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Starting a New Student Organization

If you are unable to find a student organization to join you are more than welcome to start one of your own! Come to the Office of Student Activities and one our staff members can assist you with the process. Becoming a recognized student organization comes with many rights and privileges including but not limited to:

  • Free web space
  • Use of University facility space
  • Space at the Involvement Fair
  • Rights to request use of the student fee

Due to limited staff in the office, we are offering Virtual Office Hours. Dates/Times/Zoom links can be found below.

New Organization Process Virtual Office Hours
Tuesday, January 19 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Zoom Link
Monday, January 25 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Zoom Link
Wednesday, February 3 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Zoom Link
Thursday, February 11 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Zoom Link

 

New Student Organization Process Timeline

New groups are able to submit recognition requests (also called applications) for the Spring 2021 semester in accordance with the timeline below. Review of the applications will begin after the last day of the open period. Once the timeline for Early Spring 2021 has past, students will have the opportunity to complete the process beginning on April 19, 2021. 

  • January 19 – February 14, 2021: 
    • New groups can submit their recognition requests through OrgCentral . To start this process, please review the "Recognition Process Requirements" below
      • The ability to start a request will not be available outside of the timeframe listed above
    • New Student Organization Orientations are held weekly during the timeframe (see schedule below)
    • Complete applications with all required materials are due by February 14, 2021 at midnight in OrgCentral
      • NOTE: Since the Intent to Organize must be approved before moving the newly forming organization to the next step, they will not be accepted after February 12 at 4:00 p.m. 

Recognition Process Requirements

Penn State University Park students are able to complete the recognition process of a new student organization in the timeline stated above. All aspects of the recognition process will occur in OrgCentral, with the exception of the New Student Organization Orientation. Each requirement is detailed below. After the Intent to Organize has been completed, the additional requirements can occur in any order. Incomplete applications will not be accepted past the deadline. If you have questions about the New Student Organization Process, you can email StudentOrg@psu.edu.

Intent to Organize
  • The Intent to Organize is the first step in the process and can be completed by following the instructions below:
    1. Log in to OrgCentral
    2. Navigate to the tab “Organizations” at the top of the page
    3. On the left, click “Register an Organization
    4. Scroll down below “Re-Register Existing” click “Register a New Organization”
    5. If you do not see “Register a New Organization”, the recognition process is not open. Please refer to the timeline above for when it will open.
  • After the Intent to Organize has been submitted, the Office of Student Activities will review it for approval. Once approved, you will be provided instructions on where to submit the additional requirements listed in this section.
  • NOTE: Since the Intent to Organize must be approved before moving the newly forming organization to the next step, they will not be accepted after February 12, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
Officer and Membership List

All organizations must have at least 10 full time members, including a President and a Treasurer. The President and Treasurer must be two different students, and organizations may only have one Treasurer. After the Intent to Organize has been approved, you will be able to submit this information in OrgCentral.

OrgCentral will need the abc123@psu.edu of each member on the roster. OrgCentral does not accept PSU alias emails or email addresses from other email clients.

Advisor Approval Form

All new organizations are required to have a full-time faculty or staff member that works at Penn State University Park. The Advisor Approval Form will be submitted in OrgCentral after the Intent to Organize is approved. The advisor’s supervisor’s signature is required on the form to be accepted.

Constitution

All organizations are required to have a constitution on file. Please use this sample constitution to review the required language that all constitutions must include. Newly forming organizations that have a national constitution must still include the requirements found in the sample constitution. The constitution will also be uploaded into OrgCentral after the Intent to Organize is approved.

Attendance at a New Student Organization Orientation

New Student Organization Orientation covers essential policies and rules, as well as privileges, of student organizations. During this time of hybrid learning, the Office of Student Activities will be offering these trainings via Zoom. Each session will last one hour and may be completed before or after the required materials listed above are submitted. Please note that the last New Student Organization Orientation happens after the process deadline. Groups that are going through the New Student Organization Orientation Process do not need to attend the Mandatory Officer Trainings but should attend a New Student Organization Orientation.

If a group attended a New Student Organization Orientation in Late Spring or Fall 2020, that will fulfill the New Student Organization Orientation requirement for any Spring 2021 recognition requests.

New Student Organization Orientation Dates

Issues joining Zoom? Find instructions on our Mandatory Office Training website.

Date

Time Location
Wednesday, January 20  6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Zoom 

Meeting ID: 935 9050 2183 

Monday, January 25  2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Zoom  

Meeting ID: 974 4813 5696

Tuesday, February 2 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 

Zoom

Meeting ID: 965 2901 8385 

Thursday, February 11 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

Zoom

Meeting ID: 969 5371 7392

Monday, February 15  6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Zoom

Meeting ID:936 4573 2771

Organizations Needing Additional Requirements

Dance/Physical Activity Organizations

​​​​​Newly forming organizations that choose their category as Dance or Physical Activity are required to have additional materials on file with the Office of Student Activities. These additional materials must be completed by the end of the New Student Organization Recognition Timeline stated above. All Dance and Physical Activity Organizations must:

  • Always retain a safety officer(s) (must be students)
  • Always retain an instructor(s) (must be students)
    • Safety Officer(s) and Instructor(s) must maintain Adult CPR/AED and Standard First Aid certifications from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or Emergency Care and Safety Institute
  • Submit the following forms annually to the Office of Student Activities through OrgCentral:

Please reach out to the Office of Student Activities at studentorg@psu.edu with any questions regarding the requirements above.

Organizations Associated with a National Organization

Organizations associated with a National Organization are required to provide documentation affirming their recognition from the National Office. This documentation should be on official letterhead with a signature from the appropriate National Office member. This document will be uploaded in OrgCentral when completing the process above.

Organizations Looking to Use a Trademarked Name

​​​​​​​Organizations looking to use a trademarked name/word(s) must provide documentation that the name/word(s) can be used by the organization at Penn State. This typically will come from the company that owns the trademark. Documentation affirming the name/word(s) can be used will be uploaded in OrgCentral when completing the process above.

New Organization Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the New Student Organization process. Please review these FAQs before reaching out to the office. Thank you!

My Intent to Organize was approved. What is next?

After the Intent to Organize is approved, you will be able to submit the additional requirements in OrgCentral. To access the submission form:

  1. Login to OrgCentral
  2. Click the grid in the upper right corner  
  3. Click “Manage” 
  4. Click on the new organization
  5. You should see a blue button that says “Re-Register This Organization” 
  6. Click the blue button and follow the instructions
Why is it asking me to re-register? This is a new organization.

Although you are starting a new organization, OrgCentral uses the language of “re-register” to submit the required materials. “Re-registration” may also be interchanged with “application” for the New Student Organization Process. When re-registering, you will be asked to provide:

  • Membership Roster and Officers
  • Constitution
  • Advisor Approval Form
  • National Recognition Documentation (if required)
  • Trademarked Name Documentation (if required)
Where do I submit the required materials stated above?

Materials will be submitted through the OrgCentral re-registration process after your Intent to Organize has been approved. Please review FAQs “My Intent to Organization was approved. What is next?” and “Why is it asking me to re-register? This is a new organization” for more details.

Can a Professor Emeritus be our advisor?

No, a Professor Emeritus cannot serve as the primary advisor. The primary advisor must be a full-time Faculty or Staff member at Penn State University Park. A Professor Emeritus may be a co-advisor, but all organizations must have at least one full-time faculty or staff members as their primary advisor.

My advisor doesn't have a supervisor to sign the Advisor Approval Form. Can I leave it blank?

No, we must have the supervisor’s signature on that line. All full-time faculty and staff at Penn State have a supervisor. This is the person who may do their annual review. Even the President of the University has a supervisor! The signature of the advisor’s supervisor is required as it is important for the supervisor to be aware that the advisor is taking on an additional role/capacity by advising an organization.

My application was denied and I don't know why.

You can always view the comments to why your submission was denied. To view those comments:

  1. Log in to OrgCentral
  2. Click on your initial (or photo) in the upper right corner 
  3. Click “Submissions” 
  4. Under “My Submissions”, navigate to “Organization Registrations” 
  5. Find the registration and click the “eye” icon to the right of the submission 
  6. Here you should be able to see why the submission was denied
  7. To re-submit with updates, please review the FAQ “My application was denied. How do I fix it?”
My application was denied. How do I fix it?

If your registration was denied, you can fix it without completely having to re-do the work you have already done. To access the denied re-registration process, you can do it one of two ways:

  • Via Email 
    1. Click on the “View Registration Submission” button at the bottom of the denied email you received 
    2. Here you can navigate to the different areas you may need to update 
    3. Make sure to click “Submit” so it is received by the office 
  • Via OrgCentral 
    1. Log in to OrgCentral
    2. Click on your initial (or photo) in the upper right corner 
    3. Click “Submissions” 
    4. Under “My Submissions”, navigate to “Organization Registrations” 
    5. Find the registration and click the “eye” icon to the right of the submission 
    6. Here you can navigate to the different areas you may need to update 
    7. Make sure to click “Submit” so it is received by the office 
I think I submitted my application but now I'm not sure. How can I check on this?

If you aren’t sure if you submitted your registration/application, you can check by: 

  1. Log in to OrgCentral
  2. Click on your initials (or photo) in the upper right corner 
  3. Click “Submissions” 
  4. Under “My Submissions”, navigate to “Organization Registrations” 
  5. Here you can see all your submissions. If you submitted it, it will say either “Pending”, “Approved”, or “Denied”. If it wasn’t submitted, it will say “In Progress” 
  6. To submit, click on the “eye” icon to the right of the submission. Here, you can click “Submit” 
My registration in OrgCentral was approved! Am I now a recognized student organization?

New student organizations are not recognized student organizations until they have 10 members plus their advisor accept their invitations for the roster. When all members have accepted their invitation, we will move your organization to Active status, and you will receive a welcome email. If members are having issues accepting their invitations, please review the FAQ “How do my members accept their invitations?”

How do my members accept their invitations?

After re-registration, invitations are sent to all members and the advisor of your organization. They must accept their invitation to complete the New Student Organization Process and to be shown on the roster. Officers and members can either check their PSU email for the invitation or log in to OrgCental and “Pending Invitations” can be seen under “My Membership” on their home page.

Why does it say my new organization is Frozen?

All new organizations are Frozen until all materials have been approved and members have accepted their invitations. Being Frozen does not affect the ability to complete any aspect of the New Student Organization Process in OrgCentral.

I am a new recognized organization that just completed the process, but the blue "re-registration" button is still there. Do I need to re-register again?

All organizations, including newly official recognized student organizations, must complete the re-registration process annually between mid-April and the 4th Monday of the Fall Semester.

If your organization was recognized between October and mid-March, there is no need to complete the re-registration prior to mid-April. If your organization was recognized between April and June, you will need to complete re-registration again by the 4th Monday of the Fall Semester.