Student Organizations 101
Welcome to Student Organizations 101. Whether you are new to the student org world or a seasoned leader, reference this page to learn information about GetInvolved, important deadlines, constitutions, advisors, and more at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
2023-2024 Student Organization Registration is OPEN!
Student Organizations are encouraged to complete the registration process before summertime!
Want to start a New Student Organization?
- Browse GetInvolved to ensure that your new organization idea is unique and does not exist already.
- Gather at least 5 UHCL students interested in joining.
- Use the New Organization Packet (pdf) to think through critical organization components as a group. Reach out to Student Involvement and Leadership with any questions or concerns that arise.
- Create an organization constitution utilizing the constitution guide (pdf).
- Elect officers. Organizations should have at least a primary and secondary officer.
- Designate Faculty or Staff advisor (if applicable). See more information about advisors below.
- Register a new organization on GetInvolved.
- Primary and Secondary officers must attend the required registration workshop.
Once all requirements are complete, you will receive an email indicating your organization is registered for the following year. Registration submissions are reviewed by staff on a first-come, first-served basis as staff capacity allows.
For questions or to set up an advising meeting regarding starting a new org, contact email@example.com.
Returning Student Organization Registration
All organizations wishing to remain actively registered at UHCL must complete the registration process annually. These requirements may change annually, so stay in touch with Student Involvement and Leadership to know what is expected this year.
New officers should work together to complete the following steps during this time with support from old officers if necessary:
- Elect Officers for the following academic year. The new primary and secondary officers should lead the registration process, but the outgoing officers are encouraged to help as needed. Make sure to update your Rosters on GetInvolved and pass along all important documentation to the next group.
- Update your org constitution and honor cord point systems (if applicable). Ensure all edits are group decisions and not made by just one or two leaders. Have these documents somewhere you can access them when you get to step 3.
- Complete the Registration Form on GetInvolved. Once you're done with training, you're ready to officially "Re-Register" for 2023-2024 on GetInvolved! Go to your org home page and click "Register my organization." Only 1 officer should complete this for the group.
- Complete the Registration Workshop. The 2023-2024 primary and secondary officers should attend a Registration Workshop hosted by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Staff. The workshop will take about an hour and you will find valuable information about what it means to be a student organization here at UHCL and how to best utilize the resources that we offer.
Await your Confirmation Email. Registration forms will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served capacity. Upon completion of the above steps, we appreciate your patience as we review materials and confirm your registration for 2023-2024.
GetInvolved, the hub for Student Involvement at UHCL.
GetInvolved is UHCL's online platform where students can view events on campus and browse student organizations. Each student organization will manage their own GetInvolved page for the community to view for more information.
Advisors and student leaders alike should become familiar with navigating the platform. Advisors are required to have an account on GetInvolved and be listed on their organization's roster as "Advisor." Accounts can only be created by UHCL students, staff, and faculty.
A few resources on GetInvolved include:
- Annual organization registration
- Managing organization profiles
- Updating membership rosters
- Advertising for events
- Holding elections
- Housing important documents (constitution, bylaws)
- Posting news articles
- Signing up for Student Involvement Expos
- Accessing important campus links (space reservations, food permits, and more)
Student Org Seasons
While each student organization has a unique life cycle, there are some events and processes led by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership that student leaders should become familiar with.
Election Season: March
Transition Season: April - August
All organizations wishing to maintain active status on-campus for the following academic year must complete the re-registration process at this time.
Learn more about steps required in the annual Registration Process below.
It is important that outgoing and incoming officers meet during the transition season to pass along pertinent information. Such information can include sharing documents, reviewing previous year's events, sharing campus resources, reflecting on what went well and what went poorly this past year, etc.
Celebrate your Success
In March, student leaders and organizations may apply for leadership awards. Winners are announced and celebrated at the Student Leadership Banquet that takes place in April. The Banquet typically includes a celebratory dinner and awards ceremony, and it is the perfect way to close out the academic year.
Dormant Organizations become Inactive
If your organization fails to complete the re-registration process by the deadline, Student Involvement and Leadership will assume students do not want to continue the organization, and it will be considered "inactive" for the following year. This organization can be re-registered at any time by students formerly a part of the organization, or a brand new group of students.
Recruitment Season: August - September; January
As new and returning students arrive on-campus at the beginning of each semester, we encourage all student organizations to recruit new members. While more new students typically begin at UHCL in August, many begin in January as well.
Student Involvement Expos
Registered organizations may sign up to participate in the Student Involvement Expos. The Expos are a prime time to recruit new members for your organizations, provide information about upcoming events and meetings, and spread the work about what you all do! Orgs hand out giveaways, engage peers with activities, and chat about why they love their organization.
Student Involvement and Leadership typically provides a free tri-fold poster board to all organizations wishing to decorate one for their table.
Member Interest Meetings
Member Interest Meetings are a recommended next step once your org gets face-to-face time with prospective members. Here, your org can delve deeper into what you do and give peers a taste of what being a member could be like. Engage peers with ice breakers and show off your current members. At this point, prospective members are still deciding whether they want to officially "join" your organization.
New Member Admission
Once members have clearly expressed that they wish to join your organization, ensure you add them to your GetInvolved roster, and they should accept the invitation. Then, you should have a process to acclimate them to your organization. Be intentional about helping new members form relationships and delegating tasks to let them know that you care about their participation in your RSO.
Active Season: August - April
The active season is the core of your organization's activities and events. Below are some recommended tips for leading your organization successfully during this period. Some orgs plan events during the summer, but it is not as common.
Executive Board Meetings
Create a consistent day and time to meet with your officer team to go over large-scale organization business. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly based on what is best for your group. The more often you meet, the more you can likely accomplish together!
To retain members, it is critical to have a consistent meeting time — weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Ensure that members are receiving tasks to work on so they feel that they are actively contributing. General Meetings can be used to build team morale with ice breakers, check-in on tasks from previous meetings, reflect on recent events, or delegate tasks for upcoming events.
- Step-By-Step Guide to Structuring Better Meetings
- How to Run a Club Meeting
- A Modern Guide to Robert's Rules of Order - a traditional guide for meetings
Not all organizations host events, but we are here to help should you want to! Once you have actively engaged members, utilize the energy to plan events on campus and bring your mission into action. Consider what your organization's mission and values are, and then plan events that align with what you care most about. Examples of events include fundraisers, networking events, speaker series, events just for fun, org bonding events, and community service events. The possibilities are endless!
To continually improve and grow, we encourage you to assess all programs and processes your organization has. Create surveys in the "Form" function on GetInvolved to ask members how they are enjoying their experience or use the "Evaluation" function for your GetInvolved Events to ask attendees about their experience at your event.
All Registered Student Organizations should manage a constitution that outlines its activities, officers, and expectations as an organization.
- Download the constitution template (PDF).
- Include the two required clauses: Non-Discrimination and Anti-Hazing (can be found in the constitution template).
- A constitution should be treated as a governing document and will prevail in cases of disputes in organizational procedures.
- Any updates to the constitution should be submitted to the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership within 14 days of the change.
Elements to consider including in your constitution:
- Officer titles, expectations, and responsibilities
- General member expectations and responsibilities
- Election and officer transition processes
- Honor cord point systems
- The onboarding process for new members
- The process to remove an officer
- Financial processes
- The process to make updates to the constitution
- Conflict resolution processes
- Membership dues expectations (optional)
As an organization, you may want to address the reasons why a member could possibly be removed from your organization. For instance, if the member does not meet the minimum requirements for being a member indicated in your organization's constitution. If you choose to address the removal of a member then consider outlining the process in your constitution, including any procedural and notice requirements.
As your organization carries out organization business and you run into a situation you are not sure how to handle, consider adding a section to your constitution regarding that situation so that your future officers have more direction.
A Registered Student Organization is a student organization that has been registered with the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership but who is not funded by UHCL. No name (or design) can state or give the impression that the organization is a unit of the University of Houston-Clear Lake. An example of how a RSO's name can be written is listed below:
- Education Student Organization
- Education Student Organization at the University of Houston-Clear Lake
Official UHCL logos cannot be used as part of an official UHCL logo. If a UHCL logo is used on promotional materials, items must comply with UHCL logo use guidelines. Items must be approved by UHCL Brand Guide and a UHS-licensed vendor must be used to produce the item. UHCL Brand Guide will verify that the logo use does not misrepresent the RSO as an official unit of the university.
Working with Advisors
Student Organizations are recommended to have a faculty or staff advisor at UHCL. Student organization Advisors should have an account on GetInvolved and be listed on their organization's roster as "Advisor."
UHCL faculty and staff should not advise politically affiliated student organizations.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find a faculty/staff advisor?
Your advisor can be any UHCL faculty or staff member that members of your group have made a connection with. This person will ideally feel connected to your organization mission and provide benefit by advising your group.
If your organization is affiliated with a national chapter, you may work closely with a representative of the organization who provides advising-like services. A faculty or staff advisor is still recommended in this case to provide an on-campus contact.
Why do we need an advisor?
An advisor can provide many benefits to your organization including:
- Experience in your area of interest
- A network in the field
- A neutral third-party in times of conflict
- A liaison to connect with the larger UHCL community
- A UHCL faculty or staff member in your corner
What should our relationship with our advisor look like?
Your relationship with your advisor may look however you would like! The President or Executive Team may set up weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your advisor to talk through upcoming projects, or your advisor can remain very hands-off and offer advice as you need it.
We encourage student organizations to set expectations of what the advising relationship will look like in action, using the Advisor Expectations Worksheet (Docx).
How do we designate someone as our advisor?
Meet with your Advisor and utilize the Advisor Expectations Worksheet (Docx). Upload it along with your annual re-registration application.
You should also add your faculty/staff advisor to your GetInvolved roster and designate them as your advisor. You may do this when you are re-registering your organization each spring, or do it throughout the year as changes occur.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any updates to who your Advisor is.