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student organizations

Advisor Handbook

Forming a New Organization

Developing Bylaws

Levels of Recognition

Template for Bylaws


Student Organizations Home

Center for Leadership Home


Forming a New Organization

Step 1
Submit an initial proposal to the Director of Organization Development addressing the following six issues:

  1. Group name

  2. Contact information for primary student leader

  3. Purpose of the group

  4. Statement indicating how this group would be unique and/or different from other, similar groups and programs; and demonstrating what needs this new group would meet that are not currently being met by student organizations or university programs

  5. General membership description and/or criteria for membership

  6. Signed advisor form

Click here to download Proposal form.

Click here to download Advisor form.

While the director determines status, students do not have Developmental, Provisional or Officially Recognized Organizational rights. (See definitions below.)

Step 2

Organizations then have two weeks to meet with the professional faculty/staff chair and SGA organization council representative of the cluster to which the proposed organization is similar (academic, government, Greek, honors, media, performance, programming, religious, service, sports clubs).  After this meeting, the chair and representative will send a statement to the Director of Organization Development.  The Director and the Vice President of Student Life will make the decision whether to grant development status to the group.

Click here to download Recommendation form.


Step 3

Once the first two steps have been satisfactorily met, the organization will be granted development status.  The Director of Organization Development appoints, via e-mail, two members of the Student Life Committee to oversee bylaws creation and group development. New groups should consult with the committee members, create new bylaws and begin building membership.

  • New organizations have three weeks from the time they are granted development status to submit a draft of bylaws to the two members of the Student Life Committee. 

  • With their bylaws, organizations must also submit a roster of member signatures.  These must be students who are committed to being part of the organization and not just students who support the idea of the organization forming.  The minimum number of students required to start an organization is 20.  Exceptions to these numbers may be granted in extreme cases at the discretion of the Student Life Committee.

* Due to the nature of National Honorary induction requirements, there is no set minimum an organization must meet.  Student organizations that wish to be recognized as an Inter/national Sorority or Fraternity must consult with the Greek Life office for specific requirements and guidelines for expansion of the Panhellenic, Interfraternity or National Pan-Hellenic councils.


Step 4
Student Life Committee Responsibilities and Actions

  • Once the committee members assigned to the group determine that the bylaws are successfully complete and the group is ready to be evaluated by the full committee, those members inform the Chair of the Student Life Committee.

  • The chair will circulate the bylaws via e-mail, solicit corrections or questions, and then call for an e-mail vote. Any bylaws that do not pass will be addressed in the next meeting.

  • If the vote is in favor of recognition, the committee will make a recommendation to the Vice President of Student Life, who will make final approval; if the Vice President agrees with the committee's recommendation, the university will grant Provisional Recognition to the group for a three-month trial of operations.

Step 5
Student group meets with Student Life Committee for three-month update.

  • After three months, the student group is invited to attend a meeting of the Student Life Committee to answer questions about development and programs of the group. After this meeting, the committee will vote whether or not to recognize the group officially.

  • If approved and officially recognized, the student group has full Officially Recognized Organizational Rights.


  • Groups are required to maintain the minimum number of 20 members as stated above or their status may be left at provisional for one semester.  If at the end of that provisional period, the group still has not maintained the minimum number of members, the group’s status may revert back to development.

Step 6
Student group commences business.

  • If approved and officially recognized, the student group assumes all rights and responsibilities of official recognition as determined by the Leadership Office (and the Sports Club Council if the group is a club sport).

* If an organization fails to complete these steps within the timeframe outlined above, developmental and/or provisional status will be forfeited.


  • Note:

    If the group is denied Development Status, Provisional Recognition, or Official Recognition, or if the group is inactive, the Dean of Student Life will provide a written explanation of the decision. Denied or inactive groups may resubmit materials after consultation with either the V.P. of Student Life and/or the Director of Leadership.

  • Inactive or Rogue:

    No group that is inactive or has not petitioned the Student Life Committee for official recognition will be allowed to reserve rooms, vans, or equipment; use "Elon" in the group's name; petition for money from the Student Government Association; or in any way be covered by or affiliated with official university programs.

  • Developmental Recognition:

    The organization may reserve rooms for the purpose of holding interest meetings and advertise via flyers, posters, table tents, E-Net, WSOE, etc., that interest meetings will be held to gain membership and assess viability of the organization. The group may not use the Elon name in official business travel off campus as a group, conduct tryouts or otherwise commence activities as an organization.

  • Provisional Recognition and Official Recognition:

    the organization may function as a group (attend competitions, hold performances, etc.); reserve rooms, vans, and other necessary equipment; access the university's liability insurance; use "Elon" in conjunction with the name of the group; participate in organizational fairs; be listed on official Elon documents as a group; and request funding from the Student Government Association.