Starting a Club or Organization
STARTING A CLUB
In order to be considered an official campus club or organization, and, most importantly, receive funding, clubs must first be approved by SGA. As members of SGA, students may come to you asking how and if they can start a club. In this section you will find the guidelines for aspiring clubs as well as a few things to consider as we are discussing the clubs during the review process.
Any full-time, matriculated student at Wheaton College can start a club or organization. Remember that clubs do not have to be started in the beginning or end of a school year, but can be brought to SGA for approval at any time.
3 Easy Steps:
The Idea: Make sure that your idea for a club or organization does not overlap with any existing clubs or organizations. Gather support from potential members, look into an advisor and plan ahead. Starting a club is not just about planning activities, for that reason we have larger programming groups to coordinate this. Instead, what theme will your club carry out to enrich the Wheaton and Norton Communities? A club that must be carefully and strategically planned in order to conduct its mission statement accordingly.
The Process: Once you have the idea of your club and its purpose established, you must begin the application process. In order to present your club to SGA, you must meet with the Constitution Reform Committee (CRC) who will review your clubs Constitution and provide feedback to better your club proposal before going to SGA. Once you have met with CRC they will either contact the SGA Vice President so you can present to SGA or ask you to make some changes. When your constitution is completed, email SGA Vice President Randy Frazer to be placed on the Senate Agenda. Typically you should try and email him two weeks before you plan on attending the meeting (held Tuesdays at 7pm) in order to ensure you are on the agenda. In Senate, you will present your Club Constitution for ratification by the senate. Be prepared with your research and valid points to defend the importance of a Club/Organization like yours on this campus. One of the most important things in forming a club is having a reliable board that will be efficient in their positions, and will be sustainable after the original members graduate or leave the club. Be sure to emphasize the type of organizational structure your Club/Organization will have and what responsibilities will that structure fulfill.
The Money: After your club has been approved it will be assigned to a Tier. In SGA terms, a Tier is a larger group of Clubs/Organizations that all have similar intentions in a larger scope of things. There are four (4) Tiers; Communications Tier, Intercultural Tier, Educational Tier, and Recreational Tier. All clubs approved after April 30, 2012 will be unable to receive an operating budget for fiscal year 2013, however they are eligible for discretionary funding from a multitude of funding sources. After the Student Government Association Treasurer has confirmed the creation of your club or organization’s fund, it is the club treasurer’s duty to keep records of the club’s income and expenditures throughout the year through the use of the budget ledger provided by the SGA.
CLUB RATIFICATION PROCESS
While clubs and organizations are presenting their constitutions in Senate, a few main things are very important to remember:
Read the Constitution BEFORE Senate. The SGA Vice President will be sure to send the Constitutions out beforehand along with the week’s Agenda. While you are reading, be sure to check for grammatical errors, misspellings etc. but also, review each article to ensure that they make sense and are all there. Look for any positions that seem to be left out, title descriptions that are unclear or any other structural errors.
“Friendly Amendment” – If you do find any errors or items that need to be changed, you may propose a “Friendly Amendment.” Friendly Amendments are proposed amendments to alter the constitution. Friendly Amendments are suggested, and then voted upon before approving or opposing the document as a whole. Often times, Constitutions will be approved pending the insertion of Amendments.
Discuss – Discussion time is the most valuable aspect of approving or not approving clubs. Here is where you are able to ask questions about the Constitution, club membership, mission statement, or just the club in general. As a body, we like to look closely at a few things.
- Will this club/org be sustainable? (ie will the club dwindle after the founding members or Presidents have graduated?)
- Is there any club or organization like this currently? Overlap is the number one reason clubs don’t get approved.
- Does this club/org benefit the larger Wheaton population?
- Does the Constitution accurately reflect the mission of this club/org?
- Is the mission of this club/org clear and planned out?
Vote! – Be sure to stand strong in your decision and exercise your right as a Senator and vote for or against the ratification of the club or organization with, or without amendments.
Place into a Tier – There are four Tiers for clubs to be placed in. These are used primarily for financial reasons, but also to connect similar clubs and promote collaboration. The Tiers are: Communication, Intercultural, Educational, and Recreational.