Starting a New Organization

If you are interested in starting a new student organization consider some of the following before you get started:

  • What is your organization's mission and purpose?
  • How will your organization serve a new campus need that is not already being served by another organization?
  • Do other organizations like yours currently exist on campus?
  • Can Northwestern provide the resources your student organization needs to function?
  • Will your group be sustainable beyond your time at Northwestern?
  • Are other students interested in your organization? At least five total proposed members are required, including two officers.
  • Will your organization be open to any interested student?

Please note that student organizations must abide by a number of policies and procedures and organizations may not be approved due to the nature of the organization or the risk involved with participating.

Applying to be a Student Organization

The application periods to charter a new group on campus will be updated as soon as the Associated Student Government new groups chair is appointed this fall.

Quarter Application Opens Deadline Decision Notification
Fall Friday October 20, 2017 Sunday October 29, 2017 Monday November 13, 2017
Winter Friday February 9, 2018 Saturday February 24, 2018 Monday March 12, 2018
Spring TBA TBA TBA

Application Notes

  • Applications will not be reviewed until each quarter's deadline.
  • Until approval is received, use of the Northwestern name, event planning and fundraising are not permitted. Doing so could jeopardize your application.
  • Your application must be completed and submitted by the deadline in order to be fully approved as an organization.
  • Approved organizations will be officially recognized once they find a faculty or staff advisor and complete their consitution for approval by Student Organizations & Activities staff.

Important Notes

  • Your name should not include Northwestern, NU, or Wildcat.
  • Your idea should be one of general organizations and their programs.
  • Your idea should support the educational mission of the University and meet its policies and procedures. You should have an already committed group of students who are interested in supporting your activity for a sustainable period of time.
  • 80% membership should be undergraduate students if the group plans to seek funds from ASG.
  • You should have a plan that ensures the sustainability of your org for a period of three years or more.
  • You should have a realistic plan for how can obtain financial support and resources (space, storage, etc.) for your activity within the resources of Northwestern.

The application is available on Wildcat Connection here.
Any further questions please contact Joe Lattal.

Before You Begin

With over 500 formally recognized student organizations, Northwestern has a variety of ways to get involved. Before starting a new organization, ask yourself following:

  • Is there already an organization on campus that I can join to accomplish our intention?
  • Do I have the time and energy to start and maintain a student organization?
  • Will I have the resources to support my organization?

Please note that organizations inactive for a year or more who seek University recognition must re-apply through the new organization application process described here.

Step 1: Develop your Initial Idea

There may be a broadly recognized yet unmet need, and you may have the bandwidth to meet that need, but what are you going to do? Talk through the following questions:What do we want the organization to do?

  • What would be the mission and purpose of the organization?
  • What activities would further that purpose?
  • How would we garner the necessary resources to support these activities?
  • Why would Northwestern students want to be a part of this organization?
  • Will our organization allow any undergraduate student to become a member?
Take some time to answer the questions on the New Organization Application Form
  • Applications will not be reviewed until after that quarter's deadline.

Important Note: Submitting an application does not guarantee recognition.

Step 2: Review by Student Organizations and Activities Review Committee

The New Org Committee, comprised of students and staff from ASG and SOA, will review your application. Depending on the nature of the purposed group, you may need to refine your proposal, seek approval from other University departments or take additional steps.

Step 3: Notification of Approval, Deferral or Denial

Based on the Review Committee, you will be notified of the status of your proposal.
All deferred and denied groups will recieve rationale for the Committee's decision. If a student organization is denied for reasons other than legal or risk managament issues they may appeal the decision by appearing before the Student Organization and Activities Review Committee.

Step 4: Meet with Student Organizations and Activities Team

Draft a constitution. Your constitution must meet specific criteria; review the guide to drafting a constitution.Please note: Constitution must be approved by Student Organizations and Activities staff in order to move forward. After that, the following steps will be completed as well:

  • Set Up Wildcat Connection account
  • u.northwestern email account
  • Listserv
  • SOFO application and training