Boston College boasts over 200 registered student organizations (RSOs). Although BC students have been creating clubs on campus since the establishment of the University, the process by which students start RSOs has changed. In light of the student-run Student Involvement Fair that took place last Thursday in the Rat, students should be aware of the process each club must complete in order to make a difference for the student body.
Until last year, according to the Student Program Office (SPO) website, in order to start an organization, students had to have turned in their submissions to register their club by April 1 of each academic year.
“Now, we get submissions on a rolling basis. We can get up to three applications a week,” said Ricky Knapp, vice president for student organizations in UGBC and A&S ’14. Knapp’s division was established just last fall.
“We decided that there needed to be an organization that looked out for the students in the process of starting a club,” Knapp said in reference to the old process that relied solely on SPO to approve student organizations.
This new division in UGBC expedites the submission process. “I think the slow process and the fact students could only apply once a year discouraged a lot of people. Now a club can be approved in about three weeks,” said Nanci Fiore-Chettiar, a board member for student organizations and A&S ’15.
Although the student organization division has made the submission process faster, it is still an intensive and thorough one.
Each submission must include a primary contact to answer any questions about the new organization; a name, mission, and vision of the organization; how the new organization will enhance student life; and proof that the new organization is unique and will not duplicate any of the current organizations’ purposes on BC’s campus.
Additionally, each submission must include a constitution and at least 15 names of students who have shown interest in the prospective club. “We like to see that the student submitting the application has already gotten the ball rolling,” Fiore-Chettiar said.
According to the UGBC website, any application submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday will be reviewed by the student organization board in a meeting on Sunday night. The next step is for the primary contact to be interviewed by the board. Finally, SPO will make the official approval and declare the prospective club an RSO.
Clubs on campus who register as a student organization can take advantage of many benefits, including funding eligibility from the Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC), the ability to advertise meetings and programs on campus, and the use of MyBC organizational software, according to the SPO website.
“I think one of the biggest benefits is having a table at both student involvement fairs,” Knapp said.
Officially registered with the University in the late fall of 2011, the Outdoors Club is one of the newer clubs on campus, but it can attest to the inconvenience of the old submission process.
“The hardest part about starting up for us was getting approved since we are considered a risk for the University,” said Matthew Rossi, president of the Outdoors Club and A&S ’14. “The lawyers just gave us some trouble.”
According to Rossi, the last time the University approved an Outdoors Club on campus was in the 1950s.
“We just want to do what we do and do it well in order to gain [SPO’s] trust,” said Robert Hatem, president-elect of the Outdoors Club and A&S ’15.
Although the Outdoors Club is still in its infancy, its listserv consists of over 1,000 students. “Our ultimate goal is to get enough funding for a cabin-all of the other schools around here have one,” Rossi said.
The Outdoors Club plans to continue educational programming on campus with workshops on fire safety and the safe hiking techniques. Additionally, the club intends to plan approximately one event each week. “We just want to get as many people involved as possible because clearly the interest is there,” Rossi said.
Another club in its infancy includes Share Your Sport. “It’s one of my favorites we’ve approved this year,” Knapp said. “The club seeks to bridge the gap between student athletes and other students, so every Thursday night they bring in athletes to teach students how to play their sport.”
“The best part about that club is that it was started by a freshman this fall,” Fiore-Chettiar added. “The student saw a problem he wanted to fix and he did it within a few weeks.
The student organization division also approves chapters of nation-wide clubs like To Write Love on her Arms.
“This is another good example of a club that is unique at BC,” Fiore-Chettiar said. “It falls under the category of mental health.”
“Most people take the application process very seriously, but we have gotten a few joke submissions,” Knapp said.
According to Knapp, the biggest reason for turning down a submission is a lack of uniqueness. “The last thing we want to do is dilute the pool of clubs and take away from another club that might have the same missions and goals as the prospective one,” Knapp said.
“Another reason we might send back a submission is that we won’t get a long enough answer on an application,” Fiore-Chettiar said. “We are looking for length because it shows the person put a lot of effort into it.”
“But just because we send a submission back does not mean we have rejected it,” Knapp said.
Both Knapp and Fiore-Chettiar encourage anyone with an idea to send in an application, which can be found on the UGBC website under the student organization division.
“Clubs are truly the best way to find your niche on this campus, even if you don’t come to BC knowing exactly what you want,” Fiore-Chettiar said.