Start a New Student Group

Students may want to form a new organization to explore and share with other students those interests that are not already reflected in existing campus organizations. The Campus Life staff can provide advice and support to further the growth of organizations. Specific areas of support may include the following:

  • Organizational structure, budgeting, fundraising, and official recognition through LUCC
  • Publicity materials and organizing documents
  • Facilities access for initial organizational meetings
  • University and local resources that may support the new organization
  • Assistance contacting prospective members and prospective advisors

Students interested in forming a new organization should review information about clubs and organizations in both the Student Handbook (PDF) and LUCC recognition documents found on the LUCC website.

Campus organizations are encouraged to have faculty or staff advisors and can often benefit from these relationships. Advisors can help students better negotiate campus policies and procedures, and are usually aware of a range of resources available to support the work of the organization.

For more information on creating a student organization please contact the Campus Life office at 920-832-6600, or visit our office on the 4th floor of the Warch Campus Center.

Recruit, Retain Members

One of the best ways to encourage interested members to stay involved and contribute to your group’s goals is to help individual members get to know each other, and to give each member purpose in activities, meetings, and events.

  • Know who you are and what you do—Develop a mission statement as a way to help members of your group-and potential new members-understand who the group's purpose and identity. Make sure all members of the organization can talk about what the group stands for, ways the members can participate, and benefits of participating with the organization.
  • Have a regular meeting time and use an agenda—An agenda is crucial to keeping you on track. Format your agenda before the meeting starts.  Consider including information highlighting what the group has accomplished, benefits of participation, and contact information.
  • Greeting and introductions—Introduce new members any time someone joins the group. Consider doing a short ice breaker or team builder at each meeting to help members get to know each other and develop a sense of group identity.
  • Be mindful of others—Encourage punctuality to meetings and events and follow through on tasks. Using agendas will help meetings and appointments stay on task, and will help members budget their time for longer conversations or more difficult tasks.
  • Delegate responsibility—Asking "does someone want to be in charge of this?" will help divide up larger projects into manageable portions. Delegation helps everyone keep a more manageable to-do list. Allowing others to take on tasks for the group also helps keep members invested in the organization by giving them a tangible way to contribute.
  • Check-in—When having a regular meeting, give a quick recap of what has been discussed. Remind people of what they are responsible for and any upcoming deadlines. State when the next meeting will be and where it will be held. Sending meeting minutes to the group is a great way to capture this information.
    • If tasks have been delegated, it is important for the organization leader to check in with members that have been assigned tasks. This check-in helps keep projects moving forward and helps the leader  ensure members working on tasks have the information they need to complete the assignment. 
    • If new members or potential members participate in a meeting or event, check in with them a few days later to see if they have any questions about the organization. This is a good way to show new members that the organization is active and organized.
  • Allow for feedback—When holding a meeting, open the floor to members to introduce any issues that need to be discussed or resolved. After your group holds an event, take a few minutes in your next meeting to collect feedback on what went well and any areas the group would like to improve upon during future events. Keep records of this information so that if a similar event is held in the future the organization can build on the previous successes and suggestions.
  • Recognition—As you know, students are busy people. Take a few minutes at some point in the term or year to thank organization members for their dedication and commitment to the group. This doesn't need to be anything formal or fancy, a card or note, some snacks at a meeting, or just a spoken thank you goes a long way in letting your members know that their time and efforts are appreciated.

Elect and Transition Leadership

Each student organization may have varying ways of electing new leadership, but there are a few ways in which all student organization leadership and transition should be similar:

Elections

One of the fairest ways to have new leadership step up is through some sort of selection process. This can take almost any form (nomination, appointment, election, etc.), as long as all members of the group believe it is fair and they have an equal opportunity to run for a position. Each student organization should write into its by-laws, constitution, or organizational agreements how they will elect or determine new leaders each year and when during the year it will happen. Student groups should inform the Campus Life Office of new leadership once they have been selected.

Position Descriptions

It is difficult to fulfill a position without knowing what is expected! Having position descriptions for all of your leadership positions within your organization (whether very formal positions or chairpersons who oversee a committee) will help ensure people understand what they should be accomplishing, and what others in the group can look to if they are interested in being elected for a position. For examples of position descriptions, you can look at the LUCC positions in the Student Handbook for ideas.

Re-Recognition

This process through LUCC happens early Term 3 of each academic year. LUCC’s leadership transitions at the end of Term 2 and beginning of Term 3. Every student organization should mirror this transitional period to make re-recognition flow more smoothly. This allows the new leader(s) to work with the previous leader(s) during the beginning of Term 3 and ask questions as needed, instead of having a situation where senior leaders have graduated already and a new leader transitions in the fall without the ability to easily be guided or ask questions. If you have questions about the re-recognition process, you can find the form at the LUCC website

Sharing Information

This is one of the most important parts of transitioning your organization’s leadership. How will the new leaders of your student organization know what has worked well in the past, what has already been done in the past, and what traditions or special events should be carried on into the future? By keeping records and sharing information! For more info on leaving your legacy and keeping records, view information on Leaving a Legacy/Records, below.

Spend the Group's Money

Many student organizations receive budgets from LUCC to support events, lectures, trips and other programming efforts of their organization. Once funds have been awarded they can be accessed by using a university credit card (preferred method), cash advance, or individual reimbursement. Each student organization must determine one or two people each year to serve as their financial designee. The financial designees work closely with the Campus Life office to approve and track student organization expenditures.

Learn more about accessing your LUCC funds here.

Student organizations can request additional funds from LUCC by completing a funding request form.

If a student organization has money allocated for a specific expense but would like to use those funds for a different purpose the organization will need to submit a funding request form and meet with the LUCC Finance Committee to propose a reallocation of funds.

Students interested in spending their organization’s funds should review information about club and organization finances in the Student Handbook. Student organizations are expected to maintain their own budget records and may regularly reconcile their budgets with Campus Life records.

Student groups contemplating the collection of membership dues or holding a fundraiser should work closely with the Campus Life office to ensure that funds are collected and deposited appropriately. Students organizations should be familiar with the organization fundraising guidelines in the Student Handbook.

Access LUCC Funds

Please note that only the one or two financially responsible individuals of an organization will be able to access funds.

Using a Campus Life Credit Card

This is the simplest way to use your organization’s funds. This is particularly appropriate for booking hotels or flights and buying things online. You can do this by talking with the Campus Life Office.  Make sure to record this on your expenses spreadsheet.

Reimbursement

You can go shopping on your own, fill out a reimbursement request, and bring receipts to the Campus Life Office. You will need the signature of another member of the organization in order to be reimbursed. After the form is processed, you will be able to take a receipt to the Cashier and get the reimbursement in cash.

Cash Advances

This is the least advisable of the ways to utilize your funds, but is an option. You will need to fill out a Cash Advance Request in the Campus Life Office and take a form to the Cashier. Please do this more than one full business day before you need the money. You will need to account for all of the money with receipts and return any money that was not spent.

Other Funding Information

What can your funds be used for?

Funds can only be spent on items which fall under the categories listed in your budget. You will go into debt if you spend money on things which you do not specifically have funds for. If you do not plan on spending money on the items which they were allocated for and would like money for something else, you may submit a Funding Request Form to reallocate funds for another purpose. If you are unsure of if you can spend money on something, please do not hesitate to ask.

Keeping Track of Your Own Budget

You are expected to keep a record of your own expenses and bring this with you to any transactions with the Campus Life Office and to any meeting with the LUCC Finance Committee. You will not be able to get a print out of your spending report from the Campus Life Office.

Dues and Fundraising Money

Any money to be deposited into an organization’s budget should be brought to the Campus Life Office to be counted.  At that point, a deposit slip will be written out which should be brought to the Business Office and deposited into the correct account.

Van Costs

The cost for student organizations to rent Lawrence vans is 50 cents per mile. To rent a vehicle, come to the Campus Life Office to submit a vehicle reservation request. When you rent a van you will be asked to record the number of miles driven. Keep track of this number and multiply by .5 so that you can record the total cost in your own record of expenses.

Making Copies

Student Organizations who wish to make copies must have been allocated an Office Supplies budget, and must inform LUCC of how much of that money should be used for making copies. Each organization will be issued a card which will have that amount on it to be swiped at the copy machine on the 4th floor of the Campus Center. The cards will be kept at the Info Desk, and must be returned after copies are made.

Requesting Additional Funds

Any individual or organization can request additional funding at any point during the year through filling out a Funding Request Form and returning it to the LUCC Office (Warch Campus Center 413).  Keep in mind that money must be requested before the event or purchase takes place, as Finance Committee does not allocate money retroactively. Upon submitting a request you will be asked to come in to meet with Finance Committee, at which you must have an up to date record of your organization’s expenses. At least one of the financially responsible individuals must submit the request, and should be at the Finance Committee meeting unless this is not a possibility.

Useful Contacts

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about LUCC finances.

Contact LUCC Vice President by emailing lucc@lawrence.edu.
Contact the Campus Life office by emailing campus_life@lawrence.edu.

Leave a Record/Legacy

Record keeping is an important part of maintaining a student organization and  transitioning an organization’s leadership. Keeping a history of your student organization will help not only student leaders, but all members, know what has worked well in the past, what has already been done in the past, and what traditions or special events should be carried on into the future.

Here are some suggestions of information to maintain:

  • Meeting Minutes—These would include topics discussed at meetings of the organization, as well as parts of the planning process, how regular meetings proceeded, etc.
  • Program/Event evaluations—These would help to answer questions for future leaders about what the feedback was on certain events, whether the event achieved its goals, and if the group determined it was successful or not at that time.
  • Term End or Year End reportsThese reports can include meeting minutes and program evaluations, and also include thoughts from the leadership about ongoing traditions, ongoing issues, problems faced throughout the year, major achievements, training for leadership, team-building for the organization, etc.
  • TraditionsThese records should track any events that have become a tradition for the organization including task lists, timeline, publicity, estimated expenses, etc.
  • Financial records—All student organizations should be keeping records of their expenses.  These records will help the group plan for the programs and event they will host during the year, and for the LUCC budget process that happens each spring term.
  • ResourcesKeep a list of resources and contact information for people or offices your student organization with which your organization regularly works.
  • RostersStudent organization rosters are kept with the Campus Life office.  Student leaders should keep a list of active group members to reconcile with the campus life roster each term in an effort to keep membership lists as up-to-date as possible and to ensure that student’s participation with a group is being accurately recorded.

Promote Yourself - Transferable Skills

Working with student groups exposes you to a variety of experiences that often apply to future jobs, graduate school opportunities, internships and long-term careers. Your participation on campus has most likely involved cooperating with different people, planning events, running meetings, making decisions, budgeting, etc. These experiences, among others, are applicable in the real world.

Think about the events and products that you and your group have worked to create. What was your role? How did you help make the event happen? Did you have to negotiate? What did you learn along the way and what ideas do you have to make it better?

Take a few moments to recollect your accomplishments and then visit Career Services to put your experiences into words. Career Services can help you find the right language for a résumé, a cover letter, or for an interview.

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