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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Student Organizations

For more information, or if you have any other questions, consult the Student Activities Office Organization and Event-Planning Handbook, or contact the Student Activities Office at 255-4169, or activities@cornell.edu.

How do I start a student organization? Is there a deadline for registering?

Before starting an organization, go to the Student Organization Web site to see if an organization already exists that might be similar to the one you want to organize (follow the 'Search' link). If so, contact the president and/or advisor to discuss joining the organization. If no organization exists, you may start an organization by following the three (3) simple steps:

(1) read the guidelines and complete the on-line form at the Student Organization website;
(2) complete either the CIO form (for independent organizations) or the Advisor Verification Form (for university organizations).  Both forms are available from the Student Organization website;
(3) create the constitution and bylaws for your organization and submit the document(s) as part of your registration.  Information on constitutions and bylaws may be found on the 'Resources' page from the Student Organizations website.

Currently, there is no deadline for registering a student organization.  However, if you plan on applying for funding through SAFC or GPSAFC, those groups require your organization to be completely registered prior to applying.  Check the SAFC/GPSAFC website for additional information on their policies.

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How do I know if my group is Independent or University?

University organizations are a part of an academic or administrative unit of Cornell University. These organizations have an advisor whose job description (if applicable) includes advising the organization. Independent organizations have an advisor who serves in the role as a volunteer, and it is not part of their job responsibilities.

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Do fraternities and sororities need to register?

Fraternities and sororities who are registered with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs do not register with the Student Activities Office. Click here for a listing if the fraternities and sororities who are registered with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.

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How can I reserve space for meetings and/or events for my organization?

Each building/room has its own policies, and information about reservations.

For a list of buildings and contact people, go to http://registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Sched/roomres.html.

For information on reserving space in one of the Community Centers (Noyes, Appel Commons, or Robert Purcell), go to http://www.campuslife.cornell.edu/campuslife/communitycenters/reserve-a-room.cfm.

Note that most on-going classroom reservations are done by semester. Check with the building coordinator for information on your reservation.

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How can my organization reserve a table on Ho Plaza or in Willard Straight Hall?

Reservations for Willard Straight Hall or Ho Plaza must be requested on-line at registrar.sas.cornell.edu/Sched/R25.  For questions, please visit 520 WSH between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday, or call the 520 WSH Reception Area for more information - 255-7131.

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Does my advisor have to be a faculty member?

Organization advisors must be a full-time faculty or staff member at Cornell University's Ithaca campus, and must not be away during the time of their advising (i.e. the advisor may not be away from Ithaca on sabbatical while serving as advisor to your group). Graduate students may serve as advisors of university organizations if they are designated as such by university departments or units and are supervised by a currently employee Cornell University faculty or staff member.

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Do I need to register my organization every year?

Yes! Because of turnover in officers, the Student Activities Office requires organizations to register each academic year. Organization registration generally begins on or around July 1 each year.

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Can my organization get webspace or an email address?

Yes! The Student Activities Office and the University Registrars' Office provides registered student organizations with free Web space on the Registered Student Organization (RSO) Web server. E-mail accounts are administered through Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) -- Click here to link to CIT's site about Exchange Group Accounts (formerly referred to as 'Special Mailboxes'). You can obtain information about Web space from the student organization website by following the link to 'Signup for RSO Hosting' from the Student Organizations website. For information on how to use the RSO Server, click here.

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How can my group get money for programs?

The Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC) and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Commission (GPSAFC) fund a number of organizations on campus. Some academic and administrative units also contribute funds to student organizations. Click here to link to the SAFC web site. Click here to link to the GPSAFC web site.

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How do I know if I need to register my event/program?

Any event or program which meets one or more of the following criteria must be registered using the on-line Use of University Property form (UUP):

  1. any event held outdoors (with the exception of tabling on Ho Plaza);
  2. any event that includes sales or fund-raising;
  3. any event that is held in a venue with a capacity of 200 or more people;
  4. any event that involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages or food; or
  5. any event which may be considered unusual or potentially risky (i.e., controversial speakers).

If you are not sure if your event should be registered, contract the Student Activities Office at 255-4169. Click here to link to the on-line Use of University Property form (UUP) used to register events on campus.

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What should I do if I want to hold a fundraiser and/or sell merchandise on campus?

You will need to receive approval for any type of fundraiser or sale on campus. You will need to complete an on-line Use of University Property form (UUP). Click here to link to the on-line Use of University Property form (UUP).

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Can someone help me plan an event?

The Events Management Planning Team (EMPT) is a group of Cornell University staff members who can assist you with the details of planning your event. You may also contact the Student Activities Office for assistance. Click here for more information on the Events Management Planning Team.

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How can I get a contract for a speaker or performer?

Performer contracts are available by meeting with a representative from the Student Activities Office. In some cases, if your organization receives funding from the SAFC, you will be required to complete a contract worksheet and performer contract prior to receiving the funds.

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Where can I find a list of Cornell policies and procedures?

Some policies and procedures for clubs and organizations can be found at the Student Organization Web site - Click here to link to the Resources page. A complete list of Cornell's policies and procedures can be found at Cornell University Policy Office's Web site located here.

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Can my group have office space or mailboxes on campus?

Willard Straight Hall allocates a limited number of offices to student organizations each spring. For more info about offices in WSH, visit the fifth floor reception area (room 520). Mailboxes are generally available in the WSH cash office (room 401).

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What do I need to do if I want to use Cornell's name, logo, or artwork?

The use of Cornell's name, logo, and artwork must be approved prior to being printed on any merchandise and/or novelty item (this does not include posters). Only approved vendors may print Cornell's name, logo and artwork. Contact the Student Activities Office for an artwork form or listing of approved vendors, or Click here for more information, including the form available for downloading.

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Does my organization have insurance?

Through the Student Activity fee, all independent registered graduate and undergraduate student clubs are covered by the student club-insurance policy. University organizations are covered through the Cornell University insurance policy. If you have specific questions about insurance for your club, contact the Office of Risk Management and Insurance at 254-1575.

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For more information, or if you have any other questions, consult the Student Activities Office Organization and Event-Planning Handbook, or contact the Student Activities Office at 255-4169, or activities@cornell.edu.