Start Your Own Student Group

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Start Your Own Student Group
Through the help of the Involvement Center, any student can form a new student group and become involved on campus.
Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer

Kean is a very diverse campus with a plethora of involvement options for students. There are over 160 student groups on campus, all housed by the Involvement Center under the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS). These range from honor societies and student clubs to Greek organizations and student government. In addition to all of these options, students also have the opportunity to form their own student groups to fit their interests and passions.

There are a few requirements to meet in order to establish a recognized student group on campus. Firstly, there must be at least ten matriculated Kean students in the organization, which can include the executive board members. There must be at least a president and secretary when the group is formed, as well as a treasurer if the group is funded. These executive board positions, however, must be approved by CLS before the elections of the positions. Members on the executive board must also meet the requirements which include:

  • 12 credits completed at Kean University
  • 2.5 GPA or higher
  • In good standing and free of probation with University-wide discipline
  • Submission of the Family Education Right To Privacy Act (FERPA)

It is also important that all student groups and organizations are open to all Kean University students.

Additionally, student groups must select an adviser. This must be a full-time staff or faculty member of Kean University. The adviser's role is to offer guidance, when needed, relating to organizational and development skills, as well as help guide the group to achieve its goals and stand by its mission. They also oversee that the student group's mission and policies are aligned with Kean University's. The adviser must complete an Adviser Contract, which can be found on Cougar Link.

There is a process to become a recognized student group or organization on campus, however, with the guidance of the Involvement Center, the goal is manageable and achievable.

The first step is to ensure that the prospective group meets all of the requirements stated before continuing in the process of recognition. Then, one must fill out and submit an Application for Recognition on Cougar Link.

Following the submission of this form, CLS employees will review only the completed applications. CLS may request more information if it is missing, or request to meet if they would like to learn more about the prospective student group. If necessary, prospective student groups may have to resubmit information via Cougar Link.

One important part of the approval process is the review of the constitution of the prospective student group or organization. This is a document, to be made and submitted during the application process, which outlines the purpose of the prospective group, as well as acts as a guiding document. This document is necessary for every student group and organization to be approved and recognized through the Involvement Center.

A group constitution must include certain pieces of information including:

  • Group name and objectives: The objectives the group plans to achieve.
  • Membership outline: The qualifications for membership.
  • Officers and duties: An outline of the executive Board positions and their responsibilities. The executive board generally consists of president, vice president, treasurer and one or more secretaries.
  • Meetings: A description of the number of meetings, how they will be conducted and any other meeting information.
  • Standing Committees: A list of any committees and their functions and duties.
  • Elections and Vacancies: Explains the election process for officers, when this process will take place and what will happen in the event of a vacancy.
  • Amendments: An outline of how this may take place and what percentage of membership vote is permitted to pass an amendment.
  • Adviser: Name the adviser and their position at Kean University to show that they are a full-time employee.
  • University Regulations: Explains that the student group will abide to all Kean University regulations, rules and policies that pertain to them.

If the student group is accepted and recognized, an executive board member will receive an electronic confirmation. They will be prompted to fill out any other information needed.

Upon approval, the executive board members must complete training through the Student Group Leadership Conference. They will be prompted to apply for a group email account, update the group's Cougar Link page and more.

Following the approval, the group will officially be recognized as a Kean University student group. This means that the members are able to meet as a group and conduct their meetings, reserve rooms and post flyers on campus, and show the Kean community what they are all about.

New student groups are placed on a provisional status, which helps guide their development and success. During this time, student groups are encouraged to host smaller events such as fundraisers and workshops, as well as learn how to manage their organization. Unfortunately, groups under a provisional status are not permitted to host "major" events such as a student party, sports tournament. etc.

After a student group is on provisional status for one semester, they will be granted good standing if they hold at least two general body meetings that are approved as events on Cougar Link, upload at least one set of meeting minutes to their organization's documents section in Cougar Link, and hold at least one "regular" event such as a fundraiser, tabling or workshop.

Organizations will be notified in writing by CLS when they have successfully completed their provisional status.

For more information on starting student groups or involvement on campus in general, the Involvement Center is located in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Room 303. They can be reached via email at groups@kean.edu and via phone at (908) 737-5270.


about the author

Shannon Sheehan, Staff Writer
sheehsha@kean.edu

Shannon Sheeehan is a Junior Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. She joined The Cougar's Byte staff in Spring 2018. After her time at Kean, Shannon hopes to start her professional career in Public Relations and/or Social Media.