Managing your RSO may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are numerous resources at your fingertips that will make running your RSO a breeze!
The purpose of this guide is to help both new and existing RSO’s learn more about OrgSync, important recurring deadlines, fiscal management, and campus policy and procedure.
Department of Student Life
Recognition Process for Student Organizations
Starting a New RSO
If you find that none of the existing organizations meet your needs, follow the step-by-step guide to starting a new student organization. Feel free to contact Brandon Price in the Office of Student Life at 450-3137 if you have any questions along the way. Before you begin the process, consider the following:
Criteria for Approval
In order to be recognized as a new UCA group, the organization must:
- Complement the University’s mission.
- Have a clear purpose.
- Demonstrate an unmet need that is not duplicated by another student group or campus department.
- Comply with all local, state and federal laws.
- Involve activities that do not create undue risk or liability to the University.
- Have a separate President, Financial Officer, and Faculty or Staff Advisor.
- Upon request, groups submit budgets and other information based on the type and complexity of the organization.
- Create a name that clearly represents the function of the student group.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE to Starting a New Student Organization
Step 1. Read the Student Handbook
Everything you need to know about student organizations at UCA is in the handbook.
Step 2. Find a UCA Advisor
The advisor requirements and role are very important. Make sure when selecting an advisor, it is a good fit for both the group as well as the advisor.
Step 3. Develop a Constitution
Each constitution submitted must follow the Sample Constitution and RSO Guidelines & Application in order to be approved as a recognized student organization.
Step 4. Register New Organization and Submit Constitution
Register your new organization on OrgSync. The UCA Review can take anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks, because your constitution must be approved by two committees. Follow the steps below for registration:
- Log into myUCA.
- Click the green OrgSync arrow in the top right to go to our student engagement network.
- Click on the organizations tab at the top of your OrgSync community home.
- Click the green Register New Organization button.
- Select Office of Student Life.
- Fill out the form. *You will be prompted to upload your constitution in word format in this form, so have it ready when registering.
- Be sure to check your OrgSync regularly for revisions to your constitution or application throughout the approval process. You will receive a notification on OrgSync when your group has officially been recognized.
Step 5. Renew RSO Yearly
Now that your group has successfully been approved, you must renew your group each semester by September 15 and February 1 by updating your organization profile on OrgSync. A $25 late fee will be imposed if your group renews after the deadline. Late renewal is only extended for 30 days after the original deadline. After 2 semesters of not renewing, your group will be dropped. In order to re-activate your group, you must go through the New RSO process again and wait for the group to be re-approved. During that period, all RSO privileges will no longer exist for the group.
You also must have one person from your RSO complete a background check form. That individual will be responsible for picking up the check if your group receives SAFA funding and making sure the funds are deposited.
Step 6. Attend Mandatory Workshops
Each RSO is required to attend 1 workshop during the school year offered through the Student Life Office. The MANDATORY workshop will take place in September every year and 2 members of each RSO are required to attend. Advisors are highly encouraged to attend the Advisor breakout session.
Step 7. Check Mailbox on a weekly basis
All student organizations must manage their mailbox located in the Student Center, 207. If the mailbox is not being checked, the RSO will be contacted, and the mailbox will be re-assigned to another group. You will not be able to get your mailbox back until a vacancy occurs.
Please note: Submitting an application for a new student organization does not guarantee recognition.
RSO Categories and Structure
RSOs categorize themselves based on their function as an RSO. Below are the current categories and a brief description
Departmental: Groups who are supported and/or sponsored by a university division or college.
Governing: Groups whose purpose it is to govern a number of smaller organizations and/or serve within the university’s governance system.
Greek (Fraternity/Sorority): Social groups who are members of the four Greek governing bodies. (Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Council, & Independent Greek Council).
Honorary: Nationally recognized honor organizations usually based on academic achievement, leadership, and/or extracurricular success. Membership is often based on nomination or minimum grade point average.
Recreation: Groups who promote active involvement in a variety of recreation and leisure activities.
Religious: Groups representing diverse faith communities and belief systems who observe and follow religious and/or spiritual practices and traditions while offering fellowship and outreach through activities, programs, and worship
Residence Hall Council: Groups who serve as a governing body for each Residence Hall.
Service: Groups whose organizations’ mission is to provide service to the campus, community, and national charities.
Special Interest: Groups who focus on a specific issue, topic, or activity of interest that connect them with others who share the same interest.
Sport Clubs: Groups focused on sports programs and competition league play established under guidelines provided by the UCA Intramural Sports Office.
What is an advisor?
A student organization advisor is a faculty or staff member who is either requested or assigned to provide support and guidance to officers and members of a student organization. The advisor not only serves as a representative of the group in an official capacity, but also as an advocate for the group. The advisor role models leadership behavior, influences the group, stimulates members, and brings new ideas.
The faculty/staff advisor who helps with the group’s programming content, organization, and foundation. This advisor can be any full-time UCA faculty or staff.
Why serve as an advisor?
Advising a student organization can be a very rewarding experience for faculty and staff. Working with students outside structured classroom experiences or staff roles allows faculty and staff an opportunity to share information and resources and to teach hands-on skills such as leadership styles, organizational ethics, and program planning.
The amount of time required to serve as a student organization advisor varies based on the needs of the group. Minimally, an advisor should expect to spend two to three hours per month on student organization issues during the academic year. A very active advisor for a large student organization could expect to spend as many as two to four hours per week engaged in related activities. These activities can include:
- Attending meetings (executive and all-member)
- Attending various events sponsored by the student organization which you advise
- Meeting with the president(s) or leader(s) of the student organization to discuss event programming, organizational development, and reflection
Faculty and staff advisors assist organizations with five broad areas:
- Recognition: Complete the requirement that all RSO’s must have an advisor
- Maintenance: Serve to maintain the existence of the student organization and to help provide continuity with the history, activity, and tradition of past years.
- Growth: Provide advice about activities that improve the operation and effectiveness of the group and help it progress towards its goals
- Education: Stimulate group members’ learning and skills development, contributing to their intellectual development and the enrichment of campus life
- Networking: Help group members develop new contacts for programming and mentoring
As you reflect upon your roles and functions as an advisor, remember that it’s the students’ organization! You are an advisor, not a member. You should be teaching and guiding, not performing the group’s tasks. Be willing to admit your mistakes to the leaders and the groups – authenticity is key. Though it may be tempting to intervene every time students are veering from their goals and tasks, allowing them to make and learn from mistakes can help to prevent similar situations in the future. Trust your instincts, knowledge, and experiences
General RSO Policies, Rules and Files
Maintaining Organization Recognition
There are a few things that each RSO on campus must do in order to retain their status as a recognized student organization here at UCA. The full, official rules governing RSO’s are outlined in the student handbook but the main points are summarized below for your convenience.
- Organizations must adhere to the purposes, aims and activities as stated in the recognition documents (i.e. the groups constitution).
- Continue to meet all of the requirements for initial recognition.
- Remain in compliance with all rules and regulations of the University, Student Handbook, and all federal, state and local laws.
- Submit any changes in its purpose statement, constitution, or recognition documents via an OrgSync renewal request.
- Submit an organization registration renewal to the Student Life Office annually by the deadline specified in the RSO Guidebook
- A $25 late fee will apply to any renewals submitted after the deadline. All RSO privleges will be suspended until a renewal is received.
- One member from each student organization must attend the annual RSO Leadership Training offered during the Fall semester. While only one person is required to attend, it is highly encouraged that 2 members as well as the advisor attend.
- Maintain a membership of at least six student members.
It is the organization’s responsibility to make sure they’re receive news updates and communications from the office of student life. Any policy changes, deadline changes or other important information will be communicated to RSO presidents and advisors via OrgSync message.
Submitting an OrgSync Organization Renewal
It is critical that you keep your profile information up-to-date on OrgSync. If this is not updated each semester your organization will miss important deadlines and lose important RSO privileges (such as room scheduling and SAFA funding privileges).
In order to submit a renewal, your account must be marked as an admin for your group’s OrgSync page (click here to learn how to give someone admin privileges).
Approximate Timeline of Important Deadlines
- Early-January: RSO Roster/Membership Audit
- Mid-January: New RSO Officer Training
- Mid-February: RSO Workshop
- Mid-March: RSO Workshop
- Mid-April: RSO Officer Transition Training
- Late-April: Mandatory Organization Renewals Open
- Late-August: Mandatory Organization Renewals Close
- Mid-September: Mandatory Annual RSO training
- Mid-September: RSO Fair
- Late-October: Homecoming Week
- Mid-November: RSO Officer Transition Training
- Hazing Prevention
- Trademark and Collegiate Licensing
- RSO Constitution Template
- Officer Transition Checklist
OrgSync has a very comprehensive set of tutorials on their website. Below you will find links to the most commonly asked about features in our community. If you aren’t seeing what you’re looking for, click here for a more comprehensive list.