By Monica Racicot

How many of you remember back to START when your advisors told you that there are over 300 student clubs and organizations at OSU? They said that if in that whole mix of clubs, you couldn’t find something that fit your interests, you could start your own… well, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now!

I am in the process of re-establishing “Comm Club,” or Communication Club, as a Voluntary Student Organization at Oregon State. The process is long, and kind of complicated. So before you get excited about making a club, make sure you understand what you will be getting yourself into. And make sure that you have enough committed individuals that are enthusiastic and willing to make your club happen. With that said…

How to Get Clubbin’

The first page you need to head to when you’re thinking about starting a club or organization at OSU is the Student Leadership and Involvement page. You will first want to review the current listing of active student organizations; just to make sure there isn’t one you would like to join that’s already underway!

Once you’ve searched, your next step is to review the student organization classification ( information in order to get a sense of what is required of each categorization moving forward.  Only two of the three classifications – Sponsored & Voluntary Student Organizations – are recognized by the University.  Non-Affiliated Student Organizations are not University recognized, they are just registered.

Depending on your potential organization classification, identify a minimum of 4-10 OSU students (including yourself) interested in supporting the creation of your new organization.

  • Develop a Constitution/Governing Document for your organization including the minimum proscribed guidelines
  • Review the Registration & Recognition information for an overview of the materials that need to be submitted.
  • Schedule a time to meet with a representative from the Student Events & Activities Center

There are TONS of benefits for student organizations. I had no idea! Check this out:

Resources for Student Orgs

Not a business major? Keep reading to get some suggestions about how to fund raise for your organization.

Important things to remember when you are organizing a fundraiser, as stated by Student Leadership and Involvement:

  • All fundraising events must be sponsored by a registered student organization. Events should be registered at least 2 week before the event date. 
  • All financial transactions must be handled by members of the student organization.
  • All funds raised from the event should be deposited into the student organization’s MU Account (MU 215).
  • An individual or individuals of the student organization may not participate for private financial gain.
  • If collecting currency, use a cash box from the MU Accounting (MU 215).
  • All checks must be written to the student organization.
  • Event admission charges shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, disabled veteran, or Vietnam-era veteran status.
  • All costs associated with the use of state tax-supported facilities must be paid by the student organization.
FUNdraising Ideas 

  • Coffee and donut sale
  • Bagel and pretzel sale
  • Candy sale
  • Bake sale (make sure items are properly packaged and from a licensed kitchen)
  • Auction
  • Balloon sale
  • Art/poster sale
  • Plant/Flower sale
  • Buttons/t-shirts/bumper sticker/other
  • Holiday bazaar
  • Benefit dance/concert
  • Student-faculty talent/art show
  • Birthday cake delivery
  • Singing message
  • Finals care package
  • Tournaments/Contests
  • Banquets/roasts
  • Progressive dinner party
  • Merchant donations
  • Pledges
  • Membership dues
  • Immobile bicycle-a-thon
  • Marathons (run, walk, jog, eat, see-saw, dance, cards, board games, etc.)
  • Antique show
  • Ushers for events
  • Art fair
  • Haunted house
  • Provide work force for events
  • Car wash
  • Recycling drive
  • Guess beans in a jar (or variation)

Funding Resources

Student organization funding may come from many different sources.  Some organizations institute dues or participation fees, host fundraisers or solicit funding from many places including those listed below.  Student organization fundraising activities being held on campus must be reported through the student organization database.  The Student Events & Activities Center can provide ideas for successful fundraisers. Take a peek at the options below for possible funding assistance—

Student-Fee-Funded Organizations

Student fees are utilized to support student organization development and activities.  These funds are made available through a number of funding boards, depending on unique criteria (i.e. sport clubs are funded through the recreational sports board).  Additionally, some student organizations receive annual funding or fund balance allocation through the Educational Activities Committee.

Educational Activities

Recognized student organizations may be able to receive funding from the Educational Activities Committee (ED-ACT) which exists to support the cultural and intellectual community on campus, to address the needs of students who are members of an underrepresented group, and to increase student retention through the contribution of extracurricular programs.

Student Foundation

Student organizations can apply for funding from the Student Foundation. The foundation will consider funding events, equipment purchases, travel, and more. To apply, pick-up an application in the Student Events & Activities Center (MU 103). You can also email


If your club or organization affiliated with a campus department, you may be able to request financial assistance. Some of the key components to a request include showing how the department and students within the department would benefit.

*Don’t assume that your department will have the funds to support your club or org. For example, the Speech Communication department is not able to provide Comm Club with any financial support.

Community Businesses or Organizations

You may want to consider requesting funds from a community business or organization (some examples include grocery stores, CH2MHill, banks, HP, new businesses, restaurants). Sponsorship requests to companies or corporations should be made in writing with a professional quality letter or proposal. Include the purpose of the request, the history of the program, type of recognition offered to donors, and instructions on how to make the gift. It is important to follow-up with an in-person visit.

National Organization

Some student organizations may find national organizations or grants will support their activities. Use your advisor and other professional resources to help locate these opportunities.

Listserves- a SUPER HELPFUL way of getting your club out there!

Once your group has completed the annual registration process, you may want to create a group email listserve to help manage communication with your members. To establish a listserve, go to the OSU Mailing Lists site and fill out the on-line listserve request form.

Workshops-Leadership and Organization Development Resources

The Peer Leadership Consultants (PLCs) of the Student Leadership & Involvement staff are available to present on a variety of leadership and organization development workshops. You just have to fill out a request form at least 2 weeks in advance. Workshop examples:

*How to be a Juicy, Succulent Student Leader

*Communication and Conflict Resolution

*Ethics in Leadership and Decision Making

**An important side note

You can also start a sport club with OSU Rec Sports (aka Dixon). Contact the sport clubs and intramural sports office at (541) 737-4083. Word on the street is that lots of OSU students are requesting a “Quidditch” club…but nobody has created one yet. Will it be you?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 thoughts on “How to Start a Student Club or Organization

  1. Great tips.

    How was the process of establishing the Communication Club? Everything go smoothly?

    Taking the initiate to start a club says a lot about a person and will also look good on any application or resume.

  2. Hi Ted,

    Thanks for the comment! The process to make “Comm Club” was very difficult actually. But not so much on the part of the school, but difficult because the members weren’t as committed as they led off in the beginning. We are actually in the process of transforming the club into an honorary fraternity recognized by the National Communication Association. We will soon be called Lambda Pi Eta! So it all worked out in the end. But it ended up being a lot harder then I originally intended.

    Thanks for the feedback!


Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>