Scrolling Headlines:

‘Stopping Genocide and Mass Atrocities by Stopping the War Profiteers’ talk at UMass -

February 19, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 6 UMass Lowell for third time this season -

February 18, 2017

UMass hockey breakdown in final minutes of the second period on route to 5-2 loss to UMass Lowell -

February 18, 2017

Notebook: Jack Gibbs stars as UMass men’s basketball team drops game to Davidson Saturday -

February 18, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops another close game, falls to Davidson Saturday afternoon -

February 18, 2017

Local blogger Larry Kelley dies in car crash, remembered by community -

February 18, 2017

REPORT: UMass football to name Ed Pinkham as next defensive coordinator -

February 18, 2017

UMass students skip class to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants and refugees -

February 18, 2017

NPR Education Correspondent Eric Westervelt talks on future of education -

February 18, 2017

Faculty of journalism department discusses failures of journalism during Trump era -

February 16, 2017

UMass hockey prepares for third and final match-up against No. 6 UMass Lowell on Saturday -

February 16, 2017

Panelists hold discussion on embodying global coalitions -

February 16, 2017

Journalist speaks on criminalization of youth in the United States -

February 16, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse heads to Florida in search of first win of 2017 -

February 16, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to get offense back on track against Ohio State -

February 16, 2017

Duquesne stomps UMass men’s basketball 96-66 in Pittsburgh -

February 16, 2017

UMass softball focuses on mental approach ahead of Madeira Beach Invitational -

February 16, 2017

UMass women’s basketball drops eighth straight in loss at Richmond -

February 16, 2017

‘50 Shades Darker’ steams up all windows in the nation -

February 16, 2017

’20th Century Women’ is a love letter to women across generations -

February 16, 2017

So you want to start an RSO?

Collegian File Photo

It’s a dream some students have when they come to UMass. As scores of campus groups table and recruit freshmen throughout orientation and the first weeks of the semester, fantasies of creating a new group are at the forefront of the minds of new students. I should know: Almost four years ago I stood in front of the Student Union imagining a British history club, dedicated to discussing my favorite historical topic at the time.

But how do you actually start a group on campus?

The Student Government Association approves many Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) every semester, allowing them to book University space and apply for budgets.

However, there are some important things to consider before you embark on the process. First and foremost, ask yourself whether your proposed group is unique. In the case of my idea for a British history club, it was not: There is a fantastic History Club on campus that devotes time and discussion similar to my proposed topic.

This is not uncommon, and since the SGA cannot approve an infinite number of RSOs, we encourage groups to work together or to merge. We encourage students to check out the UMass Campus Pulse website to make sure that your prospective RSO is unique, or talk to someone in the SGA Office in Room 420, located in the Student Union.

Secondly, it is purely practical to refrain from working alone. This is because every RSO must have at least 10 members. Moreover, having a team takes a lot of the strain off your shoulders and allows for a more open process. Plus, the unified quest for RSO status is a great bonding experience and will no doubt help your group out once it becomes official.

One of the final things to keep in mind is that marketing is of paramount importance. It is essential that you spread the word and build your membership. Sure, you only need 10 to move through the process, but does that mean you want to stop there? You never know who might be interested in joining, so talk to as many people as possible.

Once you have considered these three things, you will be confronted with the requirements of becoming an RSO as well as the application process. The application is on Campus Pulse and requires quite a bit of information, like officer names and details, the details of the 10 undergraduate members, a signed statement of non-discrimination and a statement of justification regarding prospective RSO status, among other things.

Your charter is incredibly important, as it will serve as a guiding support for future leaders and members. At its most basic level, a charter must contain a process for voting by the membership, a fair and democratic method for election and removal of officers, a description of officer positions, a statement of free speech and clear procedures for conducting your meetings, to name a few.

I know, it sounds like a considerable amount of work. But think of what you are achieving: Like more than 250 people before you, you are creating an institution that will leave a lasting legacy for years to come, impacting students like you who are celebrating and promoting a common interest or cause on campus.

You will gain experience as a leader and as a mobilizer of students on a large scale, with the satisfaction of creating an organization designed to benefit thousands of students. You will have the opportunity to spread your mission, advocate for your cause and share your interests with a diverse population of students, staff and administrators, making lasting connections and changing perspectives in the process. Above all, you will have the support of the SGA and Student Activities behind everything you do and all that you try to accomplish.

It sounds incredibly cheesy, and I know you have heard it every moment form the day you stepped on campus, but you have the opportunity to make a difference on campus. Everyone wants to get involved, but not everyone knows how or what to get involved with. You can be the one who stands up for your passion, unites others who think as you do and creates something that will serve students like you for generations.

Garrett Gowen is the vice president of the SGA. He can be reached at ggowen@student.umass.edu.

 

Comments
One Response to “So you want to start an RSO?”
  1. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    I hate to tell you, but there is no Constitutional right to say that a group is redundant? In fact, if you read the _Southworth_ case, the underlying principle that justifies the mandatory activity fee is that absolutely any student can form any group for anyting they want to.

    After what happened to the Republican Club — the real Republican Club — I would like to see the SGA itself shut down. Outright.

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