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How to Start a New Club or Organization
Forming a Student Organization is not as complicated as you may have heard it to be. There are several steps that you have to complete before you can be recognized as an established organization. The steps can be easily followed because they are all connected and flow together making the process of forming an organization accomplishable in approximately one week. This handbook is designed to explain those steps in detail so that after having read it, you have all the information necessary for forming an organization. The above mentioned steps are:
1. Conducting an Organization Meeting
If these six steps are followed as specified below, you will have no problems in getting your organization started. If you run into any problems while in this process, you should make an appointment to see the Assistant to the Director of the Student Center/Activities to discuss them.
When an individual or group of students is interested in forming an organization, they should advertise to the total University Community that there will be a meeting for anyone interested in belonging to the specific organization. You must be aware that any organization is open to all registered Eastern students who want to join it. A temporary secretary should be selected to take minutes at this meeting. At the meeting it is important to explore the interests of the group so that you can formulate what the purpose of the organization will be. Once you have agreed to a statement that best describes what the functioning purpose of the organization will be, you put it in writing on the signature authorization form. This same part is also noted in the constitution.
There is no specific format for the Constitution. Each organization’s constitution is as different and unique as the many organizations themselves. The following is a list of sections or articles that are usually contained in a constitution:
1. Name of Organization
When the constitution is completed, the members must vote to ratify the Constitution and this has to be done by 2/3 vote. A record of this ratification should be kept in a set of minutes that a temporary secretary kept for the organizational meeting(s).
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Officers for your organization have to be elected according to the guidelines set forth in your constitution. You are not required to have the traditional President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, but your officers should be able to handle the same functions. Officers should be dependable and responsible students that are willing to put in a little extra time so that the organization will run smoothly. Officers are the backbone of an organization so be careful to select the people that will best meet your needs. To hold an office, a student must have a minimum 2.0 or better cumulative grade point average.
SELECTION OF AN ADVISOR
An advisor is determined to be an employee of the University and not a student. When selecting an advisor, you should consider persons who have training in the areas that the club focuses on. If it is a Jogging Club, then perhaps it would be best to select someone form the Physical Education Department who specializes in jogging. It’s always best to do so, but in cases where this is impossible, you should try to select someone who will best meet the organization’s needs. This person is responsible to attend all meetings and activities sponsored by the organization and should be readily available for advice, and to sign appropriate forms.
Once the Advisor has been selected, you should then fill out the Authorized Signature Form.
The Authorized Signature Form was designed to allow the Student Activities Office and the Student Activities Business Office (SABO) to know exactly which club members of the organization are allowed to sign papers for the organization. The majority of signatures will be needed when the organization is going to spend some of their funds, therefore, it is mandatory that documents are countersigned by the advisor so that other individuals can be aware of what is going on with the organization’s funds. In the event of a vacancy, new Signature Authorization forms should be completed.
THE FINAL STEPS
Once all the forms have been completed and approved, the Officers of the group are required to meet with the Assistant to the Director of Student Center/Activities to discuss them. The Assistant to the Director will review them to insure that they contain nothing that violates any University policies, State or Federal Laws, the Assistant to the Director of Student Center/Activities will approve and forward them to the committee assigned to fund the Organization (Budget and Management). If the forms are not approved, the group will be asked to review the items in question and resubmit them when corrected.
When all the forms have been approved, they will be forwarded to Budget and Management, who will further review them for violations of University policies, State or Federal Laws. If no violations are found, Budget and Management will in the form of a committee motion present the organization for approval to the Student Government Association at its next scheduled meeting.
The organization has the right to and is encouraged to be present at both the Budget and Management and the SGA meetings to defend or clarify their purpose.
In addition to the normal procedures of forming a regular student organization there are several steps that have to be completed before an organization can be recognized as an established Sports Club. Following student activities procedures, the organization must be recognized by the Student Senate, funded by the Budget and Management Committee of SGA, but instead of just reporting to the Director of Student Center /Activities, it will also report to the Director of Athletics or designee who will directly supervise the sports club. A sports club is defined as “any organization whose purpose is to practice, play, and/or compete in athletics with other institutions on and/ or off the campus that does not have Varsity Sport status. This section is designed to help explain the steps in detail so that after having read it the organization has all the information necessary for forming a sports club.
It is important to note that while the Student Government Association may have approved the establishment of a student organization it does not guarantee the University and the Department of Athletics are required or able to provide facilities and or fields for the club sport which it does not possess or have access to.
1. Establishing a club sport. The base criteria to consider a Club Sport for recognition are:
a. An expressed interest by students for an athletic activity which is not available at the intercollegiate varsity level.
b. Appropriateness of activity for the University.
c. A qualified coach is approved by the Athletic Director or designee.
d. A designated Club Advisor.
e. Competitive and physical activity involving competition with other teams on a club or collegiate level which holds progressive competition.
f. Appropriate clothing and equipment to participate in a safe and effective manner. All equipment must be approved and certified by (or in consultation with) the Athletic Director or designee prior to its use. All athletic equipment must conform to NCAA Standards for that sport when appropriate. For sports that are not recognized or sanctioned by the NCAA, clubs will conform to the rules and regulations as set forth by the official governing agency for that sport. Copies of current rules and regulations can be attained from the NCAA website or from the official website governing that sport. It will be the responsibility of the Coach to ensure that equipment meets appropriate safety standards before each practice and or game.
1) Adequate facilities are available for practice and competitions. (space must be approved by a University Administrator)
Sports Clubs are responsible for purchasing/providing their own equipment, uniforms, and all materials necessary for practice and competition. The Athletic Department does NOT FUND, nor provide equipment for Sports Clubs.
g. An understanding that the club does not conflict with varsity and sub varsity programs.
h. A team roster consist of enough players to field a team with at least 20% of the roster available as replacement players.
2. Disestablishing a club sport.
The base criteria to disestablish a club sport are:
a. The club sport no longer warrants continued operation.
b. A varsity sport is established in the same sport.
c. The club forfeits more than three contests because it cannot field enough roster players.
d. The club fails to submit required reports.
e. A team fails to practice on scheduled practice days.
f. The Club averages less than 75% attendance of its roster during practices and games.
g. A coach and or Advisor are not available.
The following steps are the responsibility of the Club Captain/President
1. Outline the need for facility usage (practices and games), equipment, travel, etc. Adhere to the practice parameters established by the University ( not to exceed 8 hours/week of official practice)
2. Research the scope of competition possibilities for the club. Things to consider are: who will play and what league (if any) the club will compete in.
3. Submit a roster to the Athletic Director or designee which contains the names, campus and home addresses, and phone numbers of all students who intend to participate in the club. Follow up with any part time students to ensure that he/she has purchased the appropriate liability insurance to participate.
If any problems occur while in the above process, an appointment to see the Athletic Director or designee is to be made.
SELECTION OF AN ADVISOR
An advisor MUST be a full-time employee of the University. This person is responsible for attending all campus events sponsored by the organization, inclusive of home contests and is responsible for scheduling security, crowd control, and adherence by the group to University policies and regulations. The Advisor should be readily available to sign appropriate forms and offer advice when needed.
A request should be developed for each season explaining the need for the use of the campus facilities. Some questions to think about: What is the competition season? When, where and how often will the club practice? When, where and how often will it compete? What kind of equipment will you need? Club Sports will practice and compete only on facilities designated and approved by the Athletic Director or designee. The Club will submit a facility request form with their advisor’s signature well in advance (minimum of two week’s notice) of the requested practice/competition date. The Athletic Director has the right and responsibility to determine the playability of all Eastern facilities and may cancel any practice/competition based on weather and field conditions. ANY off-campus facility use MUST be approved by the Director of Student Activities or his/her appointee?
Each sport must have a coach who satisfies the following conditions.
The Club will submit resumes of interested candidates to the Athletic Director along with the names and phone number of three individuals who can provide professional recommendations for the candidate. The Director of Athletics or designee and the Director of Student Activities or designee will be responsible for approving the hiring of a coach. The Sports Club must allocate a portion of its budget to pay a stipend to its coach. Once the Athletic Director has approved a Coaching Candidate all required paperwork will be processed by the Club’s advisor or the Director of Student Center/Activities or his/her designee.
Roles & Responsibilities of a Coach
• Adhere to the policies and guidelines set forth by the University, and the Athletic Department.
Coach Administrative Policies
• Assist the Club officers with their assigned responsibilities as outlined above.
Any and all injuries (even those seemingly minor) must be reported to the club’s coach and to the Athletic Director or designee immediately and a corresponding accident report form must be completed.
For more serious injuries, Campus Police will be called to determine whether medical attention is necessary.
Participants who refuse medical assistance, or choose to go to their own doctor or to the hospital of their own accord, do so at their own risk and will be required to sign a statement to that effect.
Anyone seeking payment of medical bills associated with an injury incurred during participation in club sports must have filed an accident report at the time of injury. Furthermore, participants must submit claims to their own insurance company first; the University’s accident insurance will only reimburse for covered expenses incurred within two years of the date of the accident which exceeds any applicable deductible or the total of benefits received from any other insurance. Any insurance claims made against Eastern Connecticut State University must be turned in to and processed by the Club’s Advisor.
First Aid Kit
There must be a first aid kit at the site of all practices, games and/or matches at all times. It will be the club’s responsibility to purchase a complete First Aid kit and replenish it with the necessary supplies as necessary. This will NOT be supplied by the Athletic Department, but its contents must be reviewed and approved by one of the two Certified Athletic Trainers employed by Eastern Connecticut State University.
Two members of the Club must hold current First Aid, CPR, and AED certifications from a nationally accredited agency such as the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. At least one of the certified members must be present throughout the duration of all practices, workouts and games.
An AED must be on the site of all competitions and within 2 minutes of the site of practices. It is the responsibility of the Advisor to secure an AED from either the University Police Department or the Athletic Department.
Certified Athletic Trainer/or EMT:
A certified Athletic Trainer or EMT must be present and on site for all games or matches considered to be Home contests. *Some club sports may be required to have an Athletic Trainer or EMT present at all practices. This will be determined by the Athletic Director or designee.
If University vans are used to travel to games and practices, only the coach and employees of the University with appropriate valid license will be allowed to drive. If traveling out of state, the club must complete a travel authorization form, signed by the Club Advisor and in doing so they assume all risks associated with such. Only professional (not student) employees of the University may drive university vans out of state. All travel by organizations and clubs must have the approval of the Director of Student Center Activities.