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Campus Life

How to Start a New Student Organization

5 Easy Steps to Becoming a Recognized Student Organization

  1. Meet with the Center for Student Involvement
    • Email the Center for Student Involvement at CSI@otterbein.edu or call 614-823-3202 to set up an appointment.
    • Be prepared to talk about the purpose of your organization.
    • You must have an employee of Otterbein University willing to serve as your advisor.
  2. Submit a New Student Organization Petition
    • Submit your New Student Organization Petition to the Student Organization Development Committee of the Otterbein University Student Government.
    • Once reviewed and approved you will gain Pending Status for up to 12-months.
  3. Recruit members for your organization and select officers.
    • During this one year (maximum) probationary period you may function as a registered student organization.
    • You have one year to become fully registered and complete all of the registration requirements. Take your time and begin enacting the purpose of your organization.
  4. Final approval from the Student Organization Development Committee
    • Submit all required registration materials (and Charter Application) to the Student Organization Development Committee within 12-months.
    • Submit a Constitution for review and approval. (Please see the Student Organization Constitution Guidelines document for more information.)
    • Once the Constitution and registration requirements have been reviewed you may be asked to attend a Student Organization Development Committee Meeting to answer questions about your organization.
    • The Student Organization Development Committee may ask you to make revisions to your Constitution.
  5. Approval from Otterbein University Student Government
    • After the Student Organization Development Committee approves the Constitution and registration material, it will be sent to the Otterbein University Student Government for final approval.
    • Once these steps are complete you will be granted recognition as a student organization. In certain cases, the group may need approval of the Board of Trustees before recognition is granted. The advisors and the president of the considered group will receive notification of the decision. Please be advised the final approval or denial usually requires four to eight weeks from the date of submission.  

Student Organization Constitution Guidelines and Requirements

The Constitution will be the guide in a consistent and fair standard of consideration of new organizations and evaluating continuing organizations. The Student Organization Development Committee of the Otterbein University Student Government will use the following criteria as its guidelines in the review of new and edited Constitutions and consideration for the approval of new student organizations at Otterbein University.

All new constitutions must be typed and submitted to the Center for Student Involvement in a clear and precise form. Electronic submission in a Word document is required. 

Constitutions must include the following:
  1. The organization should have a name not presently used by any other recognized student organization.
  2. The purpose of the organization should be clearly stated.
  3. Officers' requirements and functions must be stated.
  4. Procedures for election of officers must be stated, and the voting margins of elections must be stated, i.e., simple majority or plurality.
  5. The organization must have one advisor that is an employee of Otterbein University.
  6. Meeting requirements must be stated (i.e., how many times a week, month, etc.).
  7. Attendance requirements must be specified. If there are no attendance requirements this must be stated as well.
  8. Expulsion requirements and procedures must be specified.
  9. Financial obligations of the members must be specified. If there are no financial requirements this must be stated as well.
  10. Processes for amendments to the constitution must be stated.
  11. The following sentence must be stated in the constitution, verbatim: Any student attending Otterbein University regardless of sex, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status is eligible for membership in this organization. *excludes social fraternities and sororities
  12. All organizations must be open to all students with the exception of the following classifications of groups, which are permitted to have eligibility requirements: Academic and Professional, Fraternities and Sororities, Honor Societies and Groups. The Student Organization Development Committee will determine if the organization's classification is proper.

Please refer to the Student Organization Constitution Guidelines for a full listing and description of the requirements, sample layout, and sample constitution.

Student Organization Policies

As part of the Otterbein University community, campus organizations represent and are considered accountable to the college. The college, in turn, is responsible for their actions. Therefore, all campus organizations as well as the individuals who compose the college community are expected to abide by the Otterbein University policies and regulations as they apply to them. Please read the Campus Life Handbook (PDF) for a full listing of organization policies.

  • All events sponsored by student organizations must be scheduled on the college calendar. Contact Student Affairs (823-1591) to schedule an event. You can also pick up calendaring policies and request forms from the Student Affairs Office.
  • Religious and Spiritual organizations must attend all Religious Life Council meetings. Please contact Chaplain, Judy Guion-Utsler for more information.
  • Campus sales and solicitations must follow the established guidelines found in the Campus Life Handbook (PDF).
  • Policies as they apply to alcohol and gambling should be considered and referred to as they affect decision-making within campus organizations. Please see the Campus Life Handbook (PDF) for these policies.
  • Some student organizations require students be enrolled full-time, having at least 12 hours of courses per term except graduating seniors. Please check with the respective organization to see if the organization requires full-time status.
  • Amended constitutions must be re-submitted to the Student Organization Development Committee for approval when the amendments have an effect on any of the constitution requirements or guidelines listed in the Student Organization Constitution Guidelines and Requirements document.
  • Student organizations must renew the status of their organization annually. The information needed for renewal includes online renewal form, leadership and membership roster, advisor agreement, and an updated constitution. Renewal requirements must be completed by the third Friday of fall term to receive benefits of continual renewal. Organizations that fail to do this will be considered "inactive" and will not receive the privileges afforded recognized groups.
  • The responsibility for seeing these and other University regulations are followed lies with the individual organization and failure to comply with University regulations may result in disciplinary action.

/ Center for Student Involvement

The Center for Student Involvement is located in the Campus Center.

Office Hours
Mon - Fri: 8:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Contact
Jennifer Bechtold
Director
e/ jbechtold@otterbein.edu
p/ 614.823.3202