Starting a New Student Organization
Despite the wide variety of activities available at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, students may want to form a new organization. As outlined below, any WPI department may agree to recognize a new student organization however that does not mean that they are officially recognized by the Student Activities Department and by WPI.
All student groups requesting official recognition from the Student Activities Office must:
- abide by the college's affirmative action policy;
- submit a completed application including a letter of intent, short description of the organization, constitution, organization information update form and anti-hazing form;
- submit a letter of commitment from the organization advisor who must be a full time faculty or staff member of the WPI Community;
- disclose if they are known by any other name or are affiliated with any other organizations;
- permit members to disassociate at any time, provided that any financial obligations to the organization have been met;
- abide by all federal, state and local laws and college policies;
- include a statement ensuring they will not practice any physically or psychologically abusive hazing behaviors either intentionally or unintentionally and sign anti-hazing waiver;
- have the support of other students through a signed petition containing the names and school addresses of at least 50 full-time WPI students;
- have an advisor -- Both Greek and Non-Greek organizations must have an advisor who is a full time member of the WPI faculty, staff or administration. Greek organizations must also have an alumni advisor;
- outline a purpose that is consistent with the mission of the university;
- not present undue risk to participants or to the university;
If the group is Greek-affiliated, it must also meet IFC or Panhellenic Council established criteria.
If the group is affiliated with any other regional or national organization, it must meet both the organization's criteria as well as the university's.
Step One: Organizing
Student groups looking to begin the recognition process are encouraged to meet with the Chairperson of the Student Organization Council (SOC) to learn more about the recognition process. If looking to become a recognized student organization, students should download or obtain an application from the Student Activities Office.
Step Two: Requesting Recognition
To begin the official recognition process, the group must submit the following materials to be invited to the Student Organization Council meeting.
- A copy of the organization's letter of intent to organize.
- A complete recognition application.
- The names and school addresses of who support the establishment of the organization at WPI on the signature page.
- A completed Anti-Hazing Policy form and Anti-Hazing signature sheet signed by the advisor and future officers of the organization.
- A tentative operating budget for the club.
- A constitution prepared in accordance with the sample constitution format outlined later in this policy.
- A one paragraph description of the organization for potential use in college publications.
- The name of a full time faculty or staff member to serve as an organization advisor
- A letter of commitment from the organization advisor.
The application for recognition is now available online. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print out the form. After printing, you may attach additional information. If you need assistance, please contact the Student Activities Office.
Once materials stated above are submitted, the group will be permitted to conduct limited organization business on campus. Over a two month period, groups may post notices on campus bulletin boards, reserve tables in public areas a total of five times and reserve meeting rooms three times. Groups may meet for organizing purposes only and may not sponsor any programs. Groups must hold at least two interest meetings prior to being reviewed by the Student Organization Council. Meeting agendas, minutes and a list of participants must be submitted to the Student Activities Office to be able to schedule a meeting with the SOC.
Step Three: Review & Approval
Once the above materials have been received, the request will be forwarded to the Student Organization Council. The SOC will review the request at the next scheduled recognition meeting that has an available and open spot. Student leaders from the organization will be invited to provide a five minute presentation about their organization. If members of the Student Organization Council have any questions regarding the organization in question, they will be provided during the meeting or after if additional follow up is necessary. The SOC will make the final decision regarding recognition status and will refer to other university administrators as necessary including risk management. The SOC also encourages that student organizations review the list of current clubs at WPI to reduce redundancy and reserves the right to deny clubs or organizations recognition which already exist in a similar format on campus. For questions or concerns about the current list of organizations on campus, visit the Student Activities website.
All organizations requesting recognition will be informed of the SOC decision by e-mail. If approved, the organization will have two weeks to set up a meeting with the Chair of the SOC to review the benefits of being a recognized organization and review any requested changes made by the SOC. The organization will then have two weeks to hand in:
- Any requested changes to the organization's application
- Anti-hazing waiver signed by all general members
If these forms are not handed in within the time frame sated above, then organizations could face the loss of that recognition. an organizations' recognized status is not reached until all required paperwork is handed into the Student Activities Office.