How to Start a Club

How to Start An Organization

Here are a few things to think about when starting a club:

  • Are you committed to the idea?
  • Is there an existing group to join?
  • Will this organization have exclusive membership?
  • Will there be enough members to continue the club beyond your involvement?
  • Have you thought about organizational goals and objectives?
  • What role will your group assume on campus and/or in the community?

“Funded” vs “Recognized” Organizations

Student organizations may be classified as either “Funded” or “Recognized”. Both classification of organizations are officially recognized by UMW – with the singular difference being their ability to request additional resources from UMW, SAE, and the Finance Committee.

For additional information, please refer to the “Funded vs. Recognized Organizations” resource page

Beginning the Approval Process

  1. Visit SAE on the third floor of the University Center.
  2. Fill out a student organization registration form.
  3. Hold a preliminary interest meeting to help you develop a list of at least 5 other interested students, which must be submitted with the club’s constitution. Use the first meeting to help you develop a concise mission statement, which briefly outlines the goals and objectives of your organization.
  4. Develop a constitution. SAE will provide a sample to use as an outline for developing a constitution. This is necessary for the approval process, and will establish a lasting structure for your organization. (Please click here to see a sample constitution).

Student Chartering Process

  1. Gather Students – Student(s) brings together 5 other peers interested in starting an organization
  2. Acquire Advisor – Student(s) obtain a staff/faculty advisor, who then signs the formal Faculty Advisor and Student Organization Relationship Agreement
  3. Begin the Paperwork – Student(s) register their new organization via MyUMW, and begin the process
  4. Reach out for Initial Guidance – Organization reaches out to the Inter-Club Association (ICA) President to discuss, and to be provided guidance on how to draft their constitution.
  5. Constitution Reviewed – When the constitution is finished, it is sent to the Constitution Review Board (CRB) who will send back suggested and/or necessary edits. The CRB is made up of:
    1. The ICA Executive Board
    2. No less than 2, and up to 6, elected student organizational leaders (who are elected at the beginning of the academic year during the first Council of Presidents meeting)
    3. The ICA Advisor – Director of the Office of Student Activities & Engagement
  6. Organization Presented – Once the edits are made, the student organization is invited to a Chartering Meeting to present. The Chartering Committee is made up of:
    1. President or Vice-President of the Student Government Association
    2. The ICA Executive Board
    3. ICA’s advisor – Director of the Office of Student Activities & Engagement
  7. Vote – The Chartering Meeting members will then discuss and vote on organization’s status. Possible results of the vote are:
    1. Organization is chartered and classified as “Funded”
    2. Organization is chartered and classified as “Recognized”
    3. Organization is not chartered, and application is rejected
  8. Student Organization Notified – The student(s) is then notified of the vote, with further guidance provided if they are not recognized/funded.

Recognition Stipulations

Applicant student organizations shall be permitted a full academic year to fulfill the guidelines for official recognition. Through constitutional review, the ICA Executive Committee is empowered by the SGA to ensure that all new and existing organizations subscribe to University policies and practices. The ICA has the authority to recognize, deny, or rescind recognition of student groups. Upon recognition, student organizations must actively participate in the ICA.