The Student Organization Manual serves as a resource for student organizations to effectively lead their organization. Below are all of the topics covered in the Student Organization Manual. Student Organization Leaders and Advisors are able to download an electronic version of the Manual below.
Dear Student Leaders,
Thank you for taking the time to invest in your student organization. Your student organization will provide a valuable resource to the student experience at the University of Tennessee by promoting leadership development, research, advocacy, public service, philanthropy, and cultural interaction. Involvement in a student organization is an excellent way for Volunteers to connect and develop as students throughout their college experience.
Please use this manual as a way to learn more ways to effectively manage your student organization. The Student Organization Manual serves as a one-stop shop for information and policies related to your student organization. The manual is constantly evolving. If there is a topic you wish to see here, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Center for Student Engagement to provide such feedback.
In the meantime, should you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact the Center for Student Engagement by using the contact information below. Best wishes and thank you for serving the University of Tennessee Volunteer community!
The Center for Student Engagement
Important Terms for Student Organizations
- New student organization: A student organization recently registered with the Center for Student Engagement.
- Registered student organization: A student organization that has met all registration requirements with the Center for Student Engagement.
- Social Greek organization: A Greek-letter organization that has met all requirements outlined by the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life. The organization is typically affiliated with a national or international organization and has met all requirements outlined in Title IX as a social fraternity or sorority.
- Sport club: A registered student organization whose goals and purpose focus on participation in competitive, recreational, or instructional sport activities. Some sport clubs focus on a high level of competitive success; others offer more casual experiences. To establish a sport club, organizations must first be registered with the Center for Student Engagement and approved by the program coordinator for sport clubs in RecSports.
- Inactive/frozen student organization: An organization that has not registered with the Center for Student Engagement for at least one calendar year or that has had its status revoked by the university due to conduct issues or failure to comply with policies.
Categories of Student Organizations
Each student organization is assigned a category. The categories are used by the Center for Student Engagement to create specialized programming and to help students find connections to a student organization. The categories are:
- Creative/Performing Arts
- Honorary Organization
- Residence Hall
- Social Fraternities and Sororities
- Special Interest
- Spiritual/Faith-Based/Campus Ministries
- Sport Clubs
- Student Government
Policies for Registered Student Organizations
At the University of Tennessee, voluntary associations of students are an important part of the educational process. The University has a positive responsibility to encourage such associations as a means by which students can learn and develop outside the classroom. In doing so it neither endorses nor disclaims any particular idea, system of thought, or point of view.
When groups of students wish to have a continuous association causing them to congregate for activities on the campus, requiring from time to time the use of the University facilities and holding themselves out to the general public as a group centered on the campus, it is proper that they be registered by the University. All registered associations shall be accorded the same privileges and bound by the same obligations. Registration by the University does not constitute endorsement of the purposes or activities of an association by the faculty, administration, or student body.
Local chapters of regional or national organizations will be required to submit their local constitution and, in addition, any statements of their parent organization to which their local constitution refers or which determine local policy above and beyond that which is stated in the local constitution.
Registering a New Student Organization
Prior to beginning the registration process to form a new student organization, interested students are required to schedule a brief meeting with a designated staff member in the Center for Student Engagement. The purpose of this meeting is to fully inform students of University policies and procedures pertaining to organizations, as well as to discuss the registration and approval process. It is recommended that this meeting take place before a student submits information to begin the new student organization registration process. However, at the latest, this meeting must occur before a proposed organization can be voted upon for approval by the Advisory Committee on Student Organizations (ACSO).
New organizations may begin the registration process by submitting the New Student Organization Application found on VOLink (access by going to: http://go.utk.edu). Organizations are required to submit a constitution and a roster of 8 (eight) members of the organization with their application. Local chapters of regional or national organizations will be required to submit their local constitution and, in addition, any statements of their parent organization to which their local constitution refers or which determine local policy above and beyond that which is stated in the local constitution.
Denial of Registration of a New Student Organization
A refusal by the ACSO to recommend registration of an organization must be based on one or more of the following grounds:
- The statement of purpose is illegal under local, state, or federal laws or does not conform with written University regulations.
- The organization would, in the opinion of the ACSO or the Dean of Students, constitute a danger to the continued or proper functioning of the University.
Any decision by the ACSO to withdraw or deny registration to a student organization may be appealed to the Dean of Students by the affected organization.
- The ACSO or Dean of Students (depending on whose decision is being appealed) has the burden of proving the charges against the organization, including the presentation of a detailed statement of why the organization should be denied registration or registration should be withdrawn under the University’s policy governing student organizations.
- The organization may be represented by an advisor of its choice.
- The organization may present a defense against the charges. A copy of the charges must have been provided to the organization a reasonable time in advance of the hearing, along with all information available to the ACSO or the Dean of Students in drawing up the charges.
The Dean of Students is the final decision on all appeals.
Re-Registering a Student Organization
A listing of the names and titles of all officers as well as the names of at least eight (8) petitioning members shall be submitted with the organization’s application via the student organization system found online via VOLink (http://go.utk.edu). Designated staff within the Center for Student Engagement will review the constitution, listed advisor, and any other information available in order to determine whether the organization conforms to the policies and regulations established for the registration of student organizations.
An updated list of registered student organizations is available online (http://go.utk.edu). Organizations must update their information including:
- Names of current officers;
- Complete membership roster;
- Name and contact information of the current organization advisor
- An updated organization constitution following the above guidelines.
- Agreement to University Policies and Procedures related to Student Organizations
- Completion of the Organization Basics Presentation
The annual update form is located on VOLink (accessed by going to: http://go.utk.edu). The annual re-registration process opens in late January each year and must be completed by May 30. Organizations that do not fully complete the process by July 1 will be deemed “frozen” and must be re-activated. Failure to update information with the Center for Student Engagement may result in a student organization losing its active status and all rights and privileges such status entails. A student organization may be removed from the list of registered student organizations by the Center for Student Engagement if:
- Does not the complete the re-registration process by a designated period of time
- The organization violates University regulations, including those governing student organizations, or local, state, or federal laws.
The re-registration of the organization is valid for one (1) academic year. Any changes in leadership of the organization should be reported to the Center for Student Engagement and updated on VOLink.
Student Organization Constitutions
Each organization is responsible for submitting a Constitution to the Center for Student Engagement each year during the Annual Re-Registration Period. Additionally, new student organizations are required to submit Constitutions as well. Organizations apart of a national organization, are still required to submit a local Constitution or Bylaws. The format of the Constitutions are below:
- Name of the organization:
The phrase “The University of Tennessee” is regarded as a trademark and consequently cannot precede the name of a campus organization; however, the phrase may follow the name, e.g., Chess Club at The University of Tennessee.
- Statement of purpose:
Said purpose must include aims and activities legal under local, state, and federal law, and this statement of purpose must be in conformity with written University regulations. It is required that the actual purpose of a student organization conform with the purposes stated within the organization’s constitution.
- Membership eligibility requirements:
Registered student organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to all students—unless the organization, by its nature, exists explicitly for a certain subgroup—in selecting its membership. The U.S Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has established clear criteria for exemption from Title IX for student organizations. The criteria are as follows:
- The organization must have tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code
- Members must be limited to students, staff, or faculty at the University of Tennessee
- The organization must be a “social fraternity or sorority” as defined by the United States Department of Education
There must be no discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability or covered veteran’s status. This statement must appear verbatim in organization constitutions.
Officers must be full-time students, except for organizations where membership is composed of both faculty and student members, and a faculty member may serve as an officer. To be eligible to serve as an officer of a registered student organization, a student should be in good academic standing at the time of his/her election or appointment and during his/her term of office. In addition, a student may be judged ineligible for the office if found responsible for violating a University Standard of Conduct. When an election is held in a registered student organization, the names of the new officers must be updated online in the Student Organization System (http://go.utk.edu) within one (1) week.
- Statement of the terms of officers and the time and method of election
The individuals within organization have the discretion of setting terms of officers, time, and method of election.
- Frequency of meetings
The individuals within the organization have the discretion of establishing the frequency of meetings.
- Financial Statement:
A statement of any membership dues, including amount and frequency of payment as well as a process for receipting; an agreement that all funds will be received and disbursed through the Student Organizations Business Office if the organization receives Student Programs and Services Fee Funds; and a provision for the disposition of funds remaining in the event of the dissolution of the group must be included in the organization’s constitution.
- Provisions for a faculty or staff advisor:
All registered student organizations must choose one or more advisors, and a provision for this selection must be included in the constitution, but the name of the advisor(s) should not be listed. Except for local chapters of national social fraternities and sororities, which may have alumni advisors, and organizations recognized by the Campus Ministries Council, the advisor shall be a faculty or staff member. Students are responsible for procuring an organization advisor. In procuring an advisor, questions regarding faculty or staff status should be referred to the Center for Student Engagement. Advisors are responsible for being familiar with the constitution and purposes of the student organization they are advising and with University policies regarding student organizations. Advisors may counsel their organization in the exercise of responsibility, but they do not have the authority to control the policy of the organization. The officers of the organization are responsible for keeping their advisors aware of the policies and actions of their organization. Financial records must be available to the organization’s advisors at all times.
Affiliations with a Non-University Organization
Registered student organizations may be affiliated with an off campus organization, where such affiliation is:
- Clearly indicated, either by the title of the organization or its constitution at the time of registration, or by specific statements in connection with any activities growing out of a later affiliation.
- Consistent with the purposes set forth in the constitution
- Not such as to change significantly the nature of the organization as primarily an association of students on campus. Affiliation with an extramural organization does not of itself affect the right of a student organization to operate on the campus. When seeking registration, the student organization must make clear those obligations imposed on the local chapter by extramural affiliation.
- When there is a conflict between the policies and procedures of the extramural organization and those of the University (e.g., policies pertaining to member ship eligibility or voting privileges), the obligation of the student organization is to the University and its policies.
Types of Student Organizations
With the exception of social fraternities and sororities whose relationship with the institution requires a more detailed and exacting peer and administrative review, any group of students may seek to register as a Registered Student Organization.
Registered Student Organizations (including Sport Clubs)
Any group of at least (eight) 8 students meeting the requirements contained herein and whose purpose for existing is presumed to endure beyond ninety days is considered a Continuing Registered Student Organization. If an organization is wishing to be recognized as a Sport Club, they must additionally work with the RecSports Department on establishing the affiliation.
Department Sponsored Organizations
These are registered student organizations that are advised and supported by a campus department. In these cases, the student organization works with the department in a direct way in fulfillment of the department mission.
Sororities and Fraternities
Any group seeking to establish a social fraternal organization on campus must contact the Office of Sorority or Fraternity Life for procedures and policies relative to this action. After the group completes the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life process for expansion, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life in consult with the corresponding Greek Council may recommend registration be granted. Registration is granted by the Chancellor on the recommendation of the Student Life staff. Once registration is granted the social fraternal organization will then complete the process of becoming a Registered Student Organization. Withdrawal of registration of social fraternal organizations may be initiated by the University administration or the respective governing body with the final decision being the responsibility of the University administration. Social fraternities and sororities shall not be required to reveal their secret rituals provided these rituals do not conflict with local, state or federal law or with University regulations.
Volunteer Organization Link: VOLink
The VOLink (Volunteer Organization Link) system has been developed for all students to enrich their involvement experience at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the site—simply click the log-in button and sign in using your NetID and password to check out the available tools.
- Current students: Track your involvement in organizations, create a co-curricular transcript, search for clubs and organizations, match your interests with existing organizations on campus, or start a new group on campus.
- Organization leaders: Manage your organization, share documents, track service hours, create a budget, advertise your events, manage your roster, search for new members, and link all of your information to social media sites.
To access your organization’s site
- Log in to your campus site at https://utk.collegiatelink.net.
- In the top bar, click “Organizations” to view all current organizations.
- Enter your organization’s name in the search box. If the organization does not appear, you may have to re-register or reactivate your organization.
- Go to your name on the top bar.
- Select “Involvement” at the top of the menu bar.
- Click the name of your organization to expand the options.
- Click “Organization Site” at the far right.
Staff within the Center for Student Engagement offer regular workshops on how to best use VOLink for your organization and are able to provide demonstrations for organizations. E-mail email@example.com to schedeule a demonstration. Some detailed steps are below in the VOLink user guide.
Student Programming Allocation Committee (SPAC)
The Student Programming Allocation Committee has been established for the primary purpose of allocating that portion of the fee directed toward student-organized programming. The SPAC funds events hosted by student organizations, not the student organization directly. The events are open to all students who have selected Option 1 when designating their fee money to be allocated to student run programming. The committee meets throughout each semester to fund events within the next semester or for a selected period of time. In order to apply for funding, student organization leaders are required to attend an information session prior to submitting a program proposal. Detailed information regarding SPAC can be found at spsf.utk.edu.
Student Organization Business Office
The Student Organization Business Office serves as a campus banking system for all campus organizations. All registered student organizations make deposits and withdrawals through the office. Questions about available funds can be answered at this location as well. Signature cards are required to be updated each year as new officers are elected.
Tax Identification and Tax Exemption
A tax ID number or EIN (employer ID number) is like a Social Security number for your organization. Student organizations are often in situations that require a Federal tax ID number (opening an off-campus organizational bank account, conducting fundraisers with a business, etc.). Registered student organizations are not permitted to use UT’s tax identification number; they are therefore required to obtain their own EIN. The purpose of the EIN is so the IRS will not make any organization members personally responsible for taxes on revenue that the organization has earned. To get a Tax ID number, you may contact the IRS and request a Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) or visit their Web site in order to request an EIN.
Event and Solicitation Policy
As it pertains to student organizations, “solicitation” is defined as the seeking of funds or support by a registered student organization from sources other than its members including the procurement of supplies, and other forms of support, and the selling and distribution of items, materials or products and services.
Registered student organizations may be authorized to solicit on campus as long as such solicitation is consistent with the aims of the organization and is not for the personal benefit of members. In interpreting the aims or purposes of the registered student organization, the statement in its constitution will be followed.
Requests for approval of any form of solicitation must be made in writing to the Office of the Chief Student Affairs Officer not later than seven business days preceding the date of the proposed date of the activity. Special forms for making requests are provided online by the Center for Student Engagement. Following content approval by the Office, the requesting organization must make appropriate arrangements and scheduling with the administrative office of the facility to be used. Content approval for the project is not a guarantee of the availability of the space. The Center for Student Engagement will assist the organization in scheduling and coordinating outdoor space with the appropriate Facilities Management Office.
University Trademark and Licensing
Use of the University of Tennessee’s name, image, logos, or other trademarks in conjunction with a student organization name implies association with the university. Therefore, only student organizations that are officially recognized by the Center for Student Engagement are permitted to use UT trademarks in conjunction with their name. To ensure consistency in the use of the university’s name and logos, all products, signage, and packaging bearing reference to the University of Tennessee must be produced by manufacturers licensed through the university’s licensing agent, the Collegiate Licensing Company. For a list of approved internal campus suppliers and licensees, visit licensing.tennessee.edu/utk/licensees.html. All artwork must be approved by the Office of Trademark Licensing before items are produced.
If you wish to sell a product bearing the university’s name, image, logos, or other trademarks as part of a philanthropic or other fundraising event, you must submit a solicitation request and receive approval through the Center for Student Engagement. You can find more information concerning this process at go.utk.edu. Failure to submit a solicitation request at least seven working days before the event will result in disapproval, and sale of merchandise bearing university marks without prior approval will result in action against your student organization. To obtain additional information regarding these requirements, contact the Office of Trademark Licensing at licensing.tennessee.edu/students.html.
Student Organization Logos
Student organization leaders and advisors may request an official student organization logo from the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Official student organization logos will follow the approved design and may be created only by the Office of Communications and Marketing. Student organizations may not attempt to replicate an official logo. To request an official logo:
- The primary organization advisor or the primary contact on file with the Center for Student Engagement should complete a request form with the Office of Communications and Marketing at communications.utk.edu/creative-communications/request.
- The Office of Communications and Marketing will confirm the requestor’s name and the registered status of the organization via the directory on the Center for Student Engagement’s website.
- The Office of Communications and Marketing will create the logo based on the organization’s official name on file with the Center for Student Engagement. For simplicity and to reduce redundancy, any part of the organization’s name that includes reference to the university name (i.e., “…at the University of Tennessee” or “…at UT”) will not be included in the logo.
Student organizations that have official logos may produce promotional items bearing their logo, but should not include or incorporate any additional university trademarks.
Because official student organization logos include a university trademark, in accordance with university fiscal policy, student organizations must always use a licensed vendor when producing merchandise that includes their official logo, whether for resale or for use as promotional giveaways.
Official logo examples:
Unique Logos for Student Organizations
Student organizations are welcome to create their own logos or continue use of existing logos to identify their organization.
The Office of Communications and Marketing is not involved in the creation of unique logos for student organizations. Student organization logos are subject to review and approval by the Center for Student Engagement.
Unique logos for student organizations must meet the following standards:
- They may not include or incorporate trademarks licensed by the University of Tennessee, including logos, icons, or tagline. As outlined in Hilltopics, the phrase “the University of Tennessee” is a trademark and cannot precede the name of a campus organization, even in its logo; it may, however, follow the name (e.g., Chess Club at the University of Tennessee).
- They may not include any word, symbol, or image that might reflect poorly on the University of Tennessee.
- They may include any symbol that identifies with their parent organization (e.g., Greek letters, seal, or existing logo), as long as they meet any standards outlined by the parent organization.
Student organizations with unique logos may use their organization logo alongside the university logo, but only according to the standards outlined here.
Nondiscrimination Policy and Single-Sex Organizations
All qualified applicants receive equal consideration for employment and admissions without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at the University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this nondiscrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity, 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone 865-974-2498 (dial 711 for telecommunications relay services) or 865-974-2440. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Membership must be open to all students, faculty, and staff members where appropriate, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. This statement must be presented verbatim in the constitution.
Membership Eligibility Requirements
Registered student organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to all students—unless the organization, by its nature, exists explicitly for a certain subgroup—in selecting its membership. The US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has established clear criteria for exemption from Title IX for student organizations. The criteria are as follows:
- The organization must have tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Members must be limited to students, staff, or faculty at the University of Tennessee.
- The organization must be a social fraternity or sorority as defined by the United States Department of Education.
There must be no discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. This statement must appear verbatim in organization constitutions.
Participation of students in hazing activities is prohibited. Hazing means any intentional or reckless act, on or off university property, by one student acting alone or with others, which is directed against any other student and endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger his or her mental or physical health or safety, and includes treatment of a violent, abusive, shameful, insulting, or humiliating nature. Such action is prohibited when connected with initiation into or affiliation with an organization and does not include participation in customary athletic events or similar competition. A student committing an act of hazing is subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Standards of Conduct.
This section includes three documents to provide more insight on special topics related to student organizations:
- Constitution Guide, page xx: Need to refresh your organization’s constitution? The constitution guide provides instructions on how to write a constitution and ensure that your organization’s constitution has all the necessary elements.
- Officer Transition Guide, page xx: An interactive guide to ensuring an effective officer transition within your student organization.
All registered student organizations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are required to have a constitution. The following template is provided as a guide in creating a new constitution. All registered student organizations must comply with University of Tennessee, Knoxville, guiding policies. If you have any questions, please contact the Center for Student Engagement by e-mailing Jordan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is a Constitution?
A constitution contains the fundamental principles of an organization. It outlines the purpose, structure, and limits of an organization as well as providing a foundation to ensure the smooth operations of your organization.
How to Use This Guide
This document is intended to provide a basic structure of a student organization constitution and give examples of things to consider when writing your constitution. It will also identify specific elements that are required for approval to become a registered student organization.
ARTICLE 1: Name, Mission or Purpose
This article is meant to provide an introduction and overview of the organization. It provides an understanding of what and who the organization is.
Section I: Name
The name of this organization shall be __________________.
- This section should provide the full name of the organization as it would appear on any university publications. The name should be unique from all other currently recognized registered student organization. This section should also include any abbreviations or acronyms.
- Your name should not begin with “The University of Tennessee, Knoxville,” “UTK,” or any other words that identify it with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (“ISO organization name” at UT is permitted.)
Consider: Does your name clearly identify what your organization will do?
Example: The name of this organization shall be the Biology Club.
Section II: Mission or Purpose
The mission (or purpose) of [organization’s name] is to _______________.
- This section should clearly state the overarching mission/purpose of the organization. The mission/purpose should be unique from all other currently recognized registered student organizations.
- The mission/purpose statement should be broad enough to allow for flexibility within the organization but specific enough to provide an understanding of the unique purpose of the organization.
Consider: What is the intended impact of the organization on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus and Knoxville community?
Example: The mission of the Biology Club is to educate students on the various aspects of science and promote awareness of the medical field, by organizing events that involved traditional and scientific activities.
This article may also include a section for your organization’s objectives, such as long-term or short-term goals.
ARTICLE II: Organizational Structure
This article details the structure of the organization. This section defines the responsibilities of executive officers.
Section I: Executive Board
List the executive board/officer positions and responsibilities.
Consider: What are the responsibilities of each member of the executive board?
Example: A. President
- Shall reside over all organizational meetings
- Shall review all activities and programs
List the executive board/officer eligibility
Consider: What makes a member of the organization eligible for the executive board or an officer position?
Example: In order to be eligible for an executive board position, a person must have been a member of the organization for two semesters and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Section II: Committees (If Applicable)
This section defines all the committees and subcommittees within the organization. If the organization does not have any committees or subcommittees, this section is not needed.
List and Identify standing committees and subcommittees.
Consider: What are the names and purposes of the various committees? What are the responsibilities?
List and identify special committees. This subsection is for committees that are not standing committees but are formed on special or specific occasions
Section III: Advisor
- This section should include the responsibilities and requirements for an advisor.
- This section should also include advisor expectations.
- Advisors should be a faculty or staff member. A graduate student is able to serve as an advisor if advising the organization is part of their job duties.
Example: The advisor must be a full-time faculty or staff member at UT. The advisor must attend organizational meetings.
ARTICLE III: Membership
This article includes the requirements and expectations for membership to be granted into the organization. It includes general membership, executive board/officers, and, if applicable, committee membership.
Section I: Nondiscrimination/ Same-Sex Organizations
This section is required by the university and must be included verbatim for approval.
Membership is be open to all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.
- Same-sex organization requirements: Registered student organizations, including those affiliated with an extramural organization, shall be open to all students unless the organization, by its nature, exists explicitly for a certain subgroup in selecting its membership. The US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has established clear criteria for exemption from Title IX for student organizations. The criteria are as follows:
- The organization must have tax-exempt status under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Members must be limited to students, staff, or faculty at the University of Tennessee.
- The organization must be a social fraternity or sorority as defined by the US Department of Education.
Adapted from the University of Texas at Austin
- A member of [organization name] is defined as any student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in good academic standing and __________________.This section should include any other membership requirements, i.e., GPA requirement and/or requirements for recruitment.
Consider: What makes a person eligible to be a member of the organization?
Section II: Recruitment Process
This section will include your committee’s recruitment process. It should detail all the pieces of the recruitment process such applications, interviews, and any training that is required to be a member of the organization.
ARTICLE IV: Procedures
This article details all procedures such as the processes and procedures for electing executive board positions, meetings, and voting. There are various processes that could fit into this section; select the processes that fit your organization. Several steps should be featured in this section: requirements, how the process operates, how new executive board/officers are elected, and when and how long their term is.
Section I: Meetings
- [Organization name] meetings shall take place at a regular time and location, after consultation with the advisors and members.
- All meetings of [organization name], except for those that contain confidential information, shall be open to the public.
- This section should also include any other meeting procedures, such as committee meetings
Section II: Voting
This section should include your organization’s procedures for voting. There are several options for voting procedures, including secret ballet, hand vote, and majority or 2/3 vote. This section should be decided upon after conversation with your advisor, organization, and executive board.
Section III: Elections
This section should outline the election process for your organization. This should include the eligibility for election, term of office, time and place of each election, speeches (if applicable), and the number of positions a person can apply for
ARTICLE V: Financial Statement
This section defines the financial statement of the organization. This is a required section of the constitution.
- Any membership dues, including the exact amount and frequency of payments must be stated.
- A statement of how funds will be handled must be stated, including the following: process for receipting, timeframe for depositing money, and procedures to approve expenditures.
- A yearly financial statement must be provided to the student organization advisor for review.
- In the event of a dissolution of the student organization, a provision for the disposition of funds remaining must be stated. Organizations must select a specific group if donating any remaining funds.
- Example: Any remaining funds will be donated to the Student Organizations Support Fund at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Officer Transition Guide
A comprehensive Student Organization Officer Transition Guide can be downloaded for an easier reference.
An officer transition is a period of time between the selection of new officers (elected or appointed) and the point at which new officers assume their new role in the organization. As an outgoing officer, take time to consider how the transmission of information and detailed conversations with the incoming officer can contribute to the success of the organization.
The following are key benefits of an effective officer transition:
- Maintains effective continuity of the organization’s progress, goals, and growth
- Helps ensure the successful transfer of important information
- Helps build upon the achievements of the outgoing officer team
- Reinforces positive/productive communication between officers and between executive boards and the organization
- Provides an opportunity for incoming officers to plan for the future and establish new goals
- Creates an atmosphere where officers learn and work effectively
Important Information for Organizational Operations
Organizations should ensure they are maintaining all items related to the operations of the organization. It is important to pass along all account passwords, make changes on VOLink, be aware of allocated funding, and more. The list below includes possible areas of organizational operations essential to the success of the organization:
- Organizational history: Photos, old documents, videos (if applicable)
- Yearly review: Rosters, annual budgets, event evaluations, etc.
- Constitution and/or bylaws: May include national bylaws, if applicable
- Organizational structure
- Advisor contact information
- Social media passwords and administrative rights
- Organization calendar
- Center for Student Engagement registration requirements
- List of annual procedures
- Meeting agendas and minutes
- Marketing and promotional materials
- Room reservations
- Ongoing and current projects or committees
- Organization listserv and updated roster
- Requirements with the Student Organization Business Office or bank account information
- Transition of signature cards to incoming officers
- Student Programming Allocation Committee (SPAC) allocated events
Outgoing Officer Questionnaire
The questions below are for the incoming officer to ask of outgoing officers in either a retreat or a one-on-one setting.
- What do you consider to be the greatest responsibility of the office?
- What were the greatest successes of the current year?
- What were the greatest challenges of the current year?
- What were the obstacles to performing the position responsibilities effectively?
- Who or what were good resources for you?
- What do you wish you had been told before taking the officer position?
- What challenges or areas will require my attention within the next year?
- What should be one of my first tasks in the position?
Student Organization Officer Goal Sheet
Developing sound goals is critical to managing your own and your organization’s performance. Use the goal sheet below to create goals and establish goals for you and your organization during your time as an officer.
Student Organization Officer Transition Check List
This checklist can be used by student organization officers to ensure they are completing all tasks necessary for an effective officer transition.
- Organize all notebooks, binders, files and electronic documents.
- Provide a copy of the constitution or bylaws including committee descriptions.
- Finish all necessary correspondence (letters, e-mails, phone calls, etc.).
- Develop action plans and timelines for new officer transition, including but not limited to:
- Necessary meetings attended and chaired by officer.
- Important tasks and operations.
- Introduction to key people/staff (relationship building).
- Complete the outgoing officer questionnaire and review with the incoming officer.
- Complete the outgoing officer goals worksheet and review with the incoming officer.
- Create/update officer roles and responsibilities description (should be included in group constitution).
- One-on-one with incoming officer(s).
- Update VOLink and social media profiles.
- Clarify budget allocations and funding for events, including all account information.
- One-on-one meeting with advisor(s) and the new officer team.
The Center for Student Engagement is available to assist student organizations with any questions or concerns that may arise over time. Please use the contact information below to get in contact with a staff member in the Center for Student Engagement:
Coordinator for Registered Student Organization Support: Jordan Smith
Graduate Assistant for Registered Student Organization Support: Abigail Wallace
915 Volunteer Boulevard
2227 Dunford Hall
Knoxville, TN 37916