Table of Contents

 

Student Organization Recognition Process

Students have the opportunity to submit applications at any time throughout the academic year. Provided these organizations meet and maintain the University’s requirements for recognition, the University is willing to provide them with certain benefits and privileges. However, student organizations are independent and distinct from the University of the South. The University’s recognition of, and provision of benefits and privileges to, a student organization does not mean that the organization is a unit of the University or controlled by the University.

  • Unrecognized​ ​or​ ​Non-University​ ​Organizations
    • Regulations for registered student organizations (RSO) and University-sponsored student organizations (USOs) require that they maintain local autonomy. This means that all policy decisions must be made without obligation to any parent organization. In this way, the independence and integrity of the University are maintained. From time to time, undergraduates raise questions about their membership in unrecognized or non-University organizations. It is important that students make well-informed decisions when considering membership in these organizations. Organizations such as Secret Societies or Ribbon Societies are not typically permitted to conduct any activity in University-owned facilities or access benefits of recognition by the University.
    • Becoming​ ​a​ ​Registered​ ​Student​ ​Organizations
      • The Student Government Association is the governing body of undergraduate students who recognize student organizations. Students interested in creating a new organization are required to prepare a proposal which can be found on the Student Government Association (SGA) Engage page linked here. 
        • The following items are needed to complete the proposal for a new organization:
          • Recruit a club adviser, namely a faculty (active or emeriti) or staff (full-time) member.
          • Draft a club constitution/charter that includes:
            • The nature and mission of the organization
            • Membership requirements
            • Leadership roles and responsibilities (including faculty/staff adviser)
            • Process for removal of someone in a leadership position and/or filling a leadership vacancy
            • Organization operation (how often to meet, policy for a quorum in a voting situation, etc)
            • Funding strategy and expected expenses
          • Once the above steps are completed, submit the above information through Engage.
          • Finally, the club leader should contact the Student Government Association (SGA) to officially present for “new club status”.
    • Once the application is completed, they will need to email the President of SGA to schedule a time to present for organizational recognition.
      • Student organization proposals are evaluated by the Student Government Association according to the following criteria:
        • Compliance with University policies (Use of the University name and Trademark, Student Organization Handbook, EQB Guide, and the University’s hazing policy, etc.)
        • Demonstrated non-duplication of the mission of previously recognized organizations and avoids clear similarity with another already-recognized student organization.
        • Clearly articulated objectives and goals of the proposed student organization.
        • Feasibility of funding the organization’s goals, projects, or publications.
        • Local autonomy of the organization. The criterion for local autonomy shall be whether the student organization makes all policy decisions without obligation to any parent organization, national chapter, or charter.
        • At least ten undergraduate members. All officers and a majority of the members must be registered undergraduates of the College of Arts and Sciences.
        • Adherence to the University’s non-discrimination policy.
        • Demonstrated benefit to the members, campus, and/or wider community.
        • Demonstrated need for recognition based on benefits provided to recognized organizations.
    • Once approved, your organization will need to create an Engage page that will include all of the information that was provided in your initial application. The recommendation of the SGA is sent for final approval to the Office of Campus Activities.
    • Students and student organizations also are expected to abide by the designated University policies and by the regulations as described in the Student Organization Handbook. The University expects student organizations to comply with all applicable regulations. If the Student Government Association or the Vice President for Student Affairs or their designee, determines that a student organization has failed to do so, it may revoke the organization’s charter.
  • Note on Prospective Club Sports
    • Club sports are made up of organizations that involve the learning or supporting of a physical skill, or to remain physically fit and active. Any organization that is athletically related can apply to be a club sport rather than an independent student organization. Similar to student organizations, Club Sports must create a constitution, develop a budget, and meet other requirements in order to be considered for recognition as described in the Club Sports Handbook. Once recognized, the Department of Athletics provides guidance, use of athletic facilities, minimal financial support, and an administrative framework for the operation of officially recognized club sports. Sewanee’s undergraduate club sports teams are student-initiated activities that require students to be responsible for organization, leadership, and decision-making.  

How To Ask Someone To Be My Advisor 

Student organizations are required to have an adviser who is an employee of the University and they are encouraged to find an adviser who holds a personal interest or professional expertise that relates to the organization he or she is advising. This requirement serves to promote student/staff/faculty interactions and allows faculty and staff to stay connected to students’ extracurricular lives. The organization should consult regularly with the adviser regarding its activities.

Simply having your adviser(s) sign the annual agreement saying that he or she will serve as your adviser is not harnessing the contributions that he or she might offer your organization. It is important for student organizations to select advisers who will help the organization meet its goals and provide guidance along the way. Each year, student organizations should determine what role they might want their advisers to assume for the upcoming period and to have a conversation with their advisers about these expectations. Similarly, each adviser may have their own expectations for the organization or for the role they are willing to play. It is a two-way street and both advisers and student organizations should ensure that they are well matched for one another and if not, to find a more appropriate fit. Your organization may select new advisers at any time. Please change your Engage page to reflect a new advisor. 

  • The following are questions that your organization may want to consider for selecting a faculty/staff adviser and that they may want to consider before serving as an adviser:
    • How much involvement is expected or needed?
    • How often does the organization meet and do you expect your adviser to be present for these meetings?
    • How many major activities does your organization execute each year?
    • How experienced are the officers of the organization?
    • What are some ways that your organization could use the advice of an adviser? Is there someone at the University who has particular interest or experience in this area?
    • What skills would your proposed adviser bring to the organization? How do these skills match those of your organization?
    • Are there areas in which you need specific assistance from your adviser and/or are there areas that are hands-off for your adviser?
    • If you want your adviser to let you know when they believe you are making a mistake as an organization, how do you want them to express this concern?
  • Expectations​ ​Advisers​ ​Should​ ​Have​ ​of​ ​Student​ ​Leaders
    • Student organizations should be sensitive and limit expectations placed on advisers; however, at the same time, it is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) that you involve your adviser in your activities. An adviser may be a hands-on director or simply an overseer, but the best balance lies somewhere between. Here are some possible expectations your advisers might have about working with your organization:
      • Give notices of meetings – You should always give notice of meetings to your advisers and try to include and invite their participation on a mutually agreed-upon level of involvement.
      • Develop relationships with officers – This will help communication flow easily and establish a base from which to work together.
      • Send invitations to events – Events are a great way to keep advisers informed. Try to give enough advance notice to allow advisers to plan to attend.
      • Consult on problems – advisers should be notified of problems. Their experience and knowledge could be invaluable in helping you to solve the issues productively and quickly.
      • Provide copies of minutes – advisers should regularly receive any document produced by your organization (e.g. minutes, agendas, etc.)
  • Expectations​ ​Student​ ​Organization​ ​Leadership​ ​Should​ ​Have​ ​of​ ​Advisers
    • Advisers should be familiar with the Student Organization Handbook and Engage to track organizational activities. In general, advisers are expected to:
      • Re-confirm their advisory capacity annually, during student organization re-registration at the start of each spring semester, using Engage.
      • Provide support to student leaders on University policy and procedures
      • To consult with student organizations on effective budget management
      • Report concerns about hazing, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any other University violation or concerning behavior. Reports can be made at http://www.sewanee.edu/student-life/dean-of-students-office/report-an-incident/

 

Engage Management Tools - Link coming soon!

 

Calendar of Important Dates for Student Organizations

  • AFC Funding Period
    • The Activities Fee Committee (AFC) funding period is an annual event where student organizations, new and returning, are able to apply for organizational funds for the next year.
    • This funding period occurs in the second half of the spring semester. During this period, students will fill out a form on Engage that should include all financial information, as well as supporting information, that will justify the amount that your organization is requesting. Once submitted, the Student Government Association’s (SGA) AFC Allocation Committee will determine how the funds will be allocated. You will receive an email about the amount awarded and the funds will be transferred into each account at the start of the fall semester. If you are unable to complete an AFC application, there will be an additional emergency funding period in the fall. 

  • Organization Re-Registration Period
    • Student organizations must update and verify their organization’s Engage page at the end of each Easter semester. Updates information includes the following:
      • A current version of their constitution and bylaws
      • A complete list of officers and members demonstrating that the student organization meets the requirements listed below during the re-registration process via Engage.
        • All officers and a majority of the members must be enrolled undergraduates in good standing with the College of Arts and Sciences.
        • There must be a minimum of five members in your organization. 
      • A signed commitment from your current advisor that they will continue to advise and support the student organization.
      • Acknowledgment of the University’s policies on hazing.
    • Should a student organization not meet the re-registration deadline, fail to turn in any of the registration documents, and/or not reconcile debts with outside vendors, then the student organization will be placed on probation. During the probationary period, the student organization will be unable to reserve space on campus, advertise for events, use the University name, access their funds, and/or participate in the visiting program or activity fairs.
  • Emergency AFC Funding
    • The Emergency Activities Fee Committee (AFC) funding period is where a limited amount of funding will be allocated to organizations who were unable to apply for funding in the Easter Semester. This occurs in the beginning of the Advent Semester.
    • During this period, student organizations will need to include all of their financial information, as well as supporting information, in their Engage applications to receive funding. The AFC allocation committee will meet and determine allocations. Once completed, you will receive an email about the amount awarded and funds will be transferred into your organization’s account within a couple of weeks.  
  • Typical Periods for Leadership Changeover and Elections
    • Turning over leadership roles are essential to the longevity of student organizations. Each organization is different, but there are some normal periods where organizations begin to turn over responsibilities. Please see the periods below:
      • Late November - Early December
        • This is a good time if you would like your organization to have leadership be consistent throughout the Easter semester and the following Advent semester. 
      • Late February - Early March
        • Many theme houses begin their application process during this time as the theme house selection process begins in mid-March. 
      • Late March - Early April
        • This is a good time because many seniors are beginning to transition out of their current roles and begin preparing for graduation. 
  • Recommended Member Recruitment Periods
    • Recruiting new members is one of the most important tasks an organization faces. With the high rate of turnover in collegiate settings, an organization must continually update its membership roster to include fresh minds and ideas. Organizations in good standing with the University can request a table at the campus-wide Activities Fair, held the first week of school every year. Effective organizational leaders spend time throughout the summer preparing for the Activities Fair, in addition to other recruitment activities beyond the activities fair.
    • It can often be useful for an organization to get in touch with a University department that parallels their own interests (arts organizations with the Art Department, science research organizations with various science departments, political organizations with the Politics Department). These formal departments are usually the first place new students will seek information about topics in which they are interested, so creating a partnership with the department can enable you to connect with students who already share a passion for your mission.