- Starting a new student organization
- Policies and guidelines
- Officer transitions
- Amending a student organization’s constitution
- Updating student organization’s information?
- Student organization advisors
- Marketing and advertising
- Copier access
- Storage and mailbox spaces
Student organizations at UMBC contribute to broadening perspectives, opening opportunities, and connecting students’ passions with interests and issues important to members of the campus community and beyond. By starting a student organization, you take on the responsibility of creating a vibrant campus life and fostering change on campus. The steps outlined below will ensure that you are prepared for this role and connected to campus partners and potential collaborators. The recognition process generally takes between two and four months and in some instances longer.
Step 1: Take a look at the current list of 270+ student organizations that already exist at UMBC
We encourage you to think about whether your needs and interests can be met by an existing student organization. There are significant advantages to working within established organizations rather than forming new ones. To learn more about these advantages, please email Associate for Student Organizations Kaitlin Winchester (email@example.com) or make an appointment.
Step 2: Set up a meeting with Kaitlin Winchester to talk about your organization (Schedule an appointment directly).
Be prepared to discuss the following questions:
- What was your inspiration for creating this organization?
- How will your organization contribute to the mission of UMBC?
- What makes your organization distinct from similar organizations at UMBC?
- What needs do your organization meet that aren’t currently being met?
- How will your organization attract students to join?
- How do you plan to develop leadership within your organization?
- How do you plan to sustain the organization?
Step 3: Complete Student Organization Application, which you will receive after your meeting with Kaitlin.
Beforehand, please familiarize yourself with the requirements for recognition outlined in the UMBC Student Organization Guidelines.
Step 4: The Student Organizations Committee (SOC) will meet with your potential advisor.
This will serve as a way to ensure that the advisor is on the same page as the organization. Advisor resources can be found here.
Step 5: Complete the New Student Organization module
Once Step 4 is complete, all officers will have to complete the New Student Organization module. All officers are encouraged to review the module and contribute suggestions and ideas.
In the New Student Organization module, officers will:
- Learn how great leaders inspire action and create an organization “why” statement
- Set goals for your organization
- Create a first year plan
Step 6: The SOC will review application materials
After the New Student Organization module is completed, the SOC will review all application materials. The SOC might invite you to address any questions/concerns via email or during its weekly meetings.
Step 7: Student Organization Committee makes recommendation for recognition to the Director of Campus Life
If the Director of Campus Life confirms recommendation for recognition, all officers and advisor will receive an official recognition email at which point all privileges of being a recognized student organization will immediately go into effect.
Please contact Romy Hübler for questions regarding new student organizations.
Recognized organizations will be extended the following services and rights therein including, but not necessarily limited to:
- Ability to use “UMBC” in the organization’s name and advertising,
- Ability to schedule use of campus space and request campus resources,
- Privilege of being listed on the Campus Life website as a recognized student organizations,
- Access to other services, benefits, and resources found on the Campus Life website, and
- Eligibility to receive SGA financial subsidy as outlined in the SGA Budget Policy (please note that all deadlines for financial requests must be honored in order to receive potential monies).
Step 8: Attend a follow up meeting with the Vice President for Student Organizations of the SGA (VPSO).
Upon your new organization receiving official recognition, the VPSO will schedule a follow up meeting to check in.
All student organizations are held to the same standards. As a leader or member of a student organization, being aware of privileges and responsibilities your organization has to each other and the UMBC community is important. At UMBC, we encourage a community that is diverse, respectful, positive, and mutually supportive. We also strive to provide pertinent knowledge and resources for your organization to thrive and be successful. Please review the documents below and participate in the communal response to create such an environment for all members of the UMBC community.
- Student Organization Guidelines
- Club Sports Recognition Process
- Code of Student Conduct
- Privileges, Responsibilities, and Community Expectations Guide
- Hazing Policy
- Cabinet and Mailbox Assignment Procedures
- SGA Financial Policies
- Posting Policy
- Chalking Guidelines
- Equipment Purchase Guidelines
- Style Guide
- Social Media Guide
Effectively transitioning from year to year is critical to keep your organization functioning well. Investing time in a good officer transition early in your term will mean less time spent throughout the following year making unnecessary mistakes.
Officer transition takes effort from all officers in your student organization and involves the outgoing group of officers, the advisor, and the incoming group of officers. Consider having a retreat or series of meetings where outgoing officers pass on important information to incoming officers, including:
- Past records/notebooks/social media passwords
- Completed projects for the past year
- Upcoming/incomplete projects
- Challenges and setbacks
- Anything the new officers need to know to do their job effectively
Elections and constitutions
Student organization constitutions explain the organization’s purpose, membership requirements, officer structure and election process, and serve as a binding agreement with UMBC. Each constitution also outlines the process required for making amendments to the organization’s constitution.
Elections for each student organization occur once a year, either during the fall or the spring, depending on what the constitution specifies (Article IV, section b). Article IV of the constitution also outlines what positions the organization will elect, as well as the duties of each elected position.
- If your organization has fall elections, the elections MUST be held between November 15th and November 30th, and new officer terms begin on December 1st.
- If your organization has spring elections, the elections MUST be held between April 15th and April 30th, and new officer terms begin on May 1st.
- Your organization’s constitution also states how many days notice must be given to members of your organization before elections are held. For example, if your organization decides to hold elections on April 20th, and your constitution stipulates that at least 14 days notice must be given to all members before an election meeting, it is required that one of your organization’s officers first announce the elections to the membership NO LATER THAN April 6th.
To change your organization’s constitution, the proper amendment process MUST be followed. You can find the requirements in Article V of your constitution. Once your organization approves an amendment, complete the Constitutional Amendment Form. The Student Organizations Committee (SOC) will review your proposed changes. Constitutional changes become effective only after the SOC approves them. An updated constitution will be available on your organization’s Campus Life page profile.
Student organizations have to re-register each year between April 15th and May 15th. All officers listed on the Campus Life website will receive the re-registration form via the student organization mailing list.
If information changes outside of the re-registration period, officers need to complete the Student Organization Update Request form. Changes may include names of newly elected officers and advisors.
Please note: You may ONLY use this form to update information for currently existing officer positions. If your organization has decided to add or rename a new position, this is considered a constitutional amendment.
Your advisor is a valuable resource to your organization, and can help you in many different ways. The relationship between an advisor and an organization is unique to each group, and you are highly encouraged to meet with your advisor each time new officers are elected to discuss what expectations you have of each other.
To help you with this process, you and your advisor can complete this Advisor Role Questionnaire together, as this can provide a starting point for discussion.
Additional resources for student organization advisors can be found here.
If you are unsure how to contact your advisor, please email Romy Hübler (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To create an email account/mailing list you have three options:
- Create a group page on myUMBC. Group pages can be used to send messages, have discussions, store documents, and promote events/initiatives.
- Create an official UMBC email address using Google Groups by following this link.
- Create your own email account. You can put UMBC in the address, e.g. UMBCcheeseclub@gmail.com.
Social media is one of your strongest marketing tools. Make sure that your advisor and any elected officers have the username and password to any accounts you may have.
All student organizations are able to create a group page on myUMBC, and doing so is highly recommended, as it which will allow interested students to find out more about your group. Additionally, you can send updates about meetings, elections, and other important reminders to all of your organization’s members through your myUMBC group. Learn more about creating a myUMBC group here.
Student organizations are another great tool to share information about your organization. Make sure to follow these guidelines:
- The Commons: Flyers can only be hung by staff members. To have your flyers posted, you can drop off three copies at the Commons Information Center (CIC) desk.
- Residence halls: Bring a copy of your flyer to the Residential Life office in Erickson Hall for approval. The flyer will receive an official stamp and you can then make additional photocopies for posting.
- Classrooms/academic buildings: Certain academic buildings have designated spaces where you are allowed to post flyers, and these are the ONLY spaces where you are allowed to do so. The community bulletin boards are typically located on each floor of a building, and if a flyer is posted elsewhere (in a classroom, on the walls of a hall) it will be taken down if discovered.
- The full posting policy can be found here.
commonvision & iNet
An iNet, offered through commonvision, can be used to advertise an event or to make announcements to the UMBC community. They are aired on digital signage locations in The Commons, and on the UC Plaza.
Pricing for iNets varies depending on the type and duration of your advertisement. Explore commonvision’s website for more information.
Two (2) locations on the sidewalk of Academic Row have been designated for chalking as a means for UMBC faculty, staff, and students to advertise university-sponsored events, projects, and activities: Section A – area between Sherman Hall and Sondheim Hall; Section B – area between the University Center and Math/Psychology Building.
- Only chalk on horizontal, cemented areas in Section A and B. Vertical surfaces, bricks, brick pavers, and stairs are off limits.
- Only use water-soluble sidewalk chalk.
- Both the chalking and the events, projects, and activities being promoted must be lawful and comply with University regulations.
- Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Be considerate, share the chalking areas, and leave space for others. When promoting events, limit chalking to the week before the event.
- Chalking is limited the week before and during the weeks of Welcome Week, Homecoming, and Quadmania for promotion of campus-wide banner events.
For more tips on marketing, advertising, and event attendance, please visit the SGA website.
Every student organization gets a copier code that gives them access to 1,000 free black and white copies for the year!
Stop by the Information Desk in The Commons 336 and ask the Campus Life Ambassadors for your copier code. You must be listed as an officer with Campus Life in order to receive your code.
Your 4 digit code allows you to access the SGA photocopier in the Student Organizations Space to make copies for your student organization.
Campus Life allocates and maintains cabinets and mailboxes located on the second floor of The Commons. Campus Life Ambassadors can assist you with any issues. They are available at the Information Desk in the Campus Life Suite, The Commons 336, from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.
Application and assignment requirements
Every spring student organizations can apply for a cabinet and/or mailbox during re-registration. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and allocation notifications will be sent in early June.
If demand exceeds supply, student organizations that do not receive a cabinet or mailbox will be placed on a waitlist. If spaces become available during the year, organizations on the list will be offered these spaces in the order their request was received. New organizations formed throughout the year may be assigned spaces if there is no waitlist. Otherwise, they will be added to the current list and will have the opportunity to apply for these resources during the next application period.
Cabinets are property of UMBC. The university reserves the right to access, inspect, and search cabinets at any time without notice, and is not responsible for items stored in cabinets or for lost or stolen items. Campus Life may reassign or rescind access to cabinets and mailboxes.
Access to newly assigned space
Student organization officers can get cabinet combinations and/or mailbox keys on the first day of classes in the fall semester at the Campus Life Ambassador desk by completing the Cabinet and Mailbox User Agreement and Key/Combination Control Form. Only one officer can check out a mailbox key, and that officer is responsible for the key. If the key is lost, the officer will be charged $20 to replace the key. If another officer would like to check the mailbox, an Ambassador can open the mailbox for them. You must be listed as an officer with Campus Life to receive a cabinet lock combination, check out a key, or have an Ambassador open your mailbox.
Conditions of use and maintenance of cabinet spaces
All organizations that have been allocated a cabinet must:
- Utilize storage units for student organization related materials only. Student organization cabinets cannot be used for sales or commercial activities, direct support of academic programs, and/or activities of non-students.
- Use only the combination lock assigned by Campus Life. All other locks will be cut off at the owner’s expense and the organization may incur a financial charge.
- Take good care of the cabinet. Please do not store any items that will cause it to be damaged.
- Keep the cabinet locked at all times.
- Refrain from storing perishable, flammable, or combustible items.
- Inform Campus Life of any maintenance needs.
Conditions of use and maintenance of mailbox spaces
- All organizations that have been allocated a mailbox must:
- Check mailboxes frequently so that they do not become too full to add new mail.
- Utilize mailboxes for student organizations related materials only. No personal mail should be sent to the organization’s mailbox. Student organization mailboxes cannot be used for sales or commercial activities, direct support of academic programs, and/or activities on non-students.
- Take good care of the cabinet. Please do not store any items that will cause it to be damaged.
- Keep the mailbox locked at all times.
- Inform Campus Life of any maintenance needs.
If you have been allocated a student organization mailbox, you can have student organization-related mail or packages sent to the following address:
The Commons (Insert mailbox # and student org name here)
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
Safety and security
Student organizations are advised to practice safety at all times:
- Secure purses, wallets, and other valuables appropriately. Do not store these items in a cabinet/mailbox.
- Carefully maintain your combination/key. Report loss or theft immediately to Campus Life.
- Report suspicious activity to the University Police at 410-455-5555.
Reassignment or loss of cabinet and mailbox space
By May 31st, student organization officers must return mailbox keys and/or empty cabinets (if the organization was not allocated one for the upcoming year). Campus Life will remove items and attempt to contact the student organization for pick-up thereafter. If items remain unclaimed, they will be disposed or returned to sender.
All student organizations failing to comply with this or any University policy or procedure risk disciplinary action, including losing their student organization cabinet, losing recognition, or being sanctioned as deemed appropriate by University officials.