Establishing a New Student Organization
Procedure for Recognition
Becoming a Senate-recognized organization has many benefits. Organizations have the opportunity to receive funding, reserve facilities on campus and receive communications about pertinent campus information. Senate recognition also establishes the organization as an important part of the Wittenberg community. In previous cases, Senate has advocated for student organizations. Additionally, student organizations receive the support of Student Senate and the Office of Student Involvement in organizational and financial concerns.
There are several items that a new organization needs before making the formal request for Student Senate recognition:
• The Student Senate Vice President is the contact for emerging organizations
• To be recognized, an organization must have at least two members , including at least two officers: 1) a person in charge of finances and 2) a person who shall officially represent the organization when needed.
Below is a rough outline of the process for recognition :
Step #1 : Review the organization registration guidelines described in section two of this guidebook and make sure that your proposed group will operate within them.
Step #2 : Obtain an Organization Registration Form from Student Involvement or from the appendices at the end of this guidebook.
Step #3 : Develop a mission statement.
Step #4 : Write a constitution for the organization.
Step #5 : Select officers and an adviser for your organization.
Step #6 : Turn in your completed organization registration form, mission statement, constitution, and a current membership list to the Office of Student Involvement.
Step #7 : Present your proposal to Student Senate. More information about this is presented in section five of this handbook.
Once your organization is recognized by Senate, you may then request a funding allocation. This request should be made separately from the request for recognition.
Developing a Mission Statement
A mission statement explains the objectives and purposes of a group. It characterizes the organization. It can be included in the organization's constitution or it can be a separate document.
Please consider this example of a mission statement:
"The purpose of the Wittenberg University College Aliens is to provide cultural, educational, recreational, and social programming that appeals to the interests of the Wittenberg University community; to aid in the development of leadership; to educate earthlings about Alien traditions; and to promote closer relationships among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Springfield community."
Writing a Constitution and By-laws
Any organization must have procedures by which to conduct its business. A constitution and by-laws are effective ways of establishing those procedures. The constitution and by-laws are traditionally two separate documents. The constitution sets forth the general principles creating the organization, membership, and officer responsibility. The by-laws describe in more detail the procedures to be followed for meeting, decision-making, officer selection, and financial transactions. Generally, recognized student organizations are of a size that only calls for a constitution.
The following is a suggested outline for information to be included in a constitution:
Article I The name of the organization.
Article II The purpose of the organization.
Article III The membership of the organization, including (1) categories of membership, such as active or associate, and the rights and privileges of each; (2) qualifications and eligibility including provisions for application, acceptance and termination; and (3) membership dues and collection procedures.
Article IV The officers and adviser of the organization, specifying each office including (1) their titles; (2) their responsibilities and authority; (3) their terms of office; and (4) procedures for their election, removal, and filling of vacancies.
Article V The meetings of the organization, including (1) the time for regularly scheduled meetings; (2) procedures for calling special meetings; (3) required notice of meetings; and (4) quorum, order of business and disposition of minutes.
Article VI The administrative board, cabinet or executive council of the organization, which may be entrusted with any administrative authority and responsibilities.
Article VII The committees of the organization, including the process of appointment, responsibilities and reporting.
Article VIII The parliamentary practice to which questions will be referred.
Article IX The procedure for making amendments, including advance notifications, number of readings, and required vote for adoption.
How to Find an Adviser
Each Senate-recognized organization is required to have a faculty or staff adviser. Advisers are important because they provide continuity and perspective over time. Advisers may be any full-time faculty or staff persons at Wittenberg. Look for advisers in the area in which your organization operates, i.e. the Cricket Club's adviser might be a professor who teaches the class or a staff member who works at the HPERC. Don't be afraid to ask someone to be your group's adviser. Often times, he or she would be happy to serve and would enjoy interacting with students outside of classes.
When choosing an adviser, be sure to inform the faculty or staff person of your group's expectations. Find out what your adviser expects of you, too. Please see section six of this guidebook for a list of suggested responsibilities for student organization advisers.
The voluntary association between an adviser and an organization should continue as long as both parties believe the relationship is productive and mutually satisfying. Students are responsible for facilitating communication between the adviser and the organization.
How to Make a Presentation to Senate
The last step in the Senate-recognition process for a new student organization is making a presentation during a weekly Senate meeting. The procedure for scheduling and making a Senate presentation is as follows:
1. Call the Student Senate president at least 48 hours before the meeting and request a place on the meeting agenda. Special consideration can be made in the agenda to resolve any scheduling conflicts that may arise for the individuals making the presentation.
2. The president or another officer should make the presentation, if at all possible. Otherwise, be sure to send a well-informed member of the organization.
3. If you have handouts, come prepared with 19 for Senate and one for The Torch .
4. Make your presentation as informative and concise as possible.
5. Be prepared to answer questions about who is eligible for membership, what types of activities the group will hold, how the organization differs from existing student organizations, etc.
6. Senate runs its meetings according to parliamentary procedure (Robert's Rules of Order), which means that a decision on recognition for your group requires two meetings for a deciding vote . It is possible to ask Senate to suspend parliamentary procedure to consider the issue and make a decision in just one meeting, but this should be done only in emergency situations. Inform the Senate president before the meeting if your intention is to ask to suspend parliamentary procedure. Suspension of parliamentary procedure cannot be guaranteed.
7. Under normal parliamentary procedure, your presentation is considered the first reading of the issue. Then, your issue will be considered during Old Business at the next meeting at which time it will be open to motions and a deciding vote. It is advantageous to send a representative to the second meeting to field any additional questions.