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Iowa State Daily

Student Engagement hosts leadership workshop on student organizations

Lani Tons

Iowa State Student Engagement hosted a workshop Tuesday in the Memorial Union aimed at teaching students about how to start organizations on campus, the steps to receive recognition and how to go about revising an organization’s constitution.

“We really want to provide students with the information necessary for managing student organizations and inform them of the university’s resources available to them,” Assistant Director for Student Organizations, Leadership and Service Kevin Merrill said.

Iowa State University is home to over 800 student organizations and clubs on campus. In order for a student organization to receive recognition from the university, an organization must follow certain guidelines and procedures to receive benefits from the university.

The workshop began at 6 p.m. with a brief overview from Merrill about what a student organization is and what it means to be a leader within one. Merrill then proceeded to elaborate on the importance of the official recognition and the various benefits provided by the university.

Such requirements for official recognition include a minimum of five organizational members as well as a designated president and treasurer.

Once an organization meets these requirements, they are able to apply for recognition, which allows them to receive various resources and benefits provided by Iowa State. Such benefits include the ability to reserve space on campus for meetings, transportation services and funding from the university.

“Students often underestimate the time and commitment required to be recognized,” Merrill said. “Typically I tell students, whatever you’re expecting to put into this, double it and add two weeks.”

Merill then transitioned into elaborating on the steps and procedures necessary once officially recognized by the university. The student engagement website allows organizational officers to manage their individual pages and edit aspects such as club members, officers and the organization’s constitution.

A student organization’s constitution provides the rules, procedures and purpose for the group as well as setting the standards for what the organization’s ultimate goal is.

“You need to have a resource to be consistent,” Merrill said.

 A constitution template is provided on the student engagement page for organizational officers to follow and correct any errors within their own constitutions.

“Organizations can compare and see what others are like. It’s kind of like plagiarism, except in this case it’s good,” Merrill said.

Student organizations can also request a meeting with student engagement to discuss guidelines for their constitution and seek help with any other issues they may be experiencing.

“It’s a resource that is really underutilized,” Merrill said.

Clubs and organizations can schedule their meetings and reserve spaces 366 days in advance through the student engagement page.

“Every time a meeting is over, you can go on and book it again for next year,” Merrill said.

Merrill closed the talk by answering questions and elaborating on the importance of organizations on campus.

“There’s an organization for all kinds of interests,” Merrill said.

This includes the proposed lumberjack club which sought to find others who shared their interest in eating pancakes and wearing plaid attire.

“Student organizations are my favorite tradition at ISU because it really helps break everything down and bring a sense of community,” Merrill said.

Student Engagement will host another workshop on creation and management Oct. 17, as well as several others included as a part of its leadership workshop series.

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    Lee Motzko | Oct 4, 2023 at 10:02 am

    Another great job Ben, I’m always looking forward to reading your next article’s!