How to Start a Club or Organization

Your opportunities for involvement at Colgate are truly endless. If you don’t see the activity you’d like to participate in, explore starting a new student organization. Registration for new organizations occurs in the beginning of the fall semester after the Involvement Fair is completed.

Step One

Exploring Options & Identifying Advising Department

In proposing a new student organization, first determine if a similar organization already exists by visiting Get Involved and asking your peers. If one does exist, reach out to the leaders of the organization to learn how to get involved. If your group concept does not already exist, you must determine which of the advising departments' missions best aligns with your idea.  These advising departments are as follows:


These are some departments that have Sponsored Student Organizations

  • Division of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics (PERA)
  • Haven


General Criteria

  • The organization must be open to any Colgate Student who wishes to participate;
  • The organization must be beneficial and necessary to the enrichment of the Colgate community;
  • The organization must fill a unique niche within the Colgate community;
  • The organization must be sustainable over time

The organization must answer the following questions as a part of their recognition application:

  1. How is your organization beneficial to the campus community?
  2. How does your organization foster personal growth and the development of professional competencies that members may use while at Colgate and beyond?
  3. How does OSI recognition aid your organization in accomplishing its individual mission?

The organization must develop and present an action plan to fulfill the four phases of the Max Shacknai COVE philosophy

  1. Direct Service.
  2. Campus Impact.
  3. Student Growth.
  4. Social Change.

The organization must develop and present an action plan to fulfill the five tenets of the chaplaincy philosophy:

  1. Worship/Prayer.
  2. Service.
  3. Fellowship.
  4. Education.
  5. Interfaith Cooperation.

The organization must align with the Queering Belonging Formula that includes:

  1. Leadership
  2. Allyship
  3. Aspiration

The organization must develop and present an action plan to fulfill the five tenets of cultural center:

  1. Community building
  2. A commitment to social justice
  3. Celebrating the unique cultures and histories of our students, staff, and faculty
  4. Helping students feel empowered to take ownership of their lives
  5. Peer education and engagement

Step Two

Register on Get Involved

New student organization must register on Get Involved during the registration period, which opens the day after the Involvement Fair until the end of the fourth week of classes in the fall semester. 

To register, please follow these steps:

  1. Log into Get Involved with your Colgate credentials
  2. Click on the Organizations tab from the menu in the top left
  3. Clock on the "Register New Organization" button. Please note that this button is only available during the registration period. 
  4. Complete and submit the registration form


When submitting a registration, all organizations will be asked to include:

  • The official name of the proposed organization
  • The mission of the proposed organization, and how that missions would advance the Living the Liberal Arts goals described in Appendix A of the Colgate University Student Organization Relationship Statement
  • To the extent that the proposed organization anticipates seeking funding through the student activity fee and a proposed budget that describes the amount of fees to be sought and how those fees would be used
  • A list of proposed officers, all of whom must be Colgate students on active status
  • Acknowledgement by all founding members of the proposed organization/group that:
    • The proposed organization or group will adhere to the terms of the Relationship Statement; all applicable University rules and regulations, including, without limitation, the University Policy on Hazing, the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs, and the Policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment; and any requirements established by the advising department
    • Membership in the proposed organization will be limited to full matriculated Colgate students
    • The proposed organization will adhere to appropriate risk management practices and insurance requirements as established by the University 
    • The proposed organization will not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity or expression, race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability

Step Three

Onboarding Meeting

Once your registration form is submitted, you will be contacted by a staff member in the Office of Student Involvement to schedule a meeting to discuss your organization. This meeting will focus on discussing the mission and vision of your organization as well as present the criteria for ongoing recognition by an Advising Department at the University. All leaders of the newly proposed organization should plan to attend to ensure that everyone understands the responsibilities and opportunities being a student leader at Colgate provides. 

Step Four

Onboarding Semester

All new organizations are considered for onboarding status during their first semester. During the onboarding period, new organizations should be focused on refining their mission and vision, holding information sessions, recruiting members, and developing bylaws. By the end of the onboarding semester, organizations must have completed the following items to move on to the petitioning stage the following semester:

  • Met with their student organization advisor
  • Identified student leaders
  • Created mission and vision statements
  • Developed organizational constitution and bylaws
  • Submitted a SGA petition and delivered presentation (if desired)

Step Five

Petitioning Semester

Organizations that successfully complete the onboarding steps may move on to the petitioning phase of student organization recognition. During the petitioning phase, organizations should be focused on planning and executing events as well as refining their public presence. By the end of the petitioning semester, organizations must have completed the following items to petition for ongoing University recognition:

  • All leaders trained in accordance with NY State "Enough is Enough" legislation. This entails completion of parts 1 and 2 of the "Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing" (SAPO) online module available from Vector LMS
  • An established page on Get Involved
  • Evidence of success in implementing vision and mission
  • A plan for the future of the organization

Step Six

Ongoing Recognition

Upon completion of all of the steps of the petitioning semester, information on the student organization will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of the College for review. Groups that pass this review will be granted ongoing recognition on behalf of the Office of Student Involvement.

Step Seven

Student Government Association Recognition 

In addition to gaining recognition from an advising department, student organizations and groups may choose to apply for recognition by the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA recognition allows your organization to submit proposals to the Budget Allocation Committee (BAC) for funding from the Student Activity Fee.

To apply for SGA recognition, your organization must provide:

  • Recognition by a Dean of the College advising department (ALANA, COVE, OSI, Office of the Chaplains, OFSA, LGBTQ+ Initiatives)
  • Established bylaws in the form of a constitution
  • Signatures of 50 students that support access to the Student Activity Fee. See signature form.
  • A sample budget of how funding would be used to meet your organization's mission
  • Approval of this request by your Student Organization Advisor. SGA Recognition Petition.


Information regarding the online application process, including application requirements and deadlines, will be communicated to the entire student body through an email from the SGA Liaison(s) and posted to the SGA website. Applications for SGA Recognition will be live on Get Involved in September. The online application will be followed by a brief presentation detailing your mission, proposed organization activities, and and sample budget request to the Senate. The Senate will then vote; SGA recognition is by majority vote.