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October 01, 2010
Vol. 52 No. 4

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Creating campus club serves student interests

Do you have an interest that you would like to turn into an on-campus club or organization? The process may be much easier than you think.

In order to make a legitimate, campus-acknowledged club or organization, you must first go to Campus Activities Coordinator Elizabeth Winger.

Winger said her job is to "keep track of organizations on campus and to create co-curricular transcripts for students."

She said she tries to find clubs for students to participate in that are meaningful for them.
Winger said in order to begin the process, the student would need at least five members.
According to the Student Government Association (SGA), the first step is to write a constitution. The constitution must include the group's purpose, which must prove that the club is "beneficial to the campus community and club members" and contributes to the "educational mission of the University." It must also include membership guidelines, such as an anti-discrimination rule and a membership rule, which states that members have "no other requirement other than ability to attend meetings." Clubs may include faculty, staff, alumni and their spouses as members if they wish.

The constitution must name a minimum of two student offices of president and treasurer, which may only be held by full-time students.

Finally, the constitution must include guidelines detailing annual elections, a faculty adviser, how constitutions and by-laws may be changed and guidelines for registration.
According to SGA, the next step is to fill out the Organizational Recognition Form and turn it in to Winger.

After that, the next step is to hand in the constitution to SGA's Parliamentarian, sophomore Mitchell Lion, and arrange when the new club's leadership will present to the senate, seeking recognition. The presentation will be based around the club or organization's constitution and will require leaders to emphasize the club's purpose and how the club would differentiate from other campus clubs. Club leaders will also be required to answer questions from the senate.

If the senate votes in favor of recognition of the club, leaders will need to send out an all-campus mailer to indicate when and where your first meeting is.

According to Winger, if the first meeting is successful, the club will begin to receive funding from SGA and Student Activities.

Winger said students also have the opportunity to create a club within an existing club. For example, junior Gabrielle Tomkins created Belly Dance Circle under the umbrella of SU Dance Corps.

Winger said this makes the process easier because it does not require as many steps.
Sophomore Alex Guarco is familiar with the process of starting a new organization. Last year he started SU Slam, a performance poetry group, with the help of sophomore Julie Brown.

Guarco said: "Starting the group itself wasn't too difficult. Beth Winger really made the process smooth and painless. She was more than willing to help out with any of the dilemmas that came up."

Guarco said starting his own club and running meetings every week allowed him to grow up in ways that he didn't expect. He added that it took a lot of preparation and leadership skills to make the club a success.

Guarco also noted that starting a club and becoming the president was a résumé booster.
Other clubs created recently include the Anime and Manga Association and Model United Nations.

Guarco said, "Creating a new group is turning out to be one of the most rewarding things I've done here at SU."

Start something: how to form your own on-campus organization

1. Write a constitution. It has to include your club's purpose and cite how it will benefit the campus community, as well as membership guidelines. pick a president and a treasurer. These positions can only be held by full-time students. Make guidelines in your constitution about elections, a faculty adviser, how club decisions will be made and guidelines for registration.

2. Fill out the Organizational?Recognition Form. Turn it into Campus Activities Coordinator Elizabeth Winger when you're finished.

3. Get officially recognized by the Student Government Association. Hand in the constitution to SGA Parliamentarian Mitchell Lion. Decide when your club will present to the senate to seek recognition. If the senate votes in favor of your club, send out a mailer to the whole campus to let everyone know when your first meeting is. If the first meeting goes well, you'll get funding from SGA.


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