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ACM Student Chapter Manual: Part 1

Purpose of this Manual

The Student Chapters Program of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) was formed to introduce students to an educational and scientific Association and to develop the habit of professional growth achieved through participation in local Chapters. The purposes of the Student Chapters Manual are:

  • to provide student chapter officers with a resource for answering questions about ACM and the benefits of student membership
  • to describe the role and structure of a student chapter,
  • to explain the support and services available from ACM,
  • to offer suggestions for a range of activities possible for a student chapter,
  • to provide a single resource of useful information for the formation and operation of a student chapter.

Each ACM student chapter is issued a copy of the Manual. It is helpful for the faculty sponsor and all chapter officers to be familiar with its contents. Following each election, the outgoing chair will pass the Manual, along with other chapter records, to the new chair.

History of this Manual

This Manual is the cumulative work of many people. The idea for the Student Chapter Manual originated with Dr. James R. Oliver, who chaired the Subcommittee on Student Chapters from 1961 to 1964, and who was subsequently named the first Chair of the ACM Committee on Student Membership and Chapters. He served until 1966, when Dr. Leland H. Williams accepted the position.

The subsequent chairs, Dr. Gary Carlson (1968-1970), Dr. Willard Gardner (1970-1972), Dr. Donald Hartford (1972-1974), and Dr. Barry J. Bateman (1974-1978), added refinements.

As you use this Manual in the formation and operation of a student chapter of the ACM, please pass along suggestions, comments, or ideas by writing to

The Association for Computing Machinery

The Association for Computing Machinery was founded in 1947 as the society for computing and information processing. Its purposes, as set forth in its Constitution, are as follows:

  • To advance the sciences and arts of information processing including, but not restricted to, the study, design, development, construction, and application of modern machinery, computing techniques and appropriate languages for general information processing, for scientific computation, for the recognition storage, retrieval, and processing of data of all kinds, and for the automatic control and simulation of processes.

  • To promote the free interchange of information about the sciences and arts of information processing both among specialists and among the public in the best scientific and professional tradition.

  • To develop and maintain the integrity and competence of individuals engaged in the practice of the sciences and arts of information processing. ACM chapters exist as a means of achieving those purposes, and to serve the computing and information processing community, and the public, at the local level. Through technical meetings and lectures, chapters promote the free interchange of information among their members and the larger community in which they serve. Through workshops, chapters help develop and maintain the competence of computing and information processing personnel in their area. ACM chapters encourage membership and participation in the Association at its international level, and they also serve as a training ground for members who wish to become involved in the volunteer management of the Association.

Chapters provide a range of activities and services including talks by local practitioners, visits from prominent speakers on the ACM Distinguished Lectureship Program circuit, technical and career workshops, field trips to computing installations, and social activities.

This handbook is intended as a general reference guide for officers of all student chapters of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). It is not intended as a model for the organization or operation of your local group. Each Chapter is encouraged to develop in the manner best suited to its own environment.

All chapter officers are volunteers and, when assuming office, are sometimes unsure how to accomplish the goals and fulfill the responsibilities of that office. This manual will help provide ideas to help all chapters operate more effectively, and to encourage participation of the entire chapter membership in the management and planning.

Why Should a Student Join ACM?

There are a number of immediate benefits:

  • Sharply reduced membership dues. Student membership is subsidized by the Association, resulting in a discount of up to 70%.
  • Reduced rates for subscription to all ACM publications.
  • Special student membership rates in the ACM Special Interest Groups.
  • Reduced rates on conference registration. Student members are eligible for low rates at national, regional, and topical meetings sponsored by the Association.

Student membership in the ACM affords some less obvious benefits as well. Membership yields insight into computing as a science and a profession. Various publications and conferences keep students informed of state-of-the-art developments and allow them to meet and observe accomplished professionals from all areas of the industry. Participation in a professional organization is also prima-facie evidence of serious interest and dedication.

To find out more about membership in ACM, please visit the ACM student member website.

ACM Headquarters Contact Information

Name Title E-mail
Samantha Goldberg Local Activities Coordinator
Donna Cappo Director, Office of SIG Services
Russell Harris Director of Finance
Wayne Graves Director of IS

ACM Headquarters Support Services:

Membership Promotion

The headquarters office can help chapters planning ACM membership drives by providing the following:

  • Membership Applications
  • Membership Brochures
  • Publications Catalogs
  • SIG Reference Guides
  • ACM plastic bags for use in conferences, etc.
  • Samples of ACM major publications and SIG newsletters
  • ACM logo in camera-ready or electronic format


ACM headquarters would welcome the opportunity to publicize newsworthy events. MemberNet is a quarterly newsletter of ACM news, which is sent to all ACM members along with their issues of Communications of the ACM. Items of wide interest may be submitted for publication by contacting the Local Activities Coordinator.

Pressure-sensitive labels for ACM members in your geographic are can also be obtained by contacting the Local Activities Coordinator.

Some examples of newsworthy items include the following:

  • Important joint meetings with other societies
  • Renowned speakers
  • Local conferences/workshops/seminars
  • Special awards or recognition
  • Scholarships
  • Contests/competitions

Recognition of Service Certificates

Recognition of service certificates for outgoing ACM Professional chairpersons who have served at least one year in office will be issued free of charge upon written request. Certificates for other officers will be issued on a cost recovery basis. The cost is $19.00 per certificate. These certificates are signed by the ACM President and Secretary. Send your request to

Depository for Bylaws

Headquarters coordinates the initial processing of petitions and bylaws for new chapters as well as bylaw amendments with the Membership Services Board, and issues a Certificate of Charter when a chapter is chartered. Copies of each chapter's bylaws are kept on file at Headquarters, and are available upon request.

Financial Guidance

Each chapter is required to submit a statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements every year. The Local Activities Coordinator can answer most general questions about the form, as well as other basic questions regarding financial management. All inquiries from the IRS to the chapter should be directed to the ACM Director of Finance. Any chapter desiring to solicit funds of more than $5,000 cash or equivalent goods or services from a single source must obtain in advance the approval of ACM's Chief Operations Officer. Solicitations of donations of small magnitude for a specific goal of a specified time do not require approval.