Starting a Student Organization

Establishing and Maintaining a Registered Student Organization

For assistance in planning a student organization, please contact Christina E. O’Brien, Director of Student Life. (260) 481-2232

Purpose: Ivy Tech Community College recognizes the benefits associated with student participation in student organizations.  Co-curricular activities supplement students’ traditional education and assist in providing them with opportunities to further develop life skills.

Student Organization:  Student organizations at Ivy Tech Community College are student initiated and student directed.  Student organizations exist for a variety of reasons and come in a variety of forms.  The purpose of student organizations vary from student governance, professional and academic-discipline or departmental organizations, religious affiliated organizations, special interest groups, recreational organizations, sports clubs, and academic honor societies.  Student organizations provide students with experiences which complement the academic classroom experience.  they accommodate varied interests, cultural differences, abilities, and needs of their members.  Participation, particularly in a leadership role, provides opportunities for student growth and development.  Students can practice critical thinking, leadership, communication, financial management, group dynamics, and organizational skills.

Advisor:  Student organization advisors take on a combination of roles including advisor, coach, and educator. As an advisor, this individual works to maintain the organization and delegate tasks to the officers and members.  As coach, they share a vision for the organization and work to improve the effectiveness of the organization and assist officers and members in reaching their goals.  As an educator, the advisor offers consultation and through discussion will help students critically think through situations and support them as they come to conclusions.  Ultimately student organization advisors counsel on organizational decisions, and help student organizations maintain consistency from year to year.

Constitution:  A constitution contains fundamental principles which govern a student organization’s operation.  It establishes the identity of the organization by stating the purpose and outlines the basic operating structure.  It includes information that is central to the organization and allows members and potential members to have a better understanding of the organization.  A constitution should withstand year after year; however it should be reviewed annually and amended as necessary. Sample constitution.

By-laws:  By-laws incorporate sections that have information and requirements that may change year to year (specific amounts for dues or meeting dates).  Many organizations do not need by-laws; rather the information can be incorporated into the constitution itself.  By-laws should be reviewed annually and amended as necessary.


A. Establishing a New Registered Student Organization.  A group of Ivy Tech students may become a student organization upon formal registration with the Office of Student Life.  Registration shall not imply College endorsement of the group goals and activities.  Such registration is contingent upon the following conditions and receipt of the following documentation:

  1. Intent to Organize Application form
  2. Constitution.  An outline of the basic information to be included in a constitution is available in the Student Life Office
  3. List of eligible officers including contact information
  4. Name of a faculty or staff advisor
  5. List of at least five (5) Ivy Tech Community College students
  6. Attendance of the organization President and Advisor at an “orientation” meeting with the Student Life Office

Some student organizations engage in activities that involve inherent risk.  Organizations with inherent risk that are seeking registration may be asked to pursue additional registration requirements.

B.  Benefits/Privileges for Registered Student Organizations.  Any student group registered as an Ivy Tech student organization is entitled to:

  1. Official listing as a registered student organization with the College.
  2. Participation as a group at College sponsored functions (activity fairs, involvement events, etc.).
  3. Use of available College facilities on a space-available basis to hold meetings or conduct activities consistent with the objectives of the student organization.
  4. Request College funds through the Student Life Budget Committee to support student organization programs and activity.
  5. Financial accounts are established with the Business Office for organization use.  All registered student organizations are required to handle their finances through the College.
  6. Organizations user name and password for the purpose of email or web space on the College server.
  7. Opportunity to hold fundraising activities.
  8. Organization sponsored events published on campus calendars, electronic bulletin boards (if applicable), and in campus publications.

C. Expectations of Registered Student Organizations.  Student organizations are responsible for:

  1. Communicating with the Student Life Office
  2. Practicing sound fiscal management
  3. Following College policies and procedures
  4. Following state and federal laws

D. Maintaining Student Organization Registration.  Previously registered student organizations must renew their registration yearly.  To maintain status as a registered student organization the following conditions must be met:

  1. Complete and submit the Student Organization Re-Registration Form.  Update the information in the form including:
    • Organization name and description
    • Officer names and contact information
    • Advisor’s name(s) and contact information
    • Provide a full membership roster including at least five (5) currently enrolled Ivy Tech Community College students from your region.
  2. Provide the student organization’s current constitution.

E. Termination of Registered Status.  The registration of a student organization may be terminated for a specific or indefinite period of time.  If terminated, a student organization will no longer be afforded any benefits or have any privileges with the College.  Funds held in the College account will be forfeited and returned to the Student Life Budget Committee accounts to be redistributed to other student organizations.  The Office of Student Life will notify any recognized student organization that has failed to meet the conditions for maintaining registered status:

  1. Student organizations that do not complete and submit the renewal information and documentation will be considered inactive.
  2. Student organizations that do not hold meetings or activities for an entire academic year will be considered inactive.
  3. Student organization officers, with the advisors signature, submit a written request to terminate the organization
  4. A student organization violates College regulations or policy or state or federal law

F. General Membership

  1. Membership in student organizations may be composed of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members.
  2. Non-student membership may be held by faculty, staff, alumni, or community members.  Non-student members may not vote or hold office.
  3. The control and operation of student organizations must remain with the student members.  Voting privileges may be granted to only Ivy Tech students.
  4. Membership and participation in student organizations must be free from discrimination for all students regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, age, or veteran status.
  5. Students must be free to join or leave an organization without being subjected to pressure, harassment, or intimidation.
  6. Hazing is prohibited by state statute.

G. Requirements for Holding Office

  1. Each student organization shall be expected to define the requirements for eligibility of its own officers and participants.
  2. Regardless of further requirements that may be established by a student organization, an officer must be a currently enrolled Ivy Tech Community College student who is in good academic and conduct standing with the College.
  3. If a student falls out of good academic or conduct standing while holding an officer position, they may be required to resign from that office.

H. Advisors to Student Organizations

  1. Each student organization shall be required to have a primary advisor.  Advisors provide advisement and coaching, and serve as an education outside the classroom to the organization officers and members.
  2. Student organizations have thirty (30) days to fill vacant primary advisor positions.  If the advisor position is not filled, the organization may lose their registered status and their activities may be limited until a new advisor is identified.
  3. If the primary advisor position is vacated within the last 30 days of the end of the semester, the group will have 30 days after the start of the next semester to fill the vacant position.
  4. The primary advisor shall be faculty or staff at Ivy Tech Community College or otherwise approved by the Student Life Office.
  5. In addition to their primary advisor, student organizations may have community advisors, instructors, and coaches.  However, the direction of the group must remain with the student members.
  6. Advisors shall be selected by the student organization and approved by the Student Life Office.
  7. Advisors shall not have voting rights, including voting to approve expenditures or programs.