Working on a group project, sticking to a workout routine and planning out a road trip all take planning and work from all members of a group. Starting a student organization is no different.
Two new student organizations, Urban Arts Crew and Help Heal Haiti, were officially recognized at the Oct. 10 Student Government Association assembly meeting.
But their process started long before assembly.
“For a student organization to be created, it needs to be student-driven,” said Caroline Huck-Watson, PULSE Office Director, said.
She said occasionally an organization will call and want to add a chapter on campus, but students must be the ones who motion toward the application for the new organization.
“The passion needs to be in the students,” she said.
There are a few requirements that must be met before applying for a new organization: there must initially be four interested students, who will become the officers of the organization; there must be a full-time faculty or staff member as the advisor of the organization; and the officers must create a constitution.
Once the constitution is created, the officers must meet with Huck-Watson to review it and go over anything that might need revising.
“The constitution should guide the group,” Huck-Watson said.
After the student organization has met with the Pulse Office Director, they must e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org their constitution.
The members then arrange for the interested group to make a short presentation with all of the SGA executive officers at their weekly meeting. When a group makes their presentation to the organization, they must explain what the purpose and role of the organization is.
After the presentation, there are three possibilities for the outcome.
If SGA decides to endorse the organization, the SGA president, PuLSE office director, and the dean of student life must all sign the approval section of the application.
“This means that the organization may begin functioning as an official organization and start fundraising and holding events like a true organization,” Huck-Watson said.
Sometimes SGA decides to make the decision pending, which means the organization needs to make some changes or SGA is in need of more information regarding the group.
The last possibility for the organization is disapproval. If this happens, the organization can motion to overturn the decision at SGA Assembly.
It normally takes a week or two for the whole process to be completed.
“The process depends on how many new student organizations are trying to be endorsed at the time,” said Kelsa Reynolds, SGA vice president of operations board. “The earlier in the year students start the application process, the earlier they will be able to meet and present to the executive officers.”
The process, however, seemed quite tedious according to sophomore media, rhetoric and culture major Kate Siegfried, who is a member of the new organization Help Heal Haiti.
“It took us a full semester of fairly extensive meetings to gather students who were interested in starting Help Heal Haiti, figure out how we were going to organize the organization, elect an executive board, and coordinate everything logistically to start the organization,” Siegfried said.
Siegfried also said when her group was ready to present the organization to SGA, the association wasn’t accepting any organizations at that time. This meant that the group had to wait out the summer to present their organization.
“We were all a little disappointed at first, but it gave us the summer to get even more prepared and organized for the coming school year, so it’s all worked out,” she said. “I think there were points of frustration for all of us, where starting this organization seemed like an almost unattainable goal, but every member of the executive board stayed dedicated and continued to put in the necessary work.”
In April, there is a re-recognition process that each organization must go through. In the fall, there is a required meeting for the presidents of each organization, and at the end of each semester, a report is required that explains what the group has been up to.
There are 150 student organizations on campus. If a student wants to become involved but doesn’t quite know where to start, the PuLSE office can help.
Huck-Watson said the PuLSE has a database dedicated to the student organizations, allowing them to refer back to the different organizations when a student expresses interest.
Steven Han, a sophomore pharmacy major and a founding member of the Urban Arts Crew, has advice for students interested in starting their own organization.
“Prove to the administration that your group has interest from students, will last long, and will contribute something to campus, and you are well on your way to starting your organization,” he said. “If you are passionate about it, then it will happen.”
Reynolds said this year’s student leader involvement has become very invigorating.
“Right now it is a very exciting time of the year,” said Reynolds. “We have multiple student leaders stepping up to the challenge of wanting to create a new student organization on campus.”
“These leaders have found other students on campus who have the passion and desire to not only make a difference on campus in the Butler community but also potentially making a difference around the world.”