000 Introduction

Student Organizations
Section 000: Introductory Material
Effective July 1, 2010

001: Introduction

Student Organizations
Section 000: Introductory Material
Effective July 1, 2010
Revised: September 5, 2013


Student organizations provide living laboratories in which leadership skills are gained and honed. They give students an opportunity to pursue their interests, to succeed, to fail and most importantly, to grow. Not all academic classrooms provide the opportunity to take responsibility and have accountability at the level that involvement in a student organization will allow. Leadership is not merely a collection of skills; leaders must forge their style through experiences that allow them to build and apply organizational and individual capacities for the public good. Student organizations are one of the few opportunities students have to gain hands-on experience working towards the public good. 

Oregon State University recognizes the contributions of Student Organizations in creating a compelling learning environment that prepares students to live in a multi-cultural society and work in a global community.  The University recognizes that all students should have access to form and join organizations of their own choosing to enhance the educational experience, support holistic personal development and retention.  In order to facilitate the development these opportunities for involvement, the following values serve as a compass in determining the classification and support for student organizations at OSU:

Alignment - As advisors, administrators, educators, students and student organizations we are aligned with the core mission and values of Oregon State University.

Access - We believe that a student’s ability to form and join organizations of their own choosing is a high priority.  As a result, we are committed to having clear & visible, student- friendly resources and processes that facilitate ease of access. 

Engagement - We recognize the value of co-curricular and academic involvement throughout the student experience and are dedicated to facilitating partnerships with students that support shared accountability, responsibility and learning. Through engagement with student organizations, students develop leadership and organizational skills, which enhance knowledge, holistic growth, community development and student retention.  

Health & Community - We support clubs and organizations that enhance our community by providing opportunities for leadership, learning, diversity, and social responsibility.  The health of the community will be one of purposeful, open, safe, just and celebrative outcomes.

With intention the University is establishing a student organization recognition process that will create an environment that supports a facilitator model of relationship as defined in The Rights and Responsibilities of a Modern University.  In this book, Bickel and Lake (1999) contend that “The vision of a facilitator model university illustrates what is reasonable and positive in the relationships among students, universities and the legal system…. A legal paradigm that asks colleges to exercise reasonable care…and asks students to be accountable…is fair, balanced and safer, and contributes to a sense of community.” 

In the classification system, the University and student organizations share the responsibility in the development, practices and outcomes of Recognized Student Organizations.  With clarity of roles, benefits and expectations, this process will lead to a fair, balanced, safe and involved community.

002: Definitions

Student Organizations
Section 000: Introductory Material
Effective July 1, 2010
Revised: September 5, 2013

D | E | F | M | N | O | R | S | U | V


Departmental Student-Coordinated Program

  • A Program that offers students positional roles of leadership as employees of Oregon State University. These programs are listed in organizational charts of University Units, with intention of professional development, mentoring and advising in support of the success of these students and the student defined mission, vision and goals of these programs.
  • Departmental Student-Coordinated Programs are not Recognized Student Organizations



  • Any activity undertaken in the name of a student organization, i.e.; meetings, performances, conference attendance, travel, retreat, sporting event, cultural nights, speakers, competitions, etc.

Event Sponsorship Agreement

  • A formal agreement between a Voluntary Student Organization and a sponsoring unit for the purpose of recognizing an event by a VSO that is in line with and compliments the Sponsoring Unit’s Mission.  Sponsorship may entail access to University controlled resources specifically for the period of the event. This agreement, when completed, outlines the relationship between the Student Organization and the University Department and identifies an individual to serve as the Faculty Advisor to the event.  This agreement does not indicate ongoing sponsorship of the VSO.


Faculty Advisor

  • Faculty, staff or personnel responsible for maintaining relationship with a sponsored student organization that allows for education and development as well as administration of data collection and University policies, procedures and guidelines.



  • OSU students that hold voting rights and/or leadership positions.


Non-Affiliated Student Organization (NSO)

  • A Non-Affiliated Student Organization (NSO) is an organization that is not affiliated with the University in a formal way.


Oregon State University Student

  • An individual that is currently enrolled through any Oregon State University or  degree partnership program and not employed by Oregon State University in a position that is half -time equivalence (0.5 FTE) or higher.  May also be referred to as “OSU Student.”


Recognized Student Organization (RSO)

  • A Sponsored Student Organization (SSO) or a Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) that has completed the annual registration process.  A Non-Affiliated Student Organization (NSO) and Departmental Student-Coordinated Programs are not recognized Student Organizations.


Sponsorship Agreement

  • An agreement between a student organization and a sponsoring unit for the purpose of establishing a formal relationship.

Sponsored Student Organization (SSO)

  • A Sponsored Student Organization (SSO) is a student organization, composed of 100% Oregon State University students, that operates under the direct guidance of a sponsoring unit and is in closest relationship with the University. 

Sponsoring Unit

  • A University unit through which a Sponsored Student Organization is affiliated to the university. 

Student Event & Activities Center (SEAC)

  • The department responsible for providing administrative oversight of student organization online processes and development of and access to baseline trainings for students and Faculty Activities Advisors.  Additionally, the SEAC is focused on creating visibility of and access to student involvement opportunities.

Student Organization

  • An affiliation of students bound by an interest, goal, work or community. May also be referred to as a club, chapter, team, coalition, etc.


University Recognition

  • A status - granted by the Student Events & Activities Center to a student organization upon successful completion of all registration requirements - which allows access to benefits.

University Unit

  • One or more Academic, Student Affairs or Auxiliary unit(s) of Oregon State University. This includes but is not limited to department (s), college(s), programs, schools, and interdisciplinary pursuits.


Voluntary Student Organization (VSO)

  • A student organization composed of 100% Oregon State University students that contributes to the mission and culture of the University.