Becoming a New Student Organization
Student organizations can be started at any time between October and April. An important question to ask yourself as you follow this process is “What does this organization give/do for Middlebury College that no other organization does?”
Listed below is an overview of the process you will need to follow:
- Download a copy of the Middlebury College student organization constitution template. This template includes some mandatory sections for your constitution. The Constitution Committee has plans to start reviewing applications the second week of October.
- Organize your first meeting of interested students. At the meeting, discuss the purpose of your organization and possible events and draft your constitution and a proposed budget for the academic year.
- Find an adviser for your group from the full-time faculty or staff members of the College.
- Log into MiddLink (go/middlink). Click on the “Organizations” tab at the top and then click on “Register a New Organization” (on the left). You will need to include a proposed constitution, proposed events, tentative budget, and roster of interested students.
- Your submitted application will be reviewed by the SGA Constitution Committee. If your organization seem viable, you will be invited to make a presentation. Please note: proposed service and volunteer organizations will be directed to the Service Cluster Board before meeting with the SGA Constitution Committee.
- Meet with the Constitution Committee. After the meeting, the committee will vote to accept your club as an official student organization.
- Make any necessary changes in your constitution, e-mailing the changes to the Director of Student Organizations.
- Meet with JJ Boggs in Student Activities (SA) to finalize paperwork, receive training, and access resources.
- After meeting with JJ Boggs, you can set up a meeting with the Finance Committee. The proposed budget template is on the Finance Committee Website. Funding is not guaranteed.
Please contact Dan Tenner, Director of Student Organization and Chair of the SGA Constitution Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the process of becoming a new student organization.
Following this list of advice will help decrease the amount that your constitution will have to be revised after meeting with the SGA Constitution Committee. If you have any questions or would like to see example constitutions, please contact the Director of Student Organizations.
Your purpose is the most important part of your constitution.
- If your purpose considerably overlaps with that of another organization, you will probably not be approved.
- It helps the Constitution Committee answer questions about how your club fits in on campus.
- The Finance Committee will compare each activity listed in your budget against the purpose you stated in your constitution. If the two do not match, you may not receive funding for that particular activity.
- Your purpose does not need to be in the numbered format shown in the constitution template form. However, do not submit long-winded purposes as they are unmanageable. If you would like to submit more than the basics of your club’s purpose, feel free to include an addendum or appendix to your formal constitution that includes anything you wish future leaders to know.
Things you must include that are frequently forgotten:
- Mandatory Forms- Anything marked this way on the template should be copied and pasted into your own constitution.
- Voting Membership- You must define what constitutes a voting member (especially if the qualifications are different than a regular member).
- Election Process- This includes quorums, whether it is a meeting or by e-mail, what happens if a leader steps down, etc.
- Please do not include names of your adviser or current leaders in the constitution. This is so that in future years, your constitution does not have to be extensively altered.
- You may include articles not in the template, however if the constitution is too convoluted or lengthy, you may be asked to change the articles to appendices.
Information for Student Organization Leaders
Student Organization Review:
A. All student organizations will be reviewed after three years, on a rotating basis.
B. The current leadership will be sent a copy of the constitution to be revised, amended and ratified by the current membership. The revised constitution must be uploaded into the organization's documents folder in MiddLink and followed by an email confirmation to email@example.com.
C. If any changes have been made in requirements for organizations, the group must change their constitution to reflect these changes. Any questions about these changes can be sent to the DSO
D. If no leadership is available, the club will be classified as inactive.
E. If necessary, the highest ranking leader of the club will be contacted to meet with the committee to discuss the club and how the organization is meeting the guidelines.
F. If any major changes are made (to the purpose, leadership style, or anything else that the DSO decides is vote-worthy), the group must be re-approved by majority vote of the Constitution Committee. If they are not approved, the group is classified as inactive.
Student Organization Policies and Principles:
Middlebury College ("Middlebury") complies with applicable provisions of state and federal law which prohibit discrimination in employment, or in admission or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities, on the basis of race, creed, color, place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, service in the armed forces of the United States, positive HIV-related blood test results, genetic information, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability and/or any other status or characteristic as defined and to the extent protected by applicable law. Middlebury also complies with all other anti-discrimination protections that might be provided by particular states in which it operates educational programs; questions about the scope of any such protections should be addressed to the Dean of the College and/or the on-site administrative representative for the particular program at issue. The Dean of the College coordinates Middlebury's efforts to comply with any and all federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of one or more of the protected characteristics listed above. Discrimination complaints are processed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Middlebury's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy.
Any student organization that discriminates on the basis of any of the aforementioned qualities or characteristics is antithetical to the mission of the College and is not appropriate as a model for society at large.
a. All student organizations are subject to College policies.
b. All student organizations must have constitutions that have been approved by the Constitution Committee of the Student Government Association. The Constitution Committee may not approve a constitution in violation of Handbook policy.
c. Approval of a constitution does not guarantee funding.
d. No student organization may discriminate in its membership, programs, or activities on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, place of birth, Vietnam veteran status, or against qualified individuals with disability on the basis of disability.
e. When allegations arise that a group’s beliefs and practices have resulted in actions that discriminate against an individual or group, the procedure outlined in item h. below should be followed.
f. A student organization may require candidates for leadership positions or offices to fulfill certain prerequisites prior to election or selection, and may restrict leadership roles and voting to those members with demonstrated prior affiliation with the organization. Such procedures, including all prerequisites, restrictions, and nomination requirements, must be consistent with Handbook policy, including anti-discrimination language, and must be stated in detail in the organization's constitution.
g. An organization may express in its constitution ideals or preferences regarding beliefs its leaders might hold, as long as no potential leader is being discriminated against.
h. Students who believe themselves to be the victims of discrimination by an individual or a group on the basis of the aforementioned qualities or characteristics, or who believe an organization has violated College policy, may submit a written complaint to the Dean of the College, who initiates the investigative process through established judicial procedures. The Dean of the College may refer the complaint to appropriate administrators for investigation. The Dean of the College has the authority to adjudicate and enforce College policies for student organizations.
i. Failure to comply with College policy may result in disciplinary action against an individual or group, up to and including expulsion of students and/or revocation of an organization's constitution.
Student Organization Rights and Responsibilities
When a student organization has been approved by the Constitution Committee, registered with Student Activities and continues to update its new officers and adviser annually, the organization is subject to the following rights and responsibilities:
- To use the name of the College in the title of the organization.
- To apply for funding through the SGA Finance Committee.
- To charge purchases from approved local vendors to their organization account.
- To obtain a student organization e-mail and voicemail account.
- To be listed in the official directory of student organizations.
- To use campus facilities for meetings and activities.
- To apply for office space on campus.
- To participate in the bi-annual Activities Fair.
- To be extended an invitation to participate in the Student Leadership Award Ceremony.
- To obtain a long-distance code to send and receive faxes.
- To update the organization’s registration with Student Activities every April. This includes adding names of newly elected officers, adding any advisers/coaches to the bi-annual roster update and submitting updated rosters and waivers.
- To comply with all College rules and regulations as found in the Handbook and those developed by Student Activities and the SGA.
- To respect and honor the College’s nondiscrimination policy.
- To adhere to the purpose of the organization as stated in the constitution.
- To provide programs to the College that contribute to the educational, spiritual, recreational, cultural, and social environment of the College community.
- To maintain close communication with the adviser, keeping him/her informed of the organization’s progress towards its goals and objectives as well as reporting any dangerous or prohibited activities engaged in by anyone associated with the organization.
- To have periodic meetings with Student Activities to keep the office informed of planned activities and any potential problems or violations.
- To attend Student Activities sponsored workshops and seminars where fiscal, safety, College, or programming procedures are explained and discussed.
- To prohibit members from practicing any physical or psychological hazing, illegal activity, and violations of College policy.
- To prohibit members from using their position or affiliation for financial or individual gain.