Ways to create a student organization
Creating a student organization at Colorado State University-Pueblo can be done in five steps and can benefit students in their future careers.
“Employers want to see that their employees are going to engage themselves in the work environment,” said Patty Witkowsky, director of Student Engagement and Leadership. “Being part of a student organization at CSU-Pueblo demonstrates that type of engagement.”
Witkowsky also said the faculty and staff that students meet while in an organization can become references for future employment.
The first step in the process of creating an organization is deciding the subject matter that will be the focus of the group.
According to the Student Organization Handbook, there are six categories of student organizations: academic, cultural, campus-life, honor society, specific interest and limited membership.
Academic groups, such as the art or psychology club “promote development in a particular area or discipline.”
PRIZM is a cultural organization that encourages and supports students’ interests in areas such as “race, background, personal identity, sexual orientation and gender.”
The anime club is considered a campus-life organization that provides social and media outlets for on-campus projects or causes.
Honor society organizations are affiliated with a national, professional, or academic society in a particular career or academic discipline. An example of an honor society organization is CSU-Pueblo’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta .
Specific-interest organizations such as the CSU-Pueblo Young Dems focus on general interest topics or social, political and religious issues.
Alpha Sigma Alpha is an example of a limited-membership organization which is affiliated with national fraternities and sororities recognized as Greek-letter.
Once the theme is decided, the creator of the organization needs to find four voluntary members who will act as the executive board. The board consists of a president, a vice president, a secretary and a treasurer, although the structure of the board could vary, according to the handbook.
The president is the “primary contact and face of the organization,” while the vice president acts as a fill-in for the president.
As described in the handbook, recording minutes and managing membership information are the responsibilities of the secretary. The treasurer is in charge of the organization’s spending and the management of incoming funds.
After creating the board and finding a faculty or staff member who will act as the organization’s adviser, a mission statement and a constitution need to be composed.
The mission statement provides the purpose, goals and ethical principles that the group adheres to. An example of a mission statement can be found in the handbook.
The constitution describes the group’s rules and how the organization will be governed, Witkowsky said. SEAL can provide an example of a constitution.
After the group creates the mission statement and constitution, the next step is to officially register the organization through OrgSync. Each board member must create an individual account in order to register the organization through OrgSync.
In order for a group to be registered, three minimum requirements must be met. A three-page Student Organization Registration Form, which can be found on the OrgSync Portal, must be filled out.
After the form is completed an organization must ensure that an updated constitution is on file with SEAL. At least one officer must attend a Student Organization Workshop every month.
The last step for a new organization is to secure money for itself. One way to do this is applying for a Student Organization Funding grant. This is not mandatory but is a good experience for student organizations, Witkowsky said.
The Student Organization Funding grants are available to registered student organizations at CSU-Pueblo as long as they meet certain requirements, which are listed in the handbook.
Money provided by the Student Organization Funding grants may be used for day-to-day expenditures, event programming, fundraising and travel funds. The rules, restrictions and amounts awarded for each use are provided in the handbook, as is the process of applying for Student Organization Funding grants.
When an organization is awarded an amount of money through the Student Organization Funding grants, the amount the organization actually receives depends on attendance at the student organization summits and trainings. Organizations are placed in a three level classification systems that is based on attendance at those training sessions.
The dates, times and locations of the summits and trainings can be found on the SEAL website under the Student Organization tab.
A description of the three levels and the amounts awarded in each classification is available on OrgSync in the 2013-2014 Student Organization Standing Policy.