Are you looking to start a new club or organization on your college campus? This guide explains how to launch a new organization in five simple steps.
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A huge part of college is student life.
It’s the flip side of the academic journey. Student life offers young people the opportunity to discover who they are and how they want their lives to look post-college.
One of the things student life offers is the ability to develop organizations and clubs on campus.
If you’re wondering how to start a new student organization, this guide will walk you through the process.
Before Creating a New Student Organization
Are you hoping to create a new student organization at your college?
If so, consider these three vital questions first, as they’ll show you whether your plan is doable or not:
What’s the Organization’s Goal?
This question addresses the primary purpose of your organization — its mission and goals. First, figure out where you want to take your idea and what needs it’ll serve.
Say you want to start an organization centered around environmental conservation. Your mission is to help make the world a better and cleaner place. Figure out how you intend to do that.
Is There Interest in the Subject?
Once you’ve established the goal of your organization, look for interest in the topic. Start by carrying out a little study around campus to see how students react to your idea.
Remember, no matter how great your vision is, it’s all over before it even starts if no one’s interested. So this is where you sell your idea.
Are There Any Other Groups Like It?
There can’t be duplicate groups on campus. Your institution most likely won’t allow it. Therefore, you must go through all the groups already on campus to make sure your idea is 100% original.
How To Create a New Student Organization
Once you have an idea in mind, follow these steps to launch your new student organization:
1. Get People on Board
Now, it’s time to get other students on board.
You have a great idea, and even more important, you have the whole structure on paper. That’s something people can get behind on, a fully-formed vision with a clear roadmap.
Talk to your friends or classmates to secure a team of students. It could be ten or fewer. Different institutions have varying minimum membership requirements for starting an organization.
You haven’t applied yet.
So you don’t need to recruit an entire group of interested members right now. For now, the goal is to recruit enough members to meet the bare minimum and move on to the next stage.
2. Elect Main Officials
Most student life boards recommend a functional structure in place as you apply for recognition.
One of the first things on your to-do list is assigning roles within your organization.
Allow your members to vote for and elect officials, such as a president and a secretary. This step can be for the sake of paperwork in the meantime. You can do a proper election much later.
The role of the president should go to the central figure of the organization. This person presides over the group and represents it on and off campus.
You also need a secretary to be in charge of meetings, events, and recording minutes.
Two officials are usually ideal for the time being. But other institutions may ask you to fill more official roles, such as that of treasurer.
3. Draft Bylaws
With official roles assigned, you may go ahead and draft bylaws. Also known as the constitution, these are essential guidelines set in place to govern the activities of your association and its members.
Generally, you’ll need to create a constitution before proceeding with registration.
Meet up with key members to discuss policies and procedures that would benefit the organization. Then write down the bylaws and have everyone sign them.
Bylaws vary depending on the type and purpose of the organization.
But some of the things to touch on include:
- Time and duration of meetings
- Official operations
- Expected benefits
4. Secure an Endorsement
It’s common for campus organizations to have support from a member of the faculty or one of the administrators.
Even if this step doesn’t apply at your school, it’s worth considering. Getting someone within the school administration to support your cause and fill the advisor role is a huge bonus.
Having a member of the administration as an advisor boosts the growth of your organization.
5. Complete the Registration Process
Usually, student life offices have forms you’ll fill out once you’ve completed the needed steps in the application process.
As the president of your organization, you’re in charge of submitting the paperwork to the student body in charge of student affairs.
What Happens After Registration?
Completing the registration process is not the end of it.
But from here on, what happens is out of your hands.
Someone from student affairs will want to meet with your organization’s officials to discuss the application and the organization.
From there, you’ll need to prepare for the presentation, where you’ll present your idea before a committee in charge of student organizations.
That committee usually consists of both students and staff members. These folks have the power to either approve or decline your proposal.
That sums up all you need to know about creating a new student organization on campus. Once you receive approval, you’ll get an official college organization status.
From there, your work begins.
You can go ahead and start recruiting more members, plan an orientation to brief everyone about what the group is all about, and more.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Flagstaff to help them with their online marketing.