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Want to start a student organization but don’t know the process?  

Here are some things to consider first:

Before beginning the process of starting a student organization, it is a good idea to consider the following questions:

  • Does the group's stated mission overlap with that of an existing student organization or Office of Student Engagement?
  • Are there adequate university resources to accommodate the group's activities, i.e. practice space, meeting space, storage space, office space?
  • Will programs be held on campus?
  • Do any university departments support the group's efforts?
  • Has the group made a concerted effort to determine if any existing programs offer similar services?
  • Are there any significant safety risks associated with the activities?
  • Is there a distinct benefit to GSW students from the existence of this group?
  • Does the group have an enduring purpose?
  • If associated with a national organization, is the GSW chapter’s agenda determined by the national organization?
  • If offering programs to non-GSW individuals, does the group have a plan for training its members on ways to provide quality services?

After you have considered these questions and determined that your idea does lend itself to the creation of a new student organization, you can view a detailed description of the recognition and chartering process, as well as the necessary forms, on the Campus Life website. One important step in the recognition process is the writing of your organization’s constitution. Tips for successfully completing this step can be found in the section on Writing a Constitution.

One last note: limited-time projects, personal business endeavors, and other similar enterprises may function without becoming a student organization. For example, a two-week long class project, which involves teaching elementary school students about the history of the Triangle area, would not need to become a student organization. Student organizations need to have a purpose that is ongoing, is not already adequately addressed by other organizations, has significant interest amongst GSW students, requires the continual recruitment of new members, is not-for-profit, and fills a niche within the GSW and local communities.

8 Step Process of Starting a New Student Organization

  1. Hold an interest meeting with fellow student members to find out how much interest there is on the campus of GSW (use the guidelines on deciding whether or not to start said organization). A good rule of thumb is to have at least 7 members in your new organization.
  2. Set up a one-on-one meeting with the Student Activities Coordinator to discuss all avenues of starting a new organization.
  3. Find a faculty or staff advisor to work with your organization.
  4. Write a constitution and/or by-laws for new organization.
  5. Complete the Petition for Recognition Packet located on Canes Connect under campus links.
  6. When completing your Petition for Recognition Packet, you will need to submit an organization roster, minutes of first meeting, and constitution and bylaws in this packet on Canes Connect. The Student Activities Coordinator will submit all information to the Faculty for Student Affairs committee and email you when the materials have been reviewed. If there are any questions, concerns, or changes that need to be made in order to approve the organization, the Student Activities Coordinator will correspond with you to make sure your organization understands what needs to be updated in order to receive official recognized organization status.  
  7. Should there be additional questions or concerns from the faculty committee on Student Engagement, a hearing may be necessary to answer questions and defend said organization.
  8. If everything is acceptable with your Petition for Recognition and there are no changes to be made from materials submitted in the petition packet, you will receive a congratulations letter from the Student Engagement committee and Student Activities Coordinator congratulating you on your new organization. Your newly founded organization then will need to register on Canes Connect with updated information concerning your roster and organization information.

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