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Start a New Student Organization

Application Dates for 2019-2020

  • Spring New Org Application Deadline: May 3, 2020 (11:59PM)

Application Notes

  • Applications will not be reviewed until after each quarter's deadline.
  • Until approval is received, use of the Stanford name, event planning, public meetings and fundraising is not permitted. Such activity could jeopardize the status of your application.
  • Your work must be 100% completed by the deadline in order to be fully approved as an organization.
  • New organizations will be on probation for one year.
  • Groups requiring significant university resources including faculty/staff time, space, funding (in excess of $10,000) and specific university oversight may be asked to do additional work before an application can be accepted. This may include the completion of a small prototype, preparation of a realistic and detailed budget, and commitment of a university advisor.  
  • See OSE's peer advisors early so they can assist you with your application.
  • All ten founding members must sign an email generated "agreement statement" within two days of the deadline. In order to do so, founding members must have a CardinalSync account. To accomodate the signatures, you should submit your application 2-3 days before the deadline so that all founding members have ample time for application review and signing.

You are required to meet with a peer advisor before an application is submitted, see their schedule. NEW UPDATE: Please come with the questions in the same new org app already filled. We think this will help alleviate gaps. (see below for sample app questions)

Sample of New Org App (Once you meet with a peer advisor, you will be given access to the actual online application). 

Important Notes

You should have an idea or proposal that:

  • Is of general appeal to the student body.
  • Does not duplicate existing student orgs and their programs nor other university services and departments. Collaboration with existing groups is our highest priority.
  • Supports the educational mission of the university and meets its policies and procedures.
  • Includes a plan that ensures the sustainability of your org for a period of three years or more, including an already committed group of students who is interested in supporting your activity over time. 
  • Includes a thoughtful and reasonable budget that is within the scope of the financial resources of the university and ASSU. A realistic funding plan is a key component of your ability to be sustainable and cannot be dependent on siginficant off-campus fundraising, see policy.
  • All ten founding members will e-sign the application and agree to the abide by policies. Note: any student planning to graduate in spring cannot be a founding member.
  • Due to the level of resources needed for a Club Sports group (such as space, equipment, coach, trainer and ongoing budget) we will only accept applications in fall quarter.  Regardless of the time of year, interested students should seek early consultation with OSE so staff can help you develop a strong proposal.

Before You Begin

  • With close to 700 recognized student organizations, Stanford has a variety of ways to get involved. Student groups are a vibrant part of student life at Stanford and are always looking for energetic new members and creative new initiatives. Before starting a new organization, ask yourself the following:
    • Is there already an organization or service on campus that you can join to accomplish our intention? If so, this is often the best approach.
    • Do I have the time and energy to start and maintain a student organization? Do I have a core of ten active members?
  • Please note that organizations inactive for a year or more who seek university recognition must re-apply through the new organization application process described here.

The Application Process

Step 1: Develop Your Initial Idea

 Consider the following questions:

  • What do we want the organization to do? Here a specific and clear scope is important.
  • What would be the mission and purpose of the org?
  • What activities would further that purpose?  Describe your hopes for activities in a realistic way.
  • How would we garner the necessary resources to support these activities?  Consider funds, space and staff support and oversight.
  • Why would current and future Stanford students want to be a part of this organization?  Your proposal needs to demonstrate a commitment and interest beyond your own.
  • Review the Criteria for New Student Orgs

Step 2: Review Information and Policies About Student Orgs

Understanding pertinent university policies and guidelines is important before you submit your application. See a complete list of applicable policies.

Step 3: Have an Initial Feedback Meeting with a Peer Advisor

An organization that receives feedback early in its creation is most likely to succeed. SEEK ADVICE EARLY AND OFTEN.

  • Ready for your feedback meeting? Check here to see when OSE student staff are in the office. 
  • If there is sufficient time you can also share your draft proposal with a OSE Peer Advisor for feedback before you apply.

Step 4: Submit a New Student Organization Application


  • Once you meet with OSE peer advisor, they will give you access to the application on the CardinalSync New Organization Portal and the application. 
  • Applications will not be reviewed until after that quarter's deadline.
  • Important Note: Submitting an application does not guarantee recognition.

Step 5: New Org Approval Phase 1

Applications will be reviewed by the OSE Organization Review Committee after the deadline and notifications follow the annual calendar, above.

  • Once you submit your application it is reviewed first by OSE staff and then the Org Review Committee. 
  • After the initial staff review you may be asked to provide addtional information prior to the committee review.
  • The final decision is made by the Org Review Committee, a body comprised of ASSU leaders representing the Undergraduate Senate and GSC as well as OSE Peer Advisors. Staff representatives include staff with advising responsibilities for student organizations and such as reps from Haas, Athletics, OSE, and other departments. 
  • The committee may decide at this stage that the application is not quite ready for approval. If such is the case, the individuals who applied will be sent a letter with feedback and be given the opportunity to reapply the following quarter. New org proposals that receive preliminary approval will proceed to Step 6.
  • Groups that are denied may reapply or appeal to the committee asking for reconsideration and should begin by meeting with a OSE Peer Advisor and then scheduling a meeting with the Director of Office of Student Engagement. Groups are first encouraged to re-apply. Appeals are reviewed by ASSU ExCom and are final.

Step 6: New Org Approval Phase 2

Based on the Review Committee's decision, you will be notified of the status of your proposal. 

  • If your application is granted preliminary approval status, you must complete the recognition process (see below) by the deadline in the approval notification; otherwise, you will not receive University recognition and will be unable to access University resources.
  • A final approval letter will be sent following the completion of this step.

If your organization proposal is granted preliminary approval status?


Step 1: Meet with a OSE Peer Advisor

  • Carefully review your approval letter and ensre that all deadlines are met.
  • Draft a constitution. Your constitution must meet specific criteria; review the guide to drafting a constitution.
  • Complete your CardinalSync profile. Your OSE peer advisor will make a portal for your organization on CardinalSync. Complete your registration through the portal to which you are given access.
  • Attend a leader transition workshop which is mandatory for the org president(s) and financial officer.
  • Have your financial officer attend an ASSU Banking Workshop so you can begin applying for funding.

Step 2: Open an ASSU Bank Account

Contact SSE Banking to get an account number and set-up your bank account.  

Step 3: One-year New Org Probation

New student organizations are on a one-year probation and are only considered a full-fledged student organization once they have successfully completed their probationary status.  During the probationary year groups are ineligible to apply for ASSU Annual Grants or off-campus fundrasing. The goal is to spend the first year developing the organization and a proven plan of activities before major resources are committed or funding sought.