSICS STUDENTS CHAPTERS

Section 1. Institutional Requirements for Society of Physics Students Chapters

Clause 1. A Society of Physics Students Chapter may exist only in institutions of higher learning which regularly offer at least a two-year curriculum that includes physics and which are accredited by the appropriate national or regional accrediting agency.

Clause 2. All Society of Physics Students Chapters shall be designated by the official name of the institutions in which they are located.

Section 2. Establishment of New Society of Physics Students Chapters

Clause 1. A group applying for a charter for a Society of Physics Students Chapter shall submit a petition prepared on the official form and shall furnish all data required for the official questionnaire for petitioning groups. Approval of the Executive Committee shall be required to grant a charter for a Society of Physics Students Chapter.

Clause 2. The procedure for the installation of Society of Physics Students Chapters shall be specified by the Executive Committee.

Section 3. Society of Physics Students Chapter Bylaws

Each Society of Physics Students Chapter shall have a set of local Chapter bylaws. Society of Physics Students Chapter bylaws, and any amendments thereof, must be submitted to the Director of the Society of Physics Students for approval. Society of Physics Students Chapter bylaws shall specify the Chapter Officer structure and the amount of any local dues or charges that will be paid by members in addition to those paid to the National Office of the Society of Physics Students. Society of Physics Students Chapter bylaws, except at those institutions not eligible for the establishment of a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter or where administrative regulations prohibit honor societies, shall specify local standards for the election of Sigma Pi Sigma members by the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter upon its installation as specified in Article VII of this Constitution. Society of Physics Students Chapter bylaws shall be in accordance with the Society of Physics Students Constitution and Bylaws.

Section 4. Society of Physics Students Chapter Administration

Clause 1. Each Society of Physics Students Chapter shall have a Chapter advisor and an appropriate officer structure. All Chapter Officers must be student members of the Society of Physics Students as defined in Article VIII, Section 1.

Clause 2. The Chapter advisor shall be a faculty member appointed by the head of the department responsible for physics instruction, after consultation with the Chapter Officers. The Chapter advisor shall provide liaison among the Chapter, the department responsible for physics instruction, and the national Office of the Society of Physics Students. The Chapter advisor will supply counseling to the Chapter, furnish continuity of experience in Chapter operations, and provide long-range perspective to insure continuance of departmental interest in and support of the Society of Physics Students. The Chapter advisor shall assist the Chapter secretary in furnishing the National Office of the Society of Physics Students with data concerning the personnel and activities of the Chapter and shall assist the Chapter treasurer in transmitting fees and dues to the National Office of the Society of Physics Students.

Section 5. Inactive Society of Physics Students Chapters

A Society of Physics Students Chapter which has been inactive for a period of two years or which has indicated its intention to cease to function may be declared officially inactive by the Director. The Director shall have the power to declare a Society of Physics Students Chapter active again if and when, in the judgment of the Director, the Society of Physics Students Chapter demonstrates its ability to function satisfactorily.

Section 6. Withdrawal of a Society of Physics Students Charter

Upon recommendation of the Director of the Society of Physics Students, the Executive Committee may withdraw a Society of Physics Students charter. Withdrawal of a Society of Physics Students charter shall be automatic for a Society of Physics Students Chapter which fails to satisfy the requirements of Section 1 of this article.

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ARTICLE VII. SIGMA PI SIGMA CHAPTERS

Section 1. Institutional Requirements for Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters

Clause 1. A Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter may exist only in colleges and universities which grant baccalaureate or higher degrees, which regularly offer such courses in physics as to constitute an undergraduate or graduate curriculum commonly called a “physics major” or its equivalent, and which are accredited by the appropriate national or recognized regional accrediting agencies.

Clause 2. At institutions, otherwise eligible for the establishment of a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter, where administrative regulations prohibit professional organizations, the Executive Committee may provide for a Society of Physics Students Chapter to function solely as a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter.

Clause 3. All Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters shall be designated by the official names of the institution in which they are located.

Section 2. Establishment of New Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters

Clause 1. Any Society of Physics Students Chapter, which meets the requirements to establish a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter, as specified in Clause 1 of Section 1 of this article, and which met those requirements at the time its charter for a Society of Physics Students Chapter was granted, may be granted a charter for a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter by arranging for the installation of its Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter with the Director of the Society of Physics Students.

Clause 2. Any Society of Physics Students Chapter, which meets the requirements to establish a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter, as specified in Clause 1 of Section 1 of this article, and which did not meet those requirements at the time its charter for a Society of Physics Students Chapter was granted, may apply for a charter for a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter. Such Society of Physics Students Chapters shall furnish all data required on the official questionnaire for petitioning groups. Approval of the Executive Committee shall be required to grant a charter for a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter to such Society of Physics Students Chapters.

Clause 3. New Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters shall be installed by one or more Sigma Pi Sigma members designated as Installing Officers by the Director of the Society of Physics Students. The procedure for the installation of Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters shall be specified by the Executive Committee.

Section 3. Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Bylaws

Ordinarily, the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter bylaws will be included in the Society of Physics Students Chapter bylaws so that separate Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter bylaws are not required. Chapter bylaws shall specify standards for the election of Sigma Pi Sigma members. If separate Sigma Pi Sigma bylaws are used, the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter bylaws and any amendments thereof must be submitted to the Director of the Society of Physics Students for approval and shall be in accordance with the Society of Physics Students Constitution and Bylaws.

Section 4. Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Administration

One of the Society of Physics Students Chapter officers, who is a Sigma Pi Sigma member, and the Chapter advisor shall be given specific responsibility for the affairs of the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter.

Section 5. Inactive Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters

A Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter which has been inactive for a period of two years or which has indicated its intention to cease to function may be declared officially inactive by the director. The Director of the Society of Physics Students shall have the power to declare a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter active again if and when, in the Director’s judgment, the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter demonstrates its ability to function satisfactorily.

Section 6. Withdrawal of a Sigma Pi Sigma Charter

Upon recommendation of the Director of the Society of Physics Students, the Executive Committee may withdraw a Sigma Pi Sigma charter. Withdrawal of a Sigma Pi Sigma charter shall be automatic for a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter which fails to satisfy the requirements of Section 1 of this article.

Section 7. Sigma Pi Sigma as a National Honor Society

The Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters shall constitute a national honor society, within the framework of the Society of Physics Students, comparable to the other organizations in the Association of College Honor Societies. The Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society policies shall be in accordance with the policies specified by the Association of College Honor Societies Constitution for a specialized honor society.

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ARTICLE VIII. SOCIETY OF PHYSICS STUDENTS MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Society of Physics Students Chapter Membership

Membership in the Society of Physics Students Chapters shall be open to all persons interested in physics. Any student either in or nearby the institution in which the Society of Physics Students Chapter is located, who shall have paid current dues both to the National Office of the Society of Physics Students and to the Society of Physics Students Chapter shall be a student member. Any other person who shall have paid current dues both to the National Office of the Society of Physics Students and to the Society of Physics Students Chapter shall be a non-student member. Any question about the definition of student status shall be resolved by the Advisor of the local Chapter.

Section 2. Society of Physics Students At-Large Membership

The Director of the Society of Physics Students is empowered to approve at-large memberships in the Society of Physics Students for all persons interested in physics who are not so situated that their membership would be handled normally by a Society of Physics Students Chapter.

Section 3. Dues, Fees, and Privileges of the Society of Physics Students Members

The Executive Committee may establish different dues, fees, and/or privileges for student and nonstudent Society of Physics Students members.

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ARTICLE IX. SIGMA PI SIGMA MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Individual Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

Classes of individual membership in Sigma Pi Sigma shall include (a) student, (b) alumnus, and (c) honorary.

Section 2. Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Membership

Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter membership shall include all student Sigma Pi Sigma members, either in or nearby the institution in which the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter is located, who are not active members of another Chapter. Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter membership also shall include alumni and Sigma Pi Sigma honorary members, either in or nearby the institution in which the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter is located, who pay Chapter dues and participate in Chapter activities. Sigma Pi Sigma members may transfer their membership to another Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter.

Section 3. Election to Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

Clause 1. A Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter may elect into its membership, regardless of membership in or affiliation with any other honor society, those students, faculty members and other qualified persons, either in or nearby the institution in which the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter is located, who attain its standards of high scholarship in physics and other subjects and who give evidence of professional merit, proficiency, and distinction. Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall be conferred in strict accordance with standards no lower than those established by the Society of Physics Students Constitution and the Association of College Honor Societies Constitution. The only basis of selection shall be the character and the professional or scholastic records of the candidate. Election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership is not restricted to physics majors or members of Society of Physics Students Chapters.

Clause 2. Undergraduate candidates (a) shall have completed at least the equivalent of three semesters or five quarters of full-time college work, (b) shall not rank lower than the upper one third of their college class in overall scholarship, and (c) shall have completed at least three semester courses or five quarter courses in physics, each of at least three credit hours or the equivalent, which may be credited toward a physics major. Chapter bylaws may specify higher minimum requirements for undergraduate candidates and also may specify the minimum scholastic standards for undergraduate candidates in terms of the local grading system. Graduate students of physics or closely related fields shall also be eligible for election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership. Graduate student candidates either (a) shall meet the requirements for undergraduate candidates, based upon their undergraduate records, or (b) shall have completed at least one year of graduate work, meeting departmental standards for satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree. Faculty members, research staff members, and other qualified individuals, either in or nearby the institution in which the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter is located, who are in physics or closely related fields, shall be eligible for election to Sigma Pi Sigma member- ship on the basis of their professional record.

Clause 3. The election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall be conducted by the active members of the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter. The Chapter advisor shall preside over the Sigma Pi Sigma member- ship nominating committee and shall appoint the Sigma Pi Sigma membership nominating committee from among the active Sigma Pi Sigma members. For institutions where there are no Sigma Pi Sigma members, the Director of the Society of Physics Students or the President of Sigma Pi Sigma may sanction procedures to elect persons to Sigma Pi Sigma membership in accordance with the Sigma Pi Sigma membership requirements specified in the Society of Physics Students Constitution.

Section 4. Sigma Pi Sigma At-Large Membership

The Director of the Society of Physics Students or the President of Sigma Pi Sigma is empowered to elect to Sigma Pi Sigma at-large membership qualified persons who are not so situated that their election into Sigma Pi Sigma membership would be handled normally by a Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter.

Section 5. Sigma Pi Sigma Alumnus Membership

A Sigma Pi Sigma member who is not a student shall be designated an alumnus member for life and shall have all the rights and privileges thereof, including those of a member of an affiliated society of the American Institute of Physics.

Section 6. Sigma Pi Sigma Honorary Membership

Clause 1. Any person who has attained noteworthy distinction at the national level in physics or closely related fields shall be eligible for election to Sigma Pi Sigma honorary membership, regardless of whether or not that person is already a Sigma Pi Sigma member.

Clause 2. Sigma Pi Sigma honorary members may be elected only by the Council upon Recommendation either by the Chapter into which the member is to be received or by a member of the Executive Committee.

Clause 3. Persons elected to Sigma Pi Sigma honorary membership shall have all the rights and privileges of other members of Sigma Pi Sigma, but they will not be required to pay any fees.

Section 7. Reception into Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

Each Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter shall use the official procedure for the reception of persons into Sigma Pi Sigma membership. Temporary changes in the procedure in individual cases may be sanctioned by the Director of the Society of Physics Students or the President of Sigma Pi Sigma. The official procedure shall be that approved by the Executive Committee.

Section 8. Alumni Contributions

Sigma Pi Sigma alumni members may be provided periodically with the opportunity to contribute to the Society. These contributions shall be voluntary, and failure to contribute shall in no manner alter the status of any Sigma Pi Sigma member. The policies for the arrangements for the solicitation and utilization of these funds shall be under the direction of the Executive Committee.

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ARTICLE X. AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION

Section 1.

Amendments to this Constitution, with the exception of Articles VII and IX, may be proposed by any member of the Council, by petition endorsed by at least five percent of the Society of Physics Stu- dents Chapters, or by petition signed by at least one hundred members of the Society of Physics Students. Proposed amendments shall be submitted to the Executive Committee, through the Director of the Society of Physics Students, for presentation to the Council. Copies of a duly proposed amendment shall be sent to the Council within fifteen days after it is received by the Director of the Society of Physics Students. A duly proposed amendment shall be presented at the first Council meeting held thirty or more days after its submission to the Executive Committee. A proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Society of Physics Students Chapters for mail ballot if (a) a majority of the Council so votes or (b) it is endorsed by at least ten percent of the Society of Physics Students Chapters or (c) it bears the signature of at least two hundred members of the Society of Physics Students. The mailing shall include a statement of the Council’s position regarding the proposed amendment. Adoption of a proposed amendment shall require (a) a favorable vote of a majority of all the Society of Physics Students Chapters or, failing that, of two thirds of the Society of Physics Students Chapters which return a ballot within one month after ballots are mailed and (b) ratification by the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics. A ratified amendment shall become effective upon notification of the Society of Physics Students Chapters.

Section 2.

Amendments to Articles VII and IX of this Constitution may be proposed by any member of the Council, by petition endorsed by at least five percent of the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters, or by petition signed by at least one hundred active members of Sigma Pi Sigma. Proposed amendments shall be submitted to the Executive Committee, through the Director of the Society of Physics Students, for presentation to the Council. Copies of a duly proposed amendment shall be sent to the Council within fifteen days after it is received by the Director of the Society of Physics Students. A duly proposed amendment shall be presented at the first Council meeting held thirty or more days after its submission to the Executive Committee. A proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters for mail ballot if (a) a majority of the Council so votes or (b) it is endorsed by at least ten percent of the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters or (c) it bears the signature of at least two hundred active members of Sigma Pi Sigma. The mailing shall include a statement of the Council’s position regarding the pro- posed amendment. Adoption of a proposed amendment shall require (a) a favorable vote of a majority of all the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters or, failing that, of two thirds of the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters which return a ballot within one month after ballots are mailed and (b) ratification by the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics. A ratified amendment shall become effective upon notification of the Society of Physics Students Chapters.

Adopted and as amended through November 5, 2000.

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Constitution Index

Amendments

to Articles VII & IX
to this Constitution

Associate Zone Councilor

Associate Councilor Representative

Bylaws

Collegiality

Committee Duties, Executive

Committee Membership, Executive

Council
Duties
Membership
President of the

Election to Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

Elections
Procedures

Elective Officers

Historian

Membership
SPS
Sigma Pi Sigma

Name

Objectives

Zone Councilors

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