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Registration of Organizations

Each organization that registers with Cornell University is classified as either independent or university.

Organizations must register with the SAO each fall. Please read the following information closely to determine if your organization is classified as independent or university. Certain privileges and restrictions are inherent to each. An organization must be completely registered before the organization may operate on campus. For more information on how to register your organization, go here and follow the link to 'register for the current academic year.'

Independent Organizations *

Independent organizations are primarily those organizations that have a volunteer advisor whose duties and responsibilities, and/or university job description does not require service as an advisor to that organization. Advisors work with organizations on their own time. Independent organizations must submit the following information to the SAO when they register each fall:

  • a completed organization information form
  • the Agreement for a Contracted Independent Organization (CIO form) [must be submitted on-line]
  • the CIO Addendum, including the signatures of all officers, and the club's advisor [must be submitted in hard copy]
  • a current copy of its constitution or bylaws [submitted on-line as part of the registration form]

In addition to the privileges available to all organizations, independent organizations are eligible to use the Cornell University name in their organization name for publicity, uniforms, or other purposes, according to university guidelines regarding the use of the Cornell name, logo, and artwork, and subject to approval through the Student Activities Office. However, when entering into legally binding, contractual agreements, an organization that uses the Cornell name in its organization name must use the university name in a locational sense. For example, “Cornell Rugby Football Club” should be “Rugby Football Club at Cornell.” Clubs are not permitted to use the word “team” in their name. For example, “Cornell Ski Team.”

Only official Cornell University teams under the Department of Athletics may use the word “team” in their name. Student members of independent organizations will qualify for Club Insurance coverage through the payment of the Student Activity fee.

All forms may be viewed and/or downloaded from the Student Organizations website located at http://sao.cornell.edu/SO.  For copies of forms and general information, follow the link to the 'Resources' page.

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University Organizations *

A university organization is affiliated with a university department or unit. That department or unit acknowledges the organization as part of its activities and has assigned an employee or graduate student to advise the group and oversee the organization’s activities. University organizations sponsor activities that fully relate to the education, research, and community-service mission of the university and to the goals or objectives of the university department or unit to which they are affiliated. The department or unit may, but is not required to, provide office space, a university account administered by the department or unit, a financial allocation and/or faculty, staff, or other administrative support. The membership of university organizations may comprise only currently registered Cornell University students or faculty or staff members. Nonmembers of the Cornell community may be considered volunteers to the organization but not as members. Volunteers must be approved by the Department of Risk Management and Insurance. (See the University Volunteer Policy at http://www.policy.cornell.edu/vol6_5.cfm)

University organizations must submit the following information to the SAO when they register each fall:

  • a completed organization information form [available on-line]
  • the Advisor Verification form
  • a copy of the organization’s current constitution or bylaws

In addition to the privileges available to all organizations (see below), university organizations are eligible to:

  • be included on the Cornell University insurance policy for Cornell events
  • enter into contractual agreements with outside parties as “Cornell University”
  • use the Cornell University name

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* For more information about registering student organizations, visit the Student Organization website at http://sao.cornell.edu/SO.

Privileges of Organizations

Organizations are entitled to:

  • access organization funds from the SAFC and GPSAFC, and request funding from other campus sources
  • apply for office space and/or mailboxes in WSH
  • be included on the list of student organizations on the Student Activities Office Web site
  • participate in the annual ClubFest (sponsored by Welcome Weekend committee)
  • receive club insurance coverage
  • request permission to conduct fund-raising activities on campus
  • request permission to use university property and services
  • request space for free web space on the Registered Student Organization (RSO) server
  • request to sponsor programs and activities
  • use the event-planning consultation services of the SAO

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Responsibilities of Organizations

Organizations must:

  • adhere to all local, state, and federal laws and regulations, and the Campus Code of Conduct
  • consult with appropriate departments or university representatives when large, unusual, or potentially risky events are planned
  • ensure continuity from year to year by training new leaders and keeping good records
  • follow all university and departmental policies and procedures
  • have an advisor who is a member of the Cornell University faculty or staff
  • have submitted a current constitution and bylaws to the SAO
  • inform the SAO of changes in organization in a timely fashion
  • manage university resources wisely, ethically, and according to university and department guidelines
  • obtain the necessary insurance coverage, when applicable, for all organization activities
  • operate in a manner consistent with the goals and standards of the university
  • provide adequate lead time when services are needed from university departments
  • register with the Student Activities Office each fall
  • remain in good standing with the university (organizations not in good standing will be referred to the appropriate university authorities)

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Advisors

Organizations are required to have an advisor who is a full-time member of the faculty or staff of Cornell University (Ithaca campus). Graduate students may serve as advisors of university organizations if they are designated as such by university departments or units and are supervised in this capacity by a currently employed Cornell University faculty or staff member.

Advisors of independent organizations are volunteers. This activity is not a condition of their employment at Cornell University. The advisor assists the organization in reaching its stated goals, and should be familiar with the organization’s constitution, the policies and procedures of Cornell University, and the activities and membership of the organization.

Officers of the organization should meet with the advisor to discuss their respective roles and responsibilities. Clarifying expectations early will help the organization continue to be effective throughout the year.

For more information on advisors, visit the 'Resources' page on the Student Organizations website - http://sao.cornell.edu/SO.

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For more information, contact the Student Activities Office at (607) 255-4169, or email activities@cornell.edu.