How to Officially Register Your New Student Organization

Update: Registering a New Student Organization (NSO) takes approximately one full semester. If you are proposing a new org now, please expect to spend a minimum of the the Spring Semester working with our office before your group is eligible to become officially registered next Fall. 

Important Note: Until your group is officially registered as an MHC student org, you can NOT represent yourselves as an official Mount Holyoke constituent. Meaning that you can not advertise yourselves with the Mount Holyoke name attached to your group, develop logos or material that do so, etc.

There are many great ideas for new student organizations, and the Office of Student Programs is here to help you turn them into reality. While the actual process of registering a new group is straight forward, to ensure that students have an understanding of all their community expectations and resources available to them, the process cannot be rushed. Registration is simply one step involved in recognizing the founding of a new community on campus.

New Student Organization Registration Process:

  1. Once you have an idea of the Student Organization you hope to create, research current campus orgs to ensure that one does not already exist that is similar to that of your interests. We will always advise for collaboration over duplication. 
    1. If there is a similar org already registered, please reach out to them or contact the Office of Student Programs for support in connecting with this group. 
    2. Looking to make your mark?! It's possible that your idea might best serve the campus as a project instead of a long term org. If this might be You, come talk to us.
  2. If there is no registered org with similar missions, contact Assistant Director of Student Programs, Erin O'Brien, to initiate the process of developing your org idea. You will be asked to begin putting your ideas into writing. 
    1. New Student Org Registration is evaluated according to some of the criteria below. Consider each of these components as you're developing your org material and be prepared to discuss them in your first advising meeting. (Please note, Erin can help clarify and answer questions about any of the criteria).
      1. Mission and objectives of the proposed org (goals)
      2. The number of students interested (need a minimum of 10 active members to officially register)
      3. Demonstrated proof that there are currently no other registered orgs operating around the same mission or purpose
      4. Local autonomy vs. affiliation with parent organization, national chapter, or charter (affiliations require additional vetting)
      5. Compliance with College policies around use of Mount Holyoke name, logos, etc 
      6. Plan for ensuring long-term sustainability of the organization 
      7. Manner in which organization benefits the members, campus, and/or wider community
      8. Alignment with the Mission of the College to provide opportunities for intellectually adventurous education, leadership, and purposeful engagement in the world. 
  3. Once connected with Erin, you will be asked to develop the baseline material that will serve as the core foundation of your organization. (See Below)
    1. Name of Organization
    2. Mission & Goals
    3. Why is there a need for this group? What gap does it fill in the current list of registered orgs?
    4. Members - Who is this for? How are you going to recruit members? (List of 10 active members)
    5. Leadership structure and transition plans
    6. Adviser- How might having an adviser help you reach your goals? Possible adviser(s)/Department connections?
    7. Org's annual plan - meeting structure, possible events, logistics, etc.
    8. Team Development Plan - How will you build a cohesive team, how will members communicate?
    9. Fundraising plans for the academic year (Please note that all registered orgs who request SGA funding from Ways & Means are required to receive Authorized Signers training)
  4. Once you have been able to develop material for most of these points, share them with Erin for review via Google Docs and set up an advising meeting to discuss next steps, ask questions, and begin developing an org constitution. This step will aid in developing a plan for how your new group will spend it's first semester cultivating its leadership, establishing group guidelines, and fine-tuning its mission and purpose. 
  5. Once given written approval, you will be able to officially register as a Mount Holyoke Recognized Student Org with the Office of Student Programs.

Club Sports and Recreation Organizations

While club sports and movement & recreation organizations are registered through the Office of Student Programs, club sports are dually administered through the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, and supervised by Amie Canfield. The planning for creating such organizations is often more intensive than other groups, and Mount Holyoke encourages students to adhere and follow the regulations of any national affiliate groups and charters. Students should come to Student Programs to discuss their ideas and if we feel it meets the criteria of the risk level of a club sport we will connect them with athletics for further support.

For clarification, here are some of the basic differences between a recreation organization and a club sport:

  • Club sports are intercollegiately competitive. They practice and require coaches, whom are paid from SGA funds and a staff member of the college. These groups require greater administrative oversight and risk management.
  • Dance, movement & recreation organizations do not compete on the collegiate level, and require little-to-no practice. Coaches are not provided.