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Start or Renew a Student Organization

Doane is home to numerous student organizations, each with its own distinct mission, culture, and purposes. All of these organizations provide important experiences and skills to their members and enhance the student experience and campus culture. 

Starting a college club is a great way to make friends who share similar interests.

You can develop leadership, communication, marketing, and fundraising skills.

Learn about the different types of clubs and which ones may appeal to you.

Following this eight-step process can get your student organization up and running.

Joining a club in college can be a great way to get involved on campus, meet people, explore different interests, and learn about group dynamics. It can also be fun and help reduce the stress of late study nights and heavy academic workloads.

But what if you've attended Doane’s Club Craze club fair and looked through the official directory and nothing piques your interest? Every organization started with someone who saw a need and filled it by creating their own club.

New and continuing student organizations must be recognized on an annual basis per Doane's Student Handbook.

Why Should You Start Your Own Club in College?

Starting your club can be one of the main highlights when you look back on your college experience. In some ways, it's a little like starting a business. It involves finding mentors, registering your organization, building a budget, fundraising, and recruiting members.

You start with an idea and then, through planning and research, take the necessary steps to make it happen. In the process, you may also learn a little bit more about yourself, your strengths, and your ability to take one action at a time until you reach your goal.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of starting a Student Organization:

  • Make friends and meet like-minded individuals who share similar interests
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Cultivate a professional network
  • Improve your communication skills and your ability to engage with others
  • Learn about marketing, budgeting, and time management
  • Add experience to your resume

What Types of College Clubs Are There?

There are many kinds of student clubs you can create in college. Here are some of the most popular types.

Academic Clubs: Academic clubs are usually geared toward your area of study. These may include just about any major, like accounting, history, marketing, and graphic design clubs. These organizations can bolster your professional network and connect you with leaders in your field.

Community Service Clubs: These clubs are for students who want to make a difference in their community, in their city, or even globally. A few examples include clubs focused on environmental sustainability, ending hunger, and animal rights.

Media and publication Clubs: If you're an aspiring journalist, photographer, or radio broadcaster, this type of club may be for you. Media and publication clubs may give you experience publishing the campus newspaper, developing a website, or producing a campus broadcast via radio or television.

Political and Multicultural Clubs: These clubs bring people together who have a similar background or political view. For international students, coming together with others from your area can offer a sense of home. A political club may give you the chance to connect with influencers and party leaders.

Recreation and Sports Clubs: Sports clubs offer a great way to connect with others while engaging in activities you enjoy. You may lean toward intramural sports or find interest in more esoteric clubs, like Quidditch and parkour. Some clubs compete locally and statewide.

Spiritual and Religious Clubs: Whatever your faith or religion, there is likely a campus club that aligns with your beliefs. Students meet for regular fellowship and support, whether Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, or another faith-based group.

Below are the steps for starting a new student organization. Renew here.

Step One: Learn the Rules

The students and advisor should become familiar with the Student Leader Handbook. These resources serve as guides for student organizations on campus and can be found in the online Student Organization Toolkit.  More details regarding Student Organizations and Activities can be found in the Office Doane Student Handbook. 

Step Two: Collect Your People

After you are familiar with the policies and resources for student organizations, the next step is to collect the following people for your roster. These are the minimums that your organization needs at all times:

  • One student to be President or other Lead Executive Officer.
  • One additional student to be the Treasurer or Lead Financial Officer.
  • Three additional students to be members.
  • One Doane University faculty or staff member (no graduate students) to serve as an advisor for the organization.
  • Remember, only current students can be members.
Step Three: Set up a Meeting with the Office of Campus Engagement 

All organization exec members and advisors must meet with one of our directors of Campus Engagement to go over guidelines and basic training to get started. Spencer Munson -

Step Four: Complete Advisor Agreement

Each advisor your organization will have, normally only one, will need to complete the Advisor Agreement which can be found in the Student Leader Handbook.

Step Five: Construct Your Governing Documents

All organizations are required to have and follow at least one form of governing document such as a set of bylaws. This provides your organization basic structure and rules. A template set of bylaws can be found in the resource library. There is an example in the Student Leader Handbook

Step Six: Get Governing Documents Approved

Once your governing documents are constructed and you have collected all the above information, they must be approved by the Doane Student Congress and by The Office of Student Affairs. You can submit your documents through the Student Organization Registration Form found on the Doane website. This form is our way of ensuring you meet all the requirements. Do not apply until all above steps are complete or your application may be denied.

Step Seven: Decision

Once the registration form is submitted, our staff will review it and the person who submitted it will receive an automated email confirming the registration form was approved or or denied with comments for revisions.

Step Eight: Hold Your First Meeting and Spread the Word

Now that your club is up and running, it's time to hold your first meeting! Think about ways to make this meeting an experience that attendees will want to share with their friends. Most members join clubs to meet others, so consider starting with an ice breaker.  With the first meeting under your belt, you'll gain confidence, which can help you feel motivated to get the word out. You can raise awareness about your group through social media and by posting flyers. Remember, it takes time to build a club. Start with a solid base and grow from there. Lots of great tips in the Student Leader Handbook.

Grow and Strengthening your Organization

Attend Various Training Sessions

The Division of Student Affairs will host a number of student organization training sessions throughout the year.  Please make sure an officer and a member are in attendance for each of these sessions to maintain a good standing with the University. 

Facilitate effective transitions amongst officers from year to year

Keep your organization strong by hosting transition meetings that allow for each position to pass on relevant information and documents, as well as tips, ideas, and goals.

Invest in Professional Development

Explore opportunities to grow by investing in professional development opportunities. 

Go above and beyond at your meetings.

Think outside of the box when it comes to meetings and activities. Instead of trying to follow what you think is typical meeting proceedings, create an entirely unique meeting style for your members. Invite speakers from the community, hold mini competitions amongst your members to create camaraderie, or even theme your meetings!