Skip to main content

Intro to SOA

Students at the activities fair Organizationally, Student Organizations is part of Campus Life, which is part of the broader Northwestern University Division of Student Affairs

Student Organizations & Activities Purpose

Student Organizations & Activities seeks to engage students in involvement opportunities that build a sense of belonging and community at Northwestern University. Students have the opportunity to participate in over 400 student organizations on campus or create one of their own. Our office provides support, advising, and training for students and their organizations. Through educational and programming opportunities we facilitate and nurture experiences in:

  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Student community service
  • Social justice
  • Student organization development

We encourage students to visit us to find their passion, develop ideas, and think creatively about their student organizations.

Learning Outcomes

Students who engage in programs, activities, and services provided by Student Organizations & Activities will be able to:

  • Choose opportunities for involvement that enable them to collaborate with others across communities at Northwestern and beyond. (Interpersonal Competence)
  • Develop professional and leadership skills (such as empathy for others, event planning, conflict resolution, and team building) that can be transferred to their professional goals after Northwestern. (Cognitive and Practical Skills)

Involvement at Northwestern

Student Organizations & Activities encourages an inclusive and barrier free student organization involvement culture. We define this as a culture that has no extraneous barriers to general membership (i.e. applications, interviews, membership fees, auditions, academic class restrictions, questionnaires). This should allow general members full participation in meetings, events, and other organizational activities. ​Applications and interviews for organizational leadership (i.e. chair, arrangers, choreographer, and the like) may be used to determine specific roles or positions within the organization, but not as a requirement or prerequisite for an individual to be a fully participating general member. 

  • During Winter 2020, SOA discussed this topic with leaders in a wide variety of student organizations who hold interviews, review applications, and evaluate tryouts for new members. More info on this included in a story covered by The Daily Northwestern.
  • In Spring 2020, SOA will provide a summary of the conversations to identify patterns in involvement culture. SOA will include student org representatives, Associated Student Government, and advisors in discussions regarding recommendations from these findings. SOA will determine whether any change is necessary and communicate to the campus community.

Campus Life

Student Organizations & Activities is part of the Campus Life department within Student Affairs alongside Fraternity & Sorority Life and Leadership Development & Community Engagement

Strategic Plan

Campus Life recently published a strategic plan to frame the work of the three areas within its unit: Student Organizations & Activities, Fraternity & Sorority Life, and Leadership Development & Community Engagement.

Check out the full digital publication available on Issuu.


All Campus Life offices are located on the third floor of the Norris University Center past the SOURCE. Note that the SOURCE is closed until further notice following precautionary measures in response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.

Northwestern Division of Student Affairs


We will be full partners in the student learning experience.


The mission of the Northwestern University Division of Student Affairs is to educate students, engage the community, and enrich the Northwestern experience.

Visit the Division of Student Affairs page for more information.