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Student Organization Basics

▼Starting a New Club

To become an officially recognized SGA Club:

○ Fill out New SGA Club Form stating the purpose of the new club

○ List the four current executive board officers (names and addresses)

○ The name and information of the club advisor

○ Create and submit a copy of the club constitution to the SGA Parliamentarian

**Sports clubs must also submit signed copies of the Club Sports Participation Agreement from each member.

The submitted constitution must be approved by the SGA Constitution Committee and completely comply with the SGA Constitution. Once passed through the Constitution Committee, the club or organization must receive a two-thirds vote of the SGA Student Senate in order to achieve recognition.

*It is required to have at least 14 members, including the four officers, and one advisor. Each club or organization must be nonprofit, non-discriminate and run by students.


▼Writing New Constitutions

The constitution is the most important organizational document clubs or organizations will have. It provides direction and guidance for all members, as well as outlining policies and procedures. The language needs to be clear and concise, leaving little to interpretation. Depending on the complexity of the student organization, the constitution may range from one page to many. An organization’s constitution must include several important components in order for the group to function efficiently and to protect the rights of all members. Click here for a full list of the Important Components for Writing a New Constitution.

Once the constitution is created it must be submitted to SGA for their approval. It is important to keep in mind that any club or organization constitution be in agreement and support the SGA Constitution. The SGA Parliamentarian can offer any help or assistance if needed in creating a constitution.


▼Club/Organization Responsibilities

To maintain recognition within SGA and receive funding, there are certain requirements each club or organization must follow. They must:

1. Send its President and Treasurer to one finance meeting held each semester with the SGA Budget Finance Committee as well as any other mandated SGA club and organization meeting or workshop.

2. Keep and submit, to the SGA (via SGA@mcla.edu), a record of all meeting agendas and minutes.

3. Follow all budgetary procedures as outlined in Financial Resources.

4. Submit a current list of the officers to the Coordinating Vice President and SGA Office Manager.

5. Complete any programming requirements as outlined by the constitution.

6. Adhere to the SGA Non-Hazing Policy.

All information submitted to the Coordinating Vice President and Office Manager is filed in the appropriate file within the SGA Office. This helps to provide a history for future members of each club.


▼Loss of Recognition

If a club or organization fails to meet certain requirements, there is the possibility that they will lose recognition within the senate. Before a club or organization loses its recognition, charges must be brought before the Constitution Committee for their recommendation and then sent to the senate. A vote of loss of recognition must attain a 2/3 vote of the student senate.

A club or organization may lose its recognition or funding for any one of the following reasons:

○ Failure to abide with the SGA Constitution and its By-Laws

○ Inactivity for a period of three (3) consecutive semesters

○ Failure to meet the requests made by the SGA Student Senate regarding finances, constitutions, etc.

○ Extenuating circumstances deemed necessary by the Student Senate

Upon the loss of recognition by the SGA, the following will occur:

○ Funds accrued in the clubs' or organizations' account will revert back to the SGA's Student Activities Fee Operating Budget.

○ The club or organization will not be eligible for funding by the SGA.

○ The club or organization's name will not appear in the club booklet.

○ The club or organization will not be allowed to use any SGA services available to recognized groups.

Students interested in establishing a similar club or organization at a later time must follow the normal new club eligibility requirements as listed previously.


▼Important Contacts

Jenn Craig

Director of Student Activities & SGA Advsior

Jennifer.Craig@mcla.edu

Campus Center 318

Amanda Schuler

SGA Office Manager

Amanda.Schuler@mcla.edu

Campus Center 216

Natty Burford

Assistant Director of Student Activities & Programming

Natty.Burford@mcla.edu

Elizabeth (Betty) LeSage

Aramark Food/Catering Services

Elizabeth.LeSage@mcla.edu

Aaron Bieniek

MCLA Media Services (M114)

413-662-5328

A.Bieniek@mcla.edu


▼Club/Organization Advisor

The advisor must be a member of the faculty, staff or the administration and they will serve as a liaison between the college and the club or organization. It is important to keep in mind that an advisor’s role is to advise, not to lead the club or organization. They are to assist the club or organization with things such as budget maintenance, creating/amending the constitution, planning programs, running meetings or solving any problems that may come up. Additionally, advisors can provide new members with the history and background of the club or organization. From year to year, often semester to semester, clubs and organizations experience some type of membership turnover. Advisors have knowledge as to why the club was founded, what its guiding principles are, as well as any traditions the club may have and can pass that along to new members. An advisor can have a very positive effect of the success of a club or organization, and because of that, members of the club or organization need to take the time to seek out the appropriate advisor.

Choosing Your Advisor

When deciding who should serve as the advisor, there are a number of factors that should be considered:

1. Their Connection to the Club or Organization

 ○ How much knowledge do they have about the club or organization and its purpose?


 ○ Are they interested in what the club or organization represents?

 ○ How much knowledge do they have about the subject of the club or organization?

2. Their Level of Availability

 ○ Do they have the time to devote to the club or organization?

 ○ How willing are they to attend meetings or programs held in the evenings or on the weekends?

3. Their Interest in Being an Advisor


 ○ How much do they want to serve as an advisor?


 ○ What experiences do they have that will make them an effective advisor?

It is important that there be open and clear communication between the advisor and the club or organization. Out of that communication should develop a relationship based on trust and respect. The advisor must be able to depend on the club or organization to act professionally and responsibly and the club or organization should be able to rely on the advisor for advice and opinions. When searching for an advisor it is very important to keep all these things in mind.

The Role of the Advisor

The advisor plays an important role within the organization. During the initial stages of the advisor/organization relationship it is very important that expectations are discussed and that the role the advisor is going to play within the organization is decided upon. If changes take place during the course of the year, either on the part of the advisor, or the group, the role may need to be renegotiated and redefined.

See Role of the Advisor Worksheet that club members may want to use when working with their advisor. This form is designed to help members of the group and the advisor discuss the various roles the advisor may have. By ranking the different expectations of an advisor, members can arrive at a clear and agreed upon role of the advisor.

Once an agreement has been reached between the advisor and the group it may be helpful to put that agreement in writing. "Here is an example of an advisor’s contract that may be used". If ever a problem arises, this contract can be referred back to help answer any questions. If a written contract is used, the advisor should be given a copy and one should be kept with other club or organization files.

Each club or organization will use their advisor differently depending on their expectations and needs, but there are some minimum expectations that each group should have. Click here for a list of The Expectations and Responsibilities of the Advisor.

Member Responsibility

Clubs and organizations play an important role in the advisor/groups relationship. Members need to supply their advisor with all the information they need in order to be successful. Just as clubs and organizations should be able to rely on their advisor, the advisor should be able to rely on the group. The following are ways that clubs and organizations can help their advisor.

○ Provide the advisor with information about the club’s activities and structure (if the advisor is new)


○ Inform the advisor of meeting times

○ Keep the advisor updated on the club’s financial situation


○ Bring the club’s plans and problems to the advisor’s attention


○ Make use of the advisor’s background and knowledge


○ Invite the advisor to activities


○ Make the advisor feel welcome and a part of the group


○ Show appreciation for the advisor’s services

○ Distribute the minutes of all meetings and other club or organization materials (constitution,
rosters, etc.)


○ Be willing to discuss any dissatisfaction members have with the advisor

There may be times when the relationship between the group and advisor simply is not working. If, after attempts have been made to resolve the conflict and the situation has not changed, the Coordinating Vice-President should be contacted so that they may help. Sometimes the problem may be a simple communication issue that can be solved easily. Other times it may not be able to be fixed. In those cases, a new advisor may need to be found and the Coordinating Vice-President can assist in that process.

There are no set definitions of expectations, rules or blue prints to a successful advisor. A good advisor is an advocate, challenger, counselor, educator, encourager, historian, listener, problem solver, supporter and role model. Each advisor’s style will depend on the person and the club or organization. Communication between each is essential for a successful relationship.


▼Van Training/Vehicle Rental

Contact the SGA Office Manager for MCLA van reservations. Please note that the College has a limited number of vans available for clubs and organizations to use so plan ahead. All Travel Forms (See Travel Policy below) MUST be filled out for any/all van reservations.

When MCLA vans are unavailable SGA recommends "Enterprise Rent-A-Car." In order to do this the SGA Office Manager must be contacted and they will work with the rental agency. No club or organization should rent any vehicle on their own. Any club or organization that does rent a vehicle on their own will be responsible for all costs and will not be reimbursed.

Procedure for MCLA Van Reservations:

1. Anyone driving the vehicles must be certified through Public Safety. Anyone not driver -certified through Public Safety will be unable to use the vehicles. To become Van Certified you must be 20 years of age and have a minimum of two years driving experience. In addition, you must complete an “orientation” program as well as conduct a “road test. Contact Public Safety for more information concerning the training sessions.

2. Vehicle requests and reservations for all clubs or organizations must be approved by and go through SGA.

3. A Travel Requisition Form must be filled out for all vehicle use, regardless of where you are traveling. A roster of participants should be included on the SGA approval form to be submitted to Public Safety at the latest by the day before the event along with a typed itinerary.

4. Keys must be picked up and returned to the Public Safety Office, along with the approval form issued by SGA.

5. All drivers must show a valid driver’s license before he/she is given the keys to the van.

6. Every driver is issued a pin number for gas purchases only. Students charging non-gas items will be responsible for those charges, face disciplinary hearings and may forfeit future vehicle use.

7. Each driver is required to fill out and turn into Public Safety at the return of their trip, a Vehicle Mileage Form


MCLA & SGA Policies

▼Fundraising

- Any club or organization on campus must receive approval to fundraise prior to the event.

- Applications are available and submitted in the Student Development Office, Campus Center 310.

- Fundraising includes, but is not limited to the sale of:

○Tshirts and other articles of clothing

○Glasses/ Cups

○Flowers

○Food items

○Raffle tickets*

*If a club or organization decides to hold a raffle, after receiving approval, they must provide a date of winner selection and the process that winner will be chosen. In addition, the winner must be announced once chosen and sign a form stating they received what they won.


▼Advertising/Posting Policy

Advertising Requirements

○ All posters, flyers, table tents, and banners must be approved by the Student Development Office (Campus Center 310) prior to being displayed.

○ Approved materials will receive a stamp highlighting an expiration date. Any type of publicity that is put up around campus without a stamp from the Student Development Office will be removed.

○ Once approved, staff from Student Development will post the flyers throughout the campus in buildings including the Campus Center, Murdock Hall, Bowman Hall and Mark Hopkins. RPS will post in Berkshire Towers, Hoosac Hall, and the Flagg Townhouses.

○ Stamped advertising materials may only be placed in these specific campus areas and bulletin boards. If they are in any other areas, they will be removed unless previous arrangements have been made with the Student Development Office.

○ Each official college bulletin board may have one flyer/poster per specific event, like a dance or meeting, posted.

○ Bulletin Boards within classrooms are not available for general posting.

○ Banner space in the Campus Center may be used on a first come/first serve basis by filling out an "event scheduling form" in Student Development. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to remove banners within 24 hours following the event. Banners may not be larger than 5 ft. x 8 ft.

*To have a flyer/poster on the Campus Center monitors, please email a jpeg formatted copy to the Student Development email on Outlook 365.

Time Frame

○ Advertising materials are allowed to be hung up for a maximum of three weeks.

○ Monthly activity calendars or activities occurring on a weekly basis throughout the semester may be allotted a one month posting maximum time frame.

○ Materials may be resubmitted for re-posting if desired.

○ Other long term flyers may have the posting time extended with the approval of the Student Development Office.

Copying/ Distribution

○ Student Development needs 19 copies of size (81/2 X11) flyers to post in the general campus buildings.

○ Residential Programs and Services in Townhouse 89 will take either 36 copies of (81/2 X11) or 28 copies of (11X17). Once approved, flyers will be distributed to the Residence Directors who will then pass the flyers on to the Resident Advisors in the RPS buildings to post.

○ The Student Development Office and RPS will not make copies of any flyers/posters.

Options and Procedures for Using the Copy Center

Black and White Copies:

○ There is no charge for black and white copies.

○ Clubs can send or bring one copy of the advertising material to either the SGA Office Manager Amanda Schuler, Director of Student Activities & SGA Advisor Jenn Craig, or the Assistant Director of Student Activities Natty Burford for approval.

○ Once copies are approved, a copy request form or email must be sent to the copy center with the flyer/poster. The copy center will not process any copies without a signed request form or email approval from those listed above.

○ Once copied, all posters/flyers must follow the previous guidelines for posting.



Color Copies:

○ Color copies are .20 cents per copy.

○ Clubs can send or bring one copy of the advertising material to the SGA Office Manager Amanda Schuler only for approval.

○ Once copies are approved, a copy request form or email must be sent to the copy center with the flyer/poster. The copy center will not process any copies without a signed request form or email approval from the SGA Office Manger.

○ Chargeback forms may be processed through Amanda Schuler for those clubs or organizations that do frequent color copying.

○ Once copied, all posters/flyers must follow the previous guidelines for posting.


▼Postage

All mail for each club or organization should be directed through SGA.  Unauthorized mail will not be forwarded unless a stamp is affixed.


▼Travel

In order for a club or organization to travel they must complete three items 3-4 weeks prior.

1. Student Travel Form

2. Travel Requisition Form

3. Itinerary (can be created on your own in a word document)

Each trip is evaluated on the following criteria:

○ Timing of travel: season, dates, day of the week and time of day

○ Length of driving time without breaks: 3.5 hours maximum without a break

○ Number of campus vehicles that is reasonable for travel to one location
-Student representatives and if Advisor will be present

○ Travel requests should be submitted at least 3-4 weeks in advance of their trip date to be sure conversations that are needed for each request can  be had prior to approval

Large Group Travel:

Maximum vehicle approval is 3 college vans per destination. Only trips within a 10-15 mile radius may be approved for use of up to 4 vans if available. Must have specific circumstances for this type of travel. Usually permitted in trips of an average 55-mile radius, if more than 24 students traveling. Bus rental is encouraged and often required.

Trip Advisors

Though every trip encourages an advisor to be present it is not always required. A club advisor or a sanctioned “trip advisor” will be noted on each travel form.

Trips that may need an advisor present include those that are:

○ Traveling past a 55-mile radius

○ Traveling out of state

○ Traveling overnight

○ Attending a conference

○ Attending an event at a venue that might serve alcohol to 21+ (i.e. Hockey, Baseball, Basketball games, etc.)

○ Using rental vehicles away from the campus for more than 12 hours

○ Traveling to a destination where potential dangerous or very physical activity is taking place such as skiing, night hiking, rock climbing, or other outdoor/indoor activities

Other Important Notes:

○ Other factors may be noted based on details of request.

○ Clubs can do overnight trips as long as they have advisors present.

○ If you are traveling greater than 200 miles, you will be billed mileage for van use.

○ During Basketball Season it will be challenging to get vans and van drivers.

PLAN AHEAD IF YOU ARE PAYING VAN DRIVERS - All drivers need to be hired through the Human Resource hiring management process. Drivers will not be paid if policy is not followed. See the SGA Office Manager for details.