This section provides information about what it means to be a recognized student organization at Elon. It highlights the many different types of organizations and the benefits and responsibilities of all organizations on campus. Additionally, this section provides information about the new organization development process, the annual renewal process, and membership and officer eligibility.


** denotes a University or student organization policy


A registered student organization can be defined as a group of students joined together in the pursuit of a common educational or co-curricular purpose that supports the mission and values of Elon. The university supports student organizations through Student Involvement by coordinating the new organization intake process, yearly renewal process, and the collecting of membership and leadership rosters. Student Involvement also serves as the University clearinghouse for all registered student organizations and maintains current information on each recognized student organization, its officers or authorized representatives, its purpose, and its advisor through PhoenixCONNECT.

Core Principles for Elon University Registered Student Organizations **

These Core Principles were developed in partnership with the Student Life Committee (Standing Committee of the Faculty Handbook as stated in Article VIII, Section 18). It is expected that all recognized organizations adhere to these principles.

  1. Student organizations must be formed and administered by Elon students. 
    Student leadership and the opportunity for student organizations to be self-governing within the policies and expectations of the university are key aspects of the learning and leadership experience.  Elon recognizes and supports student organizations as part of its educational mission. Faculty and staff (and in some cases approved, non-Elon personnel) are welcomed and expected to serve as advisors, but may not vote or lead the club or organization.
  2. Student organizations must comply fully with the university’s non-discrimination policy: “The university does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, creed, sex, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran’s status in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, or the operation of any of its programs.” Faculty Handbook and Student Handbook
  3. Student organizations must welcome any Elon student in good academic and social standing as members. The rationale is, again, that student organizations are part of the educational enterprise of the university so that any full-time student (or part-time student approved by the Director of Student Involvement), who is interested in learning about and participating in a student organization, must be welcomed. There are a few exceptions to all members participating in all activities. Student organizations such as a cappella groups, dance groups, etc. may hold auditions; honor societies may set GPA requirements; and some organizations may set selection criteria, such as the social and business fraternities and sororities.  In addition, some may develop and use criteria to select a smaller set of the members to represent them on certain occasions, but to the greatest extent feasible, the full membership should be included in all activities. For example, competitive groups, such as club sports, may develop and use criteria for selecting travel team to and participate in competitions at other schools if funds are insufficient or it is otherwise not feasible for the entire team to travel. All of these exceptions must be specified in the student organizations by-laws which must be approved by the Student Life Committee.
  4. The leadership selection of student organizations must be entirely student led and administered following the democratic process specified in their by-laws.                                                                     The Student Life Committee believes that, as part of the educational process, student organizations should engage in respectful dialogue over differences in opinions and views, and allow its members to elect the individuals they deem best for leadership positions.
  5. Accountability for members and officers of student organizations must be based on clearly established behavioral criteria.                                                                                                                Sanctions against, or dismissal of members/officers, must be based on clearly established, written criteria in student organization by-laws, or manuals approved by the full membership (according to procedures specified in the by-laws).  Reasons for holding a student accountable must be based on behaviors inconsistent with clearly defined criteria and not subjective questions of identity, belief, or fit. In addition, any conduct process must adhere to basic due process principles, including: written notice to the student that states the incorrect behavior for which the student is being charged; the opportunity for the student to prepare for, and respond to the charges; and, the opportunity for the student to face the person(s) charging the student. Organization members are also expected to uphold all university policies and may be held accountable based on the behavior by the appropriate department on campus.

Community Standards for All Student Organizations **

In order to promote a relationship between recognized student organizations and the University that is based on trust, collaboration, cooperation and the resulting mutual benefits to the University and the campus community, Student Involvement has developed criteria for the recognition of these organizations.

  1. Student organizations enhance participation in the cultural, academic, social, service, philanthropic and spiritual life of Elon. The individual and group performance of members of our organizations should always uphold the values stated in the organization’s constitutions and/or by-laws. By virtue of the University’s recognition of each organization’s stated principles and ideals, the University expects that the goals of student organizations will be implemented in a manner that is compatible with the goals and mission of the Elon community.
  2. It is the practice of Elon to recognize only student organizations that have been developed through the University student organization process as outlined by Student Involvement and the Student Life Committee. Accordingly, the University generally will not recognize or sanction events, activities or circumstances where students are involved via affiliation with other organizations not recognized at Elon.
  3. As stated in Elon’s goals, an important objective of the Elon experience, both in and outside of the classroom, is to educate and develop mature, responsible members of the community. Accordingly, it is important that each recognized organization’s values and founding principles be congruent with these goals. Recognized organizations are permitted certain privileges and, correspondingly, must undertake certain responsibilities within this community. There is a mutual accountability between the organization and the University.
  4. The Elon Student Honor Code and all other Elon policies supersede and preempt any and all inconsistent or contrary regulations, policies and/or decisions made by registered student organizations and/or their inter/national organizations and affiliates.
  5. Student organization leaders are expected be knowledgeable of and adhere to any policies/practices as outlined by the University and any academic/administrative department or national organization with which the organization is affiliated.

Types of Student Organizations

Each of our recognized student organizations is placed in one of twelve categories. Below are the student organization categories and their respective mission statements:

Academic & Professional – To further knowledge and enhance commitment to future study through affiliation with an academic department, major, or professional organization. To provide a network for students with similar professional interests to learn about future career fields and support students in career and internship aspirations.

Club Sports – To promote and develop interest in a particular sport or activity. Clubs may be instructional, recreational, competitive, or may be involved in any combination of these elements.

Cultural – To educate students on cultures different from their own in order to enhance their global perspective. To celebrate different cultures’ histories and traditions.

Fine Arts – To create and promote the use of creative arts including music, performance, dance, talent, and creative skills.

Government – To educate and facilitate knowledge about the various aspects of government and the governance of the Elon University campus. To promote open-minded public discussion of relevant issues and focus on social support in hopes of providing real life solutions to topics of interest.

Greek – To foster the development of their members by promoting friendship, loyalty, academic achievement and intellectual development, service to the community and their alma mater, honor and integrity, leadership and personal responsibility. Fraternity and sororities promote lifetime relationship bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

Honors – To recognize students for their academic, scholarly, or leadership achievements by conferring membership upon their members.

Media – To provide students a means for showcasing their multi-media talents and publish their work. To provide information on current events and related news to the Elon community.

Performance – To create and promote the use of creative arts including music, performance, dance, talent, and creative skills.

Programming – To provide activities and entertainment for the campus and community. Sponsored programs and activities include social, educational, information, or developmental events that contribute to the development of students. They focus on designing and implementing programs that broaden the cultural awareness and appreciation of diversity on campus.

Spirituality – To offer support and educate students about particular spiritual and/or religious practices, philosophies, and/or beliefs.

Service – To provide volunteer service to others and encourage civic engagement.

Each category may have additional criteria that apply to organizations in their respective areas. A comprehensive list of all recognized student organizations can be found on PhoenixCONNECT.

Religious and Spiritual Life Student Organizations, Community Ministries, and University Programs

All regular activities and programs within Religious and Spiritual Life are classified as Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs), Community Ministries, or University Programs. Both RSOs and Community Ministries are expected to follow all relevant University policies, including the policies for student organizations administered by the Office of Student Involvement.

  • The main difference between Religious and Spiritual Life RSOs and Community Ministries is that RSOs are fully student-led and fully comply with the Core Principles for Elon University Student Organizations and Clubs. As such, RSOs are eligible to request student activity fee funding through SGA.
  • Community Ministries within Religious and Spiritual Life may adopt certain religious criteria for student leaders, so long as these criteria are public, transparent, and approved in advance by the Truitt Center.
  • Religious and Spiritual Life University Programs are staff-led programs and include Jewish Life, Catholic Life, and Muslim Life. While these programs may be in partnership with certain RSOs, they may not compromise the student leadership of these organizations.
  • All Religious and Spiritual Life RSOs, Community Ministries, and University Programs are required to register their events through PhoenixCONNECT and to welcome all students in good standing at public events. They are also all required to follow the Truitt Center’s Statement of Cooperation and the University’s Faith-Sharing Policy, which include not denigrating any of a person’s identities and not denigrating or de-legitimizing a person’s religion, philosophy, or lack thereof.

For more information regarding Spiritual organizations and groups on campus, please visit the Truitt Center website.

Benefits of Organization Recognition**

It is a privilege for student organizations to be recognized by Elon. It is expected that each registered student organization will align its goals and aspirations with those of the University and be beneficial to the organization’s members and the Elon community. In some instances, Student Involvement and the Student Life Committee may deem it necessary to review an organization’s recognized status, operations, and procedures. Under such conditions, Student Involvement or the Student Life Committee reserves the right to remove an organization’s recognized status with the University. Elon University reserves the right to review and to take any action it deems appropriate with respect to any questionable actions or activities undertaken by any registered student organization and/or its members.

Depending on the status of an organization, benefits associated with being a recognized student organization at Elon may include:

  • Use of University facilities and spaces on campus.
  • Opportunity to sponsor on-campus events and activities.
  • Individual organization page on PhoenixCONNECT.
  • Ability to reserve University vans (for those who have been van certified).
  • Ability to apply for office space in the Student Center in the Moseley Center.
  • Eligibility to apply for funding through the Student Government Association (if applicable).
  • Access to leadership, diversity, and risk management trainings.
  • Ability to request University resources for meetings and events (i.e. media, catering, moving and set up, etc…).
  • Eligibility to participate in University sponsored events and programs, such as the Organization Fair, Homecoming, intramural sports, etc.
  • Access to all resources and support of staff members in Student Involvement, the Center for Leadership, the Moseley Center, and other university departments.
  • Support and guidance from a University faculty or staff advisor.

Student Involvement Ambassadors

As a student organization, you also have access to the resources and support provided by the Involvement Ambassadors. The Involvement Ambassadors help students to engage in the many opportunities and events in the Elon community. This dynamic team of student leaders serves as an extension of Student Involvement and assists students 1:1 in getting involved on campus year-round.

The Involvement Ambassadors offer many resources to help students get involved! They are located in Moseley 205, and are available Monday-Friday for students who want to learn more about getting involved in organizations and events on campus. The Ambassadors can help match interests to those opportunities available here on campus. All are always welcome.

Come stop by Student Involvement and visit the Involvement Ambassadors today!
Moseley Student Center 205
Monday – Friday 9am-5pm
Involvement Ambassadors on PhoenixCONNECT

Responsibilities of Student Organizations**

All recognized organizations are expected to uphold University policies and procedures and always act honestly in the best interest of all when conducting organizational business and activities. They are expected to adhere to the Honor Code, Code of Conduct, all federal and state laws, and to other applicable policies. In order to continue receiving the benefits of organization recognition status, student organizations must meet certain expectations. These expectations include:

  • Participating in the annual renewal process through Student Involvement.
  • Following all university policies and procedures, including the Code of Conduct found in the Elon Student Handbook, and adhering to all local, state and federal laws both on and off campus.
  • Ensuring all activities and programs sponsored by the organization are consistent with the mission and goals of the organization and the University.
  • Operating in a manner that is consistent with the mission and goals of the University and the organization’s bylaws.
  • Demonstrating respect for the University community and other student organizations.
  • All officers and members must meet the eligibility for participating in student activities as indicated in the Student Handbook.
  • Managing and updating the organization’s page on PhoenixCONNECT.
  • Submitting all membership and leadership updates in PhoenixCONNECT each semester.
  • Maintaining on file all chartering documents including uploading bylaws to PhoenixCONNECT.

Forming a New Student Organization**

Recognized student organizations provide opportunities for learning, student engagement, leadership development, and fostering of shared interests. These organizations are student-initiated and student-run. In order to begin the reviewing process, potential new student organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • The mission of the student organization must reflect the mission and values of the University.
  • The services and programs offered by the organization must directly relate to the University and organization missions.
  • The mission, services, and activities of the organization should be different from any other recognized student organization.
  • Proposed organizations that are formed for commercial purposes or primarily for the financial benefit of an external corporation or organization will not be recognized.
  • Sororities and fraternities must be affiliated with a national organization; as part of the formation process they may be affiliated with one of Elon’s existing governing councils (Interfraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, or Panhellenic Association) and have completed the appropriate expansion process.
  • A full-time faculty or staff member of the University must be in agreement to serve as the organization’s advisor.
  • The organization must have a notable pool of interested members, a workable leadership structure, and democratic officer election processes established.

Student Involvement assists in establishing new organizations. Here is the step-by-step new organization development process:

(Note that some student organizations have additional considerations necessary during development process, i.e. fraternities and sororities. Please contact Student Involvement for more information).

Step 1: Attend New Student Organization Information Session hosted by Student Involvement.

Step 2: Submit ‘New Student Organization Proposal’ on PhoenixCONNECT.

Step 3: Student Involvement staff review applications, make preliminary category determinations, seek feedback from relevant campus partners, and request advisor agreement before submitting recommendations to Vice President for Student Life.

Step 4: Per recommendations from the Vice President for Student Life, student leaders attend constitution/bylaws development workshop.

Step 5: The Student Life Committee (SLC) reviews bylaws and grants Provisional Status.

Step 6: After a minimum of one semester, student organization leaders must complete provisional review with the Student Life Committee. The SLC determines eligibility for full/active status.


Levels of Student Organization Recognition**

There are different levels of student organization recognition during the development process and for existing organizations. As noted above, Provisional and Full/Active Statuses are granted during the development of new organizations. Once an organization is developed, it may be deemed necessary by Student Involvement, the Student Life Committee, or SGA to move the organization to Probationary or Inactive Status. Certain benefits and privileges are awarded of student organizations in good standing at each of the levels of recognition. Furthermore, organizations with national affiliations may be subject to additional guidelines and recognition statuses per their respective national organization.

Provisional and Full/Active Status

When an organization has reached Provisional or Active Status, it may do the following:

  • Function as a student organization (attend competitions, hold performances, etc.).
  • Reserve rooms, vans, and other necessary equipment.
  • Advertise that the group will be holding interest meetings (via PhoenixCONNECT, flyers, digital posters, table tents, Today@Elon, ENN, etc.) to gain membership and assess the viability of the organization.
  • Have access to an organization page through PhoenixCONNECT.
  • Access the University’s liability insurance.
  • Use “Elon” in conjunction with the name of the group (Elon cannot be the first word in the official name of the organization).
  • Participate in organization fairs.
  • Be listed on official Elon documents and websites as a student organization.
  • Request funding from the Student Government Association.

Probationary Status

Student Involvement, the Student Life Committee, or the SGA can recommend an organization be placed on Probationary Status due to:

  • Lack of sufficient and sustainable membership.
  • Improper use of use of SGA funds.
  • Failure to submit membership and leadership rosters.
  • Lack of student leadership/selected officers.
  • Recommendation from the faculty or staff advisor.
  • Violations of regulations and policies specified in the Elon University Student Handbook.

Additionally, the Student Government Association can recommend an organization can be placed on Probationary Status due to improper use of SGA funds.

Student Organizations with Probationary Status may continue to function as an active organization by hosting meetings and events. After a period of one semester, a Probationary review will be held to recommend the organization move to Full/Active status or to Inactive status.

Inactive Status

Inactive organizations are no longer permitted to function on campus as stated above. By recommendation from Student Involvement, the Student Life Committee, or SGA, an organization can be moved to Inactive Status due to:

  • Lack of sufficient and sustainable membership.
  • Improper of use of SGA funds.
  • Failure to submit membership or leadership rosters for more than 2 consecutive years on PhoenixCONNECT.
  • Lack of student leadership/selected officers.
  • Failure to participate in required programs, education sessions, and trainings sponsored by Student Involvement, the Center for Leadership, the Moseley Center, or the University department with which the organization is affiliated.
  • Recommendation from the faculty or staff advisor.
  • Remaining on Provisional status following 2 or more Provisional reviews with the Student Life Committee.
  • Organizations may not remain on Probationary Status for more than 3 consecutive semesters without noticeable action being taken to sustain the organization.

Additionally, the Student Government Association can recommend an organization can be placed on Inactive Status due to improper use of SGA funds.

Any inactive organization must submit all new forms (proposal, advisor, and cluster/dean recommendation) to Student Involvement to begin the reinstatement process. Inactive organizations will begin the development process just as a new organization regardless of their previous existence on campus. Please refer to the development process above for more specific details.

Annual Re-Registration and Renewal Process**

Each spring semester, the President (or equivalent position) is required to re-register and renew the organization in PhoenixCONNECT. When prompted by Student Involvement, the President will be asked to complete a series of questions, update all leadership information, and submit an updated copy of the organization’s bylaws on the renewal form. This process is required of all organizations to maintain ‘active’ status and receive the benefits and privileges of recognized student organizations. Organizations that fail to complete the Org Renewal Form will be considered ‘inactive’ and will not receive the privileges afforded recognized groups. Some of these benefits include using university facilities and spaces on campus, being listed in the Organization Directory on PhoenixCONNECT, the ability to reserve university vans, applying for and using SGA funding, and participating in the Organization Fair.

Membership and Officer Eligibility**

All full-time undergraduate students are eligible for membership in any recognized student organization, in accordance with the standards – academic or otherwise – established by each organization.  Student organizations are expected to comply with the university nondiscrimination statement in membership and officer selection, except for the limited exceptions for club sport, fine arts, and fraternity/sorority organizations, as described in the Core Principles for Recognized Student Organizations.

Any part-time undergraduate student who does not pay the Student Activity Fee may be an associate member of a recognized student organization, but may not hold office or vote.

Graduate students may attend organization activities and be general members, but may not hold a leadership position or serve as a voting member of the organization.

Faculty and staff may attend student organization activities, but may not be members of recognized student organizations, and thus may not vote, hold office, or participate in decision-making of the student organization.  Faculty and staff advisors for organizations are invited to attend meetings and advise members and officers in their decision-making and deliberation processes.

The officers of all recognized student organizations must be in good standing (not on academic or disciplinary probation) at the time of their election or appointment and throughout their term of office.

The authority and responsibility for ensuring that officers are eligible to hold office shall reside with the officers and advisor of the organization.  In instances of dispute, the decision-making authority and responsibility rests with Student Involvement.

Elon University has a deferred joining policy for students interested in social fraternities or sororities.  To be eligible to participate in recruitment activities, at the time of application students must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student
  • Have earned at least 12 credits at Elon University or transferred to Elon with a minimum of 12 credit hours from another college or university
  • Be in good standing with the university (not on academic or disciplinary probation)
  • Meet the minimum GPA requirements of the respective governing council or organization

For details about the deferred joining policy, contact Student Involvement.