• Start an Organization

Office of Student Activities

  • Print
  • Start an Organization 

    It's easy to start a student organization at MSUM! All that's needed to start is at least five interested MSUM students and an MSUM faculty or staff advisor in order to begin this process.

    The 7-step recognition process is outlined below. The entire process can take about a month, depending on how fast one's constitution is submitted and the time of year as approval is required from Student Senate and the President of the University. It pays to be prepared and to keep in contact with the Office of Student Activities and the Assistant Director of Leadership and Organizations regarding your organization's status.

    The good news is that once you submit the "Intent to Organize" form and it receives approval from the Assistant Director of Leadership and Organizations, your organization is granted certain privileges. Therefore, you can start actively recruiting new members, publicizing your organization, and reserving University facilities. 

    Maintaining Recognition

    Recognized organizations assume both privileges and responsibilities. In order to maintain recognition status, all organizations must register within three weeks of the start of the Fall Semester every year. Changes in officer status should be reported to the Office of Student Activities when they occur.

    Organizations failing to register within this time period will become defunct, losing all privileges of a recognized student organization at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Defunct organizations are eligible to apply for re-admission. The re-admission process for defunct student organization will be the same process as for new organizations. 

    Recognition Process

    Step 1

    The first step to form a recognized student organization on the Minnesota State University Moorhead campus is to complete an "Intent to Organize" form. There must be at least five interested MSUM students and an MSUM faculty or staff advisor in order to begin this process. Completion of this online form will grant pending status to groups awaiting formal recognition. This will give the organization the following privileges for 30 days:

    • The right to reserve university facilities for the purpose of holding initial organizational meetings.
    • The right to publicize group meetings.
    • The right to invite membership. 

    Step 2

    Within 30 days of completing the "Intent to Organize" form, the organization will complete the remaining requirements for recognition:

    • Write an organization constitution (See the sample constitution
    • Notify the Office of Student Activities who the elected officers will be.

    Step 3

    Submit an electronic copy of the constitution to the Assistant Director of Leadership and Organizations in the Office of Student Activities for review. 

    Step 4

    The Assistant Director of Leadership and Organizations reviews the constitution for compliance with local, state, and federal laws and university policy. The Assistant Director will work with you regarding any questions, concerns, or needed modifications that arise from reading the submitted constitution.The Assistant Director then passes the constitution to Student Senate for their review and recommendation.

    Step 5

    Student Senate reviews the request for recognition and forwards their written recommendation to the University President. 

    Step 6

    The President of the University confers formal recognition of the organization. 

    Step 7

    Official campus recognition is an honor and recognized organizations assume full responsibilities and privileges as a recognized student organization. This is an organizational status and must be maintained each year. All organizations must re-register by the announced deadline within the Fall Semester each academic year. Upon recognition, organizations have the following privileges:

    • Use of University facilities, equipment and services (within MSUM policy guidelines) for purposes relative to organization goals.
    • Permission to conduct fundraising that will benefit members.
    • Right to request funds from the Student Activity Budget Committee (SABC) or to access previously allocated SABC funds.
    • Right to participate in all University events.
    • Use of the University name, mailing address and mailbox.
    • Establishment of an agency account with the MSUM business office for financial transactions.
    • Use of storage space in the Activities Resource Center and the organization boards in the Comstock Memorial Union.

    Write a Constitution

    Is a Constitution important?

    YES! A good constitution contains the basics of how your organization will function. A constitution is the foundation upon which the organization will grow, mature, and perpetuate itself. It is designed to reduce internal conflict, to establish the organization's mission and goals, and to protect the rights of all members and students of the University. 

    Why does my student organization need a Constitution?

    A constitution is a great tool for any organization to have. It is essential to the future growth, development and is an integral part of the organization. A constitution clearly defines the purpose of your organization and outlines guidelines for officer positions as well as standing committees. It explains how organization business should be handled, how often business meetings are held, and the eligibility requirements for members and officers in the organization. Plus, it is required by the University for maintaining recognition as a student organization.  

    Why do We Write It?

    Constitutions are the framework of any organization. The details and explanations should be concise, easy-to-follow, and flexible enough to allow for change and growth. Every organization has its own unique style, but each must include the University required statements. A sample constitution is available on the OSA website. For constitution examples and for assistance in writing or making changes to a constitution, please contact the Office of Student Activities, CMU 222.

    **Please note: If the organization is affiliated with another local, state, or national organization, a copy of that organization's constitution must also be provided. 

    Constitution Writing Tips

    Write your constitution in a broad manner, not limiting future leaders to your needs or conveniences.

    • Poor Example: The Psychology Club will meet every Tuesday at 9 p.m.
    • Good Example: The Psychology Club will meet once a week throughout the semester.

    Write your constitution with the future in mind. Do not use proper names or exact dates in defining leadership positions, locations, meeting times, etc.

    • Poor Example: The President of the Reggae Music Club will be Bob Marley.
    • Good Example: The President of the Reggae Music Club will be elected by majority vote of the organization membership.
    • Poor Example: The Reggae Music Club will meet in the Union.
    • Good Example: The Reggae Music Club will meet on campus.

    Now What?

    After completing or revising the constitution, your organization must approve it. Then, you are ready to submit it to the Office of Student Activities. Once the OSA has reviewed your constitution, it will be taken to SOAC (Student Organization Advisory Committee) for review and approval, according to University guidelines. Once SOAC approves your constitution, a liaison will submit it to the Student Senate for approval. The University President will give final approval. 

    How Long Does This Take?

    The Office of Student Activities will review your constitution in a timely manner. If changes need to be made, your constitution will be returned to you. Your organization will then have three weeks to return the revised constitution to the OSA. After a revision is completed, your constitution will continue through the process. The entire process can be completed within a few months.

    **Please note: All organizations will be contacted by the Office of Student Activities to conduct five-year revisions. This process ensures that constitutions are current and accurately reflect the changing needs and issues of the organization.

    Final Thought

    Remember that your constitution is only helpful if you use it! Get into the habit of referring to it for clarification and use it as your basis for decision making. Distribute a copy to the members of the organization each year so they are familiar with the rules of the organization.