Starting a New Organization

This page is specifically for undergraduates at Northwestern seeking to charter a new recognized student organization at the university. At this time, only enrolled students may submit proposals. For information about other graduate/professional school student organizations at Northwestern, please scroll down for more information.

If you are an undergraduate 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? What makes yours different?
  • 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. (For Sports Clubs, the minimum is 15; religious and spiritual clubs is 10)
  • Will your organization be open to any interested student? Only new organizations that are open to all students will be considered for approval.

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 review committee for new groups is advised by Joe Lattal and includes representatives of several ASG committees. The committee is led by the ASG new groups chair. The application to propose a new group for campus recognition will be available on this page when it is open. Only enrolled undergraduate students are eligible to complete an application for review.

The new organization proposal form can be found on the New Student Organization Review Committee page on Wildcat Connection.

Quarter Deadline Decision Notification
Fall Friday October 25, 2019 11:59pm Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Winter Friday February 7, 2020 11:59pm Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Spring TBA TBA

Northwestern Sports Clubs

  1. Have a unique sport concept not offered by the Athletic/Recreation department
  2. Set up a meeting with the Sport Club Office (Ben Wager, to talk about clubs concept and feasibility.
  3. Start work on Clubs proposal-Gather a list (roster) of interested full-time Northwestern University students. (Minimum 15: Names and addresses). Hold a campus meeting to determine student body interest and fill out a Sport Club Application.
  4. Start a rough outline of a club constitution.
  5. Write letter to Athletic/Recreation Department about the clubs purpose and philosophy, type of club you envision (include facility needs).

Religious & Spiritual Groups

  1. Proposals for religious & spiritual organizations enter through the same process as other organizations through the ASG committee review and recommendation process.
  2. Recommendations for approval are forwarded to the office of Religious & Spiritual Life for official and final approval.
  3. For any questions about existing groups on campus, anyone considering starting a religious or spiritual group, or anyone seeking to learn more about the committee's decision communication, please contact Chaplain Jason Mohn to set up a time to discuss the topic further.

Graduate & Professional Students Starting a New Club

Application Notes

  • Applications will not be reviewed until each quarter's deadline. Exceptions cannot be made for groups seeking to access campus privileges immediately.
  • Until approval is received, use of the Northwestern name, event planning and fundraising are not permitted. Doing so could jeopardize your application. Recruiting students to get involved with your proposed group's efforts to gather interest is acceptable.
  • Your application must be completed and submitted by the deadline in order to be fully approved as an organization. Late submissions will be considered in the following quarter.
  • Approved organizations will be officially recognized once they:
    • find a faculty or staff advisor and submit an advisor acknowledgement form
    • complete their constitution for approval by Student Organizations & Activities staff
    • complete all orientation modules in Canvas

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 within the new group application period here.
Any further questions please contact the new groups chair here.

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 receive rationale for the Committee's decision. If a student organization is denied for reasons other than legal or risk management 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