Student Organization Handbook

Handbook Purpose

The Office of Student Activities is dedicated to supporting you and your group's efforts in planning campus events and activities. In this online handbook you will find important information and resources that will assist your group throughout the year including answers to frequently asked questions. Please use it as a tool to share with your organization.

This page contains the policies relevant to student groups registered at the University of Minnesota. All students must comply with the policies listed in order for student groups to remain in good standing with the University.

Additional resources may be found through links to various University sites and services placed throughout this handbook. The online data base of student organizations is how we maintain your contact information as student organization leaders. Please keep this site up to date as leadership roles change within your organization. The Student Activities Office also maintains a Student Organization Network Listserv. This list allows you to stay in contact with other student leaders and is a primary way for us to send you new opportunities and information. In order for this list to remain current and effective, please update officer information on the online database. You may also use this list as a method to share information among your fellow leaders, but please realize there are 400+ students, faculty, and staff on the list therefore use it only for information that is pertinent to all members.

The Office of Student Activities is here to assist student organizations and their members realize group dreams and goals. Feel free to email, call, or stop by the office and we will be happy to guide you to success.

Find required forms below in the file list. 

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Student Group Benefits

All student organizations are required to register with the Office of Student Activities Annually by updating their officer and organization information in the on-line directory of student organizations and by attending the annual meeting of student org leaders at the beginning of each Fall semester. Failure to meet these two requirements will result in the organization being considered inactive and remove all of the benefits granted to a registered organization.

Registered organizations are granted the following benefits:

Access to student group specific email and web accounts through the Office of Computing Services.

Use of campus facilities and spaces to hold meetings and host events.

Consultation with and assistance from Student Activities staff members to assist with organizational issues, e.g. conflict management, risk management, taxes, budget development, understanding University policies as they relate to student organizations.

Eligibility to apply for student fee funds through the Activity Fee Review Committee (AFRC) 

Assignment of an on-campus mailbox, in the Office of Student Activities, Conferences and Special Events. [Please check at least once a week.]

Inclusion in the Student Organization Leader Network (SOLN) listserv.

Ability, by request, to conduct fundraisers and sales on campus with approved permit(s)

Participation in campus wide events (e.g. Activities Fairs, Homecoming, etc.)

Ability to promote events on the campus wide University of Minnesota, Morris Events Calendar



The Constitution is a statement of your group's policies and rules. It is documentation of the means by which you will run your group. It is also an acknowledgement of the University of Minnesota's policies and regulations. By submitting a constitution, you provide documentation of your compliance with student group and University policy and you have documentation as to the rules that will govern your group.

Remember that constitutions may seem like a burden to create, but they are vital documents. They ensure the smooth operation of your group and provide us with an official statement of purpose and a set of rules that will help you run your group to its fullest potential. Also, remember that constitutions can be changed. We provide a template for new or revised constitutions in the file list. Please feel free to use the template as a guide.

Any new constitution or constitutional change should be submitted to the Director of Student Activities for review. New student organizations or existing groups making substantial constitutional changes to their constitutions require approval by the Student Services Committee of the Campus Assembly. This process may take time to complete, but groups may begin some activities during the process. Student Activities staff can identify those activities for you.

Student Organization Classifications

The University of Minnesota, Morris classifies student organizations as belonging to one of three categories:

       I. Independent Student Group (ISG)

Definition: A voluntary association comprised primarily of students that has no direct relationship to the University, but upon completion of the established registration process is entitled to certain privileges including: operating, meeting, advertising, and participating in activities on the University of Minnesota, Morris campus; as well as eligibility to receive services from Student Activities.

      II. University Recognized Organization (URO):

Definition: A voluntary association comprised of University students which is recognized for its specific function by the University and is entitled to certain privileges including operating, meeting, advertising and participating in activities on the University of Minnesota, Morris campus as well as receiving services from Student Activities.

    III. University Campus Life Program (CLP)

Definition: A University of Minnesota program similar to a student organization in purpose and composition whose activities, operations, and decision making processes are directly governed by University academic or administrative departments, and for which the University is ultimately responsible.

Each of these classifications has particular rights and responsibilities. The full policy can be found below.


Registered student organizations can request student fee funds through the Activity Fee Review Committee (AFRC). Student groups are able to request funds through one of two methods:

  1. Assistance to Student Groups (ASG) grants are available for student groups requesting funds on a per event basis. These funds are distributed six times per year.
  2. Annual funding is available for established groups who have shown consistent need over a period of not less than three years. Requests for annual funding are typically due in early February for activities occurring in the next academic year. Annually funded groups are limited to the funds given them for the year and cannot request additional student fee money until the next annual funding cycle.

Partisan political student groups are not eligible to apply for and/or receive general student services fees. “Partisan political student groups” are organizations affiliated with and in support of a registered political party or candidates for election. Such groups may seek funding for their nonpartisan political activities (e.g. candidate forums available to all qualified candidates, nonpartisan education programs, etc.) through other University grant and student funding programs.

No registered student group may use University funds for partisan activity (defined as any activity in support of a registered political party) or on behalf of a candidate for public office in a political campaign.


Student organizations often work together, pooling their resources, to create a program or event. This can be a highly effective way to enable groups to afford more costly activities, increase attendance, and build community on campus. Co-sponsorship can revolve around sharing funds, volunteers, supplies or any resources that groups may have. When co-sponsorship between two or more groups involves funds, groups must complete a co-sponsorship form located below in the files list and submit it to Student Activities confirming funding commitments before money can be transferred from one group to another.


All fundraising efforts or solicitations must be vetted through and advised by the office of alumni relations and annual giving located in the Welcome Center (phone 320-589-6066). Contact Carla Riley, director of alumni relations and annual as soon as you begin thinking about fundraising plans.

Easy steps to follow:

Verify with the office of alumni relations and annual giving that gifts can be received by your organization according to IRS rules and regulations.

Be mindful that certain individuals, and nearly all Morris businesses, are asked to make donations multiple times throughout the year and that the Morris community in general supports the Morris campus in numerous ways. The alumni relations and annual giving office will be able to guide you as to which businesses have already been contacted and which ahve already made gifts in the fiscal year so we don't over solicit. 

To solicit organizations outside the Morris community, check with the alumni relations and annual giving office and then draft a letter requesting funds or items for your organization. Letters should be sent at least one month prior to when donations are needed.

Any and all gifts must be processed through the alumni relations and annual giving office. Promptly bring any gifts that you receive to Carla Riley at 106 Welcome Center.

Sponsorship differs from gifts. Sponsorships generally are done for advertising purposes and are not considered charitable gifts. Check with Dave Swenson, director of student activities for rules regarding advertising in facilities and which businesses and individuals you are allowed to contact. 

In summary, the alumni relations and annual giving office can provide the following services or assistance to your fundraising efforts. We are here to:

Confirm that your organization can accept gifts according to IRS/Foundation rules

Alert you to known current fundraising activities on campus

Alert you to which businesses have made gifts in the fiscal year

Help you draft a soliciation letter

Develop reply pieces to accompany your soliciation 

Provide return envelopes for gift submissions

Help you draft thank you notes

Answer any questions you may have!

Bake Sales

Bake Sales are a frequent and popular fundraising activity. Before hosting a bake sale on campus however you will need submit a bake sale form to Student Activities, reserve a table in the student center (see reserving space/placing events on the calendar below), request a cash box (see requesting a cash box below) and follow all university policy on bake sales.

Raffles and other forms of gambling are not allowed.

Program and Event Planning

Planning and hosting events for your organization or the entire campus is often a primary purpose for many student organizations. This process may seem daunting but can be easily achieved with a little help and some basic planning. The staff in Student Activities is always willing to sit down and help you as you are planning an event, just stop in and make an appointment with someone. We also strongly encourage you to use our event planning worksheet. This planning guide will walk you through all of the planning steps and gives you some idea planning timelines to follow.

Reserving Space/Placing Events on Calendar

UMM uses a software system called Astra to manage both scheduling space and adding events to our campus Master Calendar. Student orgs may schedule space on campus for meetings or events by going to the Office of Student Activities, Conferences and Events and working with staff there, or by requesting space through the Astra system. Only officers of a student organization can request space for an organization. Once you have scheduled a campus space for your event it will automatically be placed into the campus calendar unless you indicate it is a private meeting or event. If you are holding an event off campus that you would like to appear in the campus calendar, you will need to work with Student Activities, Conferences and Events to have that event placed in the Calendar.

Events with Food

The University of Minnesota Department of Environmental Health and Safety sets out a number of clear rules regarding events at which there is food.

Food at events with greater than 25 people in attendance must be provided by a licensed caterer.
Student groups may sponsor bake sales or similar activities on an occasional basis, but must register in advance through Student Activities and follow all bake sale rules. 
Individuals may bring their own lunch to brown bag lunch meetings scheduled on campus by UMM community organizations.

Potlucks are acceptable with the following restrictions:
  • Potluck agreements should be turned into Student Activities at least one week in advance of the event.
  • The food shall be restricted to the group
  • There shall be no advertising of the event
  • There shall be no invitations to individuals outside the group, such as a potluck to attract new members

Student groups may order Pizza or Subs for events in which there are 25 or fewer people in attendance. Events of larger than 25 people are required to be catered.

Food and beverage arrangements for UMM groups are provided by Sodexo dining services. UMM’s contract gives them exclusive rights to food and beverage service on the campus; groups may not hire another caterer or bring their own refreshments into the Student Center or other campus facilities for scheduled events. For more information about menu planning and prices, or to place an order, contact Dining Services (x6132). Dining Services charges and expenses are processed on your organization’s budget. View the full university policy of food at events for more info.

Copyright and Public Performance Rights

Student orgs intending to show films or use video games during an event or public performance must obtain proper rights for use. Contact a Student Activities staff member before holding this event for more information on doing so.

Public Performances

Neither the rental nor the purchase of a videocassette/DVD carries with it the right to show the tape outside the home. Unauthorized public performances refer to situations where an institution or commercial establishment shows a tape or film to its members or customers without receiving permission from the copyrighted owner. This includes public performances where an admission fee is charged as well as those that are simply offered as an additional service of the establishment.

The Federal Copyright Act

Title 17 of United States Code
Taverns, restaurants, private clubs, prisons, lodges, factories, summer camps, public libraries, day-care facilities, parks and recreation departments, churches and non-classroom use at schools and universities are all examples of situations where a public performance license must be obtained.

This legal requirement applies regardless of whether an admission fee is charged, whether the institution or organization is commercial or nonprofit, or whether a federal or state agency is involved

The University will require written documentation that a group has a license to use a film/video before allowing such an event on campus. In order to show a film as a public performance a student org must purchase a Public Performance License for each instance they would like to show a film/video. This can be done fairly easily but will require at least on month’s notice and the assistance of staff in the Office of Student Activities.

Penalties of Copyright Infringement: Willful infringement for commercial or financial gain is a federal crime punishable as a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine. Inadvertent infringers are subject to substantial civil damages, ranging from $500 to $20,000 for each illegal showing.

Requesting a Cashbox

You may order a cash box and change fund for ticket sales or fundraisers through the Student Activities Office. Requests for cash boxes should be made at least one week in advance. Cash boxes can be picked up from the Business Office, on the second floor of Behmler Hall on the date you specify when you request the box. Once your event is over please return the cash box to the Business Office along with cash equal to your starting change fund. The remaining moneys should be taken to the Office of Student Activities to be deposited into your Student organization’s account.

Checks for deposit must be made out to UMM and must deposited within 30 days of check date.

Cash Box request forms can be found online.

Duplicating/Printing/Graphic Design

You can print flyers or posters at the University's Duplicating Services office and charge these to your student organization's account using a duplicating request form from the Office of Student Activities. Forms must be signed by a Student Activities staff member before the item(s) can be duplicated.

Graphic artist services are available to UMM student organizations through the Office of Student Activities, Conferences, and Events. There is no charge for the design of posters, logos, t-shirt imprints, etc. Reproduction, e.g. printing, is the responsibility of the student organization.

Paper weight and color information can be found in the Office of Student Activities.

Take completed form and original(s), hard copies or electronic, to Duplicating Services (Sci 1180 – next to Post Office)

Duplicating Services will notify you when materials are ready for pick-up. The pink copy duplicating request form must be returned to the Office of Student Activities.

Purchase Orders

All purchases paid for out of University funds must be made with a University Purchase Order. Purchases made without a purchase order are the personal responsibility of the person making the purchase. Most organizations must initiate a purchase order through the Student Activities Office; the exceptions to this are organizations with staff support other than Student Activities (e.g. band, choir, jazz ensemble, athletics, hall governments). These organizations should make all purchases through the appropriate support office.

NOTE: Purchase orders must be obtained prior to purchase of goods.

To obtain a Purchase Order, you must submit a purchase order request in the Student Activities Office. Preparation of purchase orders requires 2 business days/48 hours notice. It is critical that after a purchase is made, you return one copy of Purchase Order (yellow and, a receipt/invoice from the business within a day of making the purchase [because it takes approximately 4-6 weeks for payment to be processed through the Twin Cities campus.]

Bookstore Purchases

Student organizations may purchase office supplies and other materials from the UMM Bookstore and have the cost charged to their organization account. A Bookstore supply order form is available from Student Activities. An office staff member must sign it before it is presented to the Bookstore.


Contracts are a very special case. Students cannot sign contracts. Simply put, a contract is an agreement between two parties (in our case, usually the University and a performer, speaker or agency) concerning the purchase of services (usually a performance). Only authorized University staff may sign University contracts. Student Activities professional staff will help groups with all contractual agreements. Processing of contracts, from start to receipt of check, typically takes 4-6 weeks.

Posting and Information Distribution Policies

The University has a clear and specific policy on the appropriate posting and distribution of posters, flyers, banners and other forms of communication. 

In addition to this policy, posters in the Student Center must be date stamped for removal by the Information Center and groups are limited to no more than 6 posters, flyers or banners in the Student Center. All postings in the Residence Halls must be submitted to the Office of Residence Life. Community Advisors will be responsible for hanging posters, flyers or banners in the halls.


Student Orgs often have great opportunities to travel. Whether you are competing at another school, attending a conference or on a journey across the country performing community service; there are a few things you should be aware of.

  • Any time your organization is traveling overnight you must complete and have every member who is traveling complete and sign a student org travel policy. This policy should be turned into Student Activities before you leave campus.

University Vehicles

When traveling, you are strongly encouraged to use a University vehicle. If you are traveling in a personal vehicle the owner/driver of the vehicle bears all liability if you have some sort of accident. If you are using a University vehicle the university has liability protection over the vehicle and occupants provided you are in compliance with all University policy governing vehicle use. Vehicles must be reserved by the Office of Student Activities and all drivers must sign a Vehicle Authorization form. The Student Activities staff will be happy to assist you with this process.