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Starting a New Organization

Interested in starting a new student organization on campus? The Office of Student Life is here to support your idea from the beginning to execution.

How and Why to Start a Student Organization

Please note that these statements were established by Central Administration.

General Statement
All organizations functioning on the Kansas City campus of the University of Kansas Medical Center are required to register with the KU Medical Center Division of Student Services Office of Student Life on an annual basis. Registration of the organization provides for official identification of the affiliated group, use of designated university facilities and services, eligibility for funding, and the opportunity for communication of the group's activities with the campus adminstration and other organizations.

Organizations must be established for purposes which are legal, consistent with the broad educational goals of the university and the medical center and in accord with the regulations, guidelines and policies of the University of Kansas Medical Center, the university, the Board of Regents and the State of Kansas. However, registration does not imply KU Medical Center endorsement of the purposes of an organization nor does KU Medical Center assume sponsorship responsiblity for any of the activities of the group on or off medical center property.

Regents Policy on Organizational Membership
The established policy of the Board of Regents of the State of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religious faith or national origin within the instructions under its jurisdiction. All fraternal and campus-related organizations shall follow this policy in the selection of their members, except the prohibition against sex discrimination shall not apply to social fraternities or sororities which are excluded from the application of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.

The right of organizations to establish standards for membership is acknowledged provided that all students are afforded equal opportunity to meet those standards. Just as all students have the right to choose with whom they would associate on the campus, an organization shall have the right to select its members subject to these principles. Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as imposing a requirement, which violates the principle of selection on the basis of individual merit.

The responsibility for compliance with this policy lies with each organization. In discharge of its responsibility, each organization shall acknowledge its understanding of this policy. Such acknowledgement shall assure that there exist no restrictions on membership, either local or national, which violates this policy.

The Chancellor or President of each institution under the jurisdiction of the Board shall establish a committee composed on students, faculty and administrative personnel to deal with matters related to this policy and its application. In the event of alleged violation of the policy, the committee shall investigate the allegation and report findings and recommendations regarding it to the institution’s Chancellor or President.

The following types of organizations are eligible to register with the University of Kansas Medical Center through the Division of Student Services Office of Student Life.

  • Student organizations: A Student Organization shall be defined as a group, at least 75% of whose members are currently enrolled as KU Medical Center students. The officers of the organization must be currently enrolled students. The advisor must be a current faculty or staff member located on the medical center campus.
  • Campus organizations: A Campus Organization shall be defined as a group, at least 75% of whose members are from the KU Medical Center community, including currently enrolled students, faculty, staff or spouses of these persons. The officers of the organization must be members of the medical center community as defined in this paragraph. The group’s sponsor must be a current faculty or staff member located on the KU Medical Center campus.

Registration Procedures
The registration process occurs at the beginning of each new calendar year. At that time, all organizations must submit a current registration form to the Office of Student Life. The Office will review an organization's registration materials and determine: a) if the group is eligible to register with the University of Kansas Medical Center; and, b) the organization's category for registration purposes. The registering organization and their advisor will be notified via email of the Offices's decision to grant or to deny registration status.

In order for an organization to register with the University of Kansas Medical Center, a group must:

  • Provide KU Medical Center with the name and a statement of purpose (or mission) for the organization;
  • Provide a copy of the organization's charter, constitution, or by-laws, including those of organizations external to KU Medical Center with which the group is affiliated;
  • Identify an advisor who is a member of the faculty or professional staff of the university;
  • Sign the certification that the group will adhere to all applicable Regents and KU Medical Center regulations affecting registered organizations and, in particular, the Regents Policy on Non-discrimination in Organizational Membership;
  • Maintain with the Office of Student Life, a current registration form which includes names and addresses of the president(s) and advisor(s);

Groups wishing to appeal a decision about registration status should contact the Vice Chancellor of Student Services.

The Division of Student Services maintains complete files of registration materials throughout the academic year to which the registration applies. A record of the organization registration will be maintained for historical purposes.

Benefits for Registered Organizations
Registering with KU Medical Center entitles organizations to the following benefits:

  • Use of KU Medical Center name in the organization's title (provided that class, school or category affiliation is also included in the title)
  • Use of facilities, including scheduling meeting rooms, classrooms, auditoriums and other designated spaces
  • Use of University Services:
    • Use of campus mail and telecommunications system for official business of the organization in accordance with established KU Medical Center and State policies
    • Be listed in and publicize activities through KU Medical Center publications
    • Utilize medical center staff and programming resources as approved
    • Request use of a table in the designated information area during School of Medicine orientation week activities (if organization is open to medical students)
    • Receive information materials from the Director of Student Engagement regarding KU Medical Center policies, procedures and activities (student organizations only)
  • Request Student Governing Council non-food and food funding (student organizations only).
  • A seat at any Presidents Roundtable Meetings (student organizations only).
  • Access to the Calkins Student Organization Center (G005 Orr Major)

The Calkins Student Organization Center is a central meeting location available to all registered student organizations. The center is home to the schools' governing bodies offices as well as a publication office for any school wishing to produce a yearbook. Only activities associated with officially registered student organization business is allowed. The space features:

  • Conference room available for student organization meetings
  • Refrigerator and microwave for food and beverage storage before meetings
  • Locker storage for registered groups
  • Mailboxes for registered groups

The center is card access only. By default, all student organization presidents will be given access to the space with the completion of the student organization registration form. Presidents may choose to transfer their access to another group member; each group is allowed a total of two card access members.

Reserving the Conference Room
The Calkins Student Organization Center includes a conference room that can hold up to 40 people. To reserve the space for your next student organization meeting, send an email to with your requested room use date and time. The room is reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Group members attending the meeting should initially access the conference room from inside the Student Organization side as both the doors at the Bookstore staircase and the elevator corridor are locked. Furniture in the conference room may be moved. However, groups should move the furniture back to its original location after a meeting/event. There is a diagram of the room set up on display in the conference room. External doors to the room may be opened to allow attendees in, but should be closed upon completion of the meeting or event.  Any trash or recycling receptacles that have been brought into the room should be returned to their proper locations after vacating the room. A computer and projector are also available for check-out.

Your advisor may be a KU Medical Center faculty or professional staff member who has an interest in your organization's focus and an interest in working with students. 

You are encouraged to select a faculty or staff member whom you think will actively help and advocate for your organization. A dedicated advisor can help make your organization successful and effective in fulfilling its goals. The position of advisor is held for one academic year and may be renewed upon mutual agreement by the student group and advisor.

The purpose of a constitution is to explain the fundamental principles of the group by providing a basic framework of how the organization operates.  It should explain to the reader why the group exists and how it functions.  It also provides some historical perspective for the reader. Normally, constitutions are 2-4 pages in length and rarely revised.

Constitutions should include:

Article I:          Name of the organization
Article II:         Affiliation with other local, state or national groups
Article III:        Purpose of the organization (mission statement)
Article IV:       Membership requirements and limitations
Article V:        Officers, including titles, office terms and election information
Article VI:       Advisor(s), including term and selection information
Article VII:      Meeting information, including frequency and special cases
Article VIII:     Quorum information (# of members required to conduct business)
Article IX:       Procedures for legislation and for recalling offers
Article X:        Amendment procedures, including proposal, required notice and voting
Article XI:       Voting requirements for approval of the constitution

Two-thirds vote of membership is required to make a change to the constitution.

The detailed procedures of the group should be given in the By-Laws. These give instructions for day to day group operations. They also give further definition to the Constitution. By-Laws tend to be revised on a regular basis.

By-Laws should include:

  • Membership - selection requirements, resignations, expulsion rights and duties
  • Dues - amount and collection procedures, special fees and when to pay
  • Executive Board - structure, members, power and duties
  • Duties of Officers - job descriptions and powers
  • Committees - how formed, chairpersons, meetings, powers and duties
  • Duties of Advisor - job description and powers
  • Elections - time of year, voter eligibility, removal from office and appeal process
  • Order of Business - agenda used for conducting meetings
  • Parliamentary Authority - rules followed for order
  • Amendments - voting procedures and notice required
  • Any other specific policies and procedures unique to your organization

Simple majority vote is required to make a change to the By-Laws.

Please note that in order to remain a recognized student organization on campus, you have agreed to adhere to the Regents Policy on Organizational Membership. All presidents of the organization are required to attend the Student Leader Retreat and Student Organization Orientation. Attendance at the Leadership Development Series is also highly encouraged.

Group of students looking at presentation

Ready to Register Your Organization?

Now that you've reviewed the process for starting your own student organization, it's time to register!
Register Your Organization
Office of Student Life
1006 Orr Major
Mail Stop 4018
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160