Getting involved: student organizations renewal process set to begin

Devin Conway and George Anderson

There are a wide variety of student organizations at Georgia Southern University, covering a range of different topics and areas of study. Each offers its members a unique and engaging experience in which they can contribute to campus life and work on mastering their craft.

“There are always people joining organizations that are looking to find themselves that can really get a sense of community, and that helps them change their way of life for the better,” Nathan Dittmer, senior multimedia film major and Campus Outreach leader, said.

In order for current student organizations to maintain their officially recognized status, the annual renewal process, which consists of an online process via MyInvolvement and the mandatory attendance of a renewal workshop by the President and an accompanying officer of a given organization, must be completed by April 30.

Those who are interested in creating their own student organization must fulfill a stringent set of criteria.

The requirements include having at least four chartering members that are currently enrolled at Georgia Southern University and possess a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, securing a full-time faculty/staff member of GSU to serve as an advisor to the organization, drafting a constitution and by-laws that will govern the organization and having two of the chartering members complete the new student organization workshop.

The Office of Student Activities specifies that students are encouraged to consult an Activities Coordinator for any questions or concerns regarding the formation of any and all organizations.

In addition to the aforementioned prerequisites, student organizations are expected to follow a list of general obligations.

The organization must follow its stated purpose and are expected to use allocated student activity funds appropriately in compliance with university policy.

It must also sponsor projects that will ‘benefit both the group and/or the university’, conform to university policies, submit constitutional amendments to an Activities Coordinator for approval and keep an updated version online, maintain contact with the Office of Student Activities and renew their status each fall semester and attend certain activities that are deemed ‘very important’ by the Office of Student Activities at their discretion.

For those who may be concerned that their organization may cause conflicts for expressing dissenting opinions or ideas, the Office of Student Activities assures the student body that it doesn’t discriminate or promote one point of view over another.

“The University does not approve or disapprove views expressed. The University is concerned exclusively with the discharge of its educational obligation and to facilitate free discussion of all points of view to the extent constitutionally guaranteed,” Cara Wood, Assistant Director of Student Organization Development, said.

Whenever a prospective student organization pledges to uphold university standards and policy, there are a unique set of privileges granted to that organization upon official recognition.

Registered organizations have the opportunity to promote themselves and engage the student body in a number of ways including but not limited to the ability to reserve university facilities and equipment, hold fundraisers on campus, sponsor campus activities, invite speakers to campus, apply for student activity fees, receive honors and awards presented to university organizations and their members, among other things.

Many GSU students are reaping the benefits of their involvement in student organizations.

Dorian Lambert, junior marketing major and VP of Administration at the University Programming Board, said, “On a personal level, I’ve gained a lot of communication and networking skills. I’ve also learned a lot of professional skills through my involvement on campus, whether it’s video editing, accounting or even some construction through my community service.”