Start a Student Organization | College of Information Sciences and Technology
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Start a Student Organization

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IST student organizations are those whose mission, programs, and membership are intended primarily to enhance the co-curricular experience of IST students. All IST student organizations are first recognized through Penn State's Office of Student Activities. Students interested in creating a new IST student organization should work with the college's Office of Student Engagement to complete all necessary requirements. Students interested in starting a new IST student organization should take the following steps:

1. Develop an organization concept

A new student organization should fill a gap in IST's student engagement community; not compete with existing student organizations. Before pursuing your idea for a new group, review the current IST student organizations. If there is an opportunity for a new student organization, prepare a concept to share with a staff or faculty member who may serve as your adviser.

2. Submit the online form to IST's Office of Student Engagement

Upon submitting an entry to the New IST Student Organization form, you will be contacted by IST's Office of Student Engagement to schedule a meeting. This meeting will provide you more instruction and direction in creating your student organization. Its purpose is to prepare all requirements for both Penn State’s Office of Student Activities and the College of IST’s Office of Student Engagement. While you are waiting to meet, you should continue preparing the student organization requirements.

3. Secure a faculty/staff adviser

Your adviser should be a Penn State faculty or staff member who is knowledgeable about the subject matter of your student organization. Ask IST faculty and staff who they think may be a suitable candidate for your adviser. Approach a potential adviser with your ideas about your organization and its purpose before you ask them if they would be willing to take on the responsibility. If your first request is denied, keep searching and speaking with faculty and staff.

4. Recruit a minimum of 10 University Park student members

Every student organization requires a minimum of 10 student members who are enrolled at University Park. This includes the required officers. Recruit your classmates, friends, and other interested students for membership to your new student organization.

It is to your strategic benefit to recruit students of all class years and with a variety of skills. The older and more experienced members can pass down their knowledge to newer members. It is necessary to have members who are early in their academic careers that will take on leadership roles when officers graduate and leave the organization. Student organizations without these younger members do not last long as a group.

5. Appoint or elect officers to your organization

Every student organization requires a minimum of three officers: a President, Vice President, and Treasurer. You are welcome to establish additional officer positions. Convening officers may be appointed, but elections of inaugural members are recommended.

6. Complete recognition process through Penn State’s Office of Student Activities

Penn State’s Office of Student Activities recognizes all Penn State student organizations. The College of IST’s Assistant Director of Student Engagement will support the student’s submission of recognition to the Office of Student Activities. The requirements from the Office of Student Activities is available on their website and will be reviewed during the consultation meeting.