Starting a New Student Organization

Starting a new student organization is a wonderful way to add to the diverse UM community. Registering with the Committee on Student Organizations grants a group many privileges.

Student organizations registered with COSO are permitted to:

  • Promote themselves at COSO events such as Canefest, the Spring Involvement Fair, and other leadership programs and initiatives;
  • Apply for annual awards through the Student Organization Awards and Recognition(SOAR) Awards Ceremony;
  • Reserve meeting/event space in the Student Center Complex (Whitten University Center and Shalala Student Center) and use designated equipment (A/V, tables, etc.) at no charge;
  • Access Engage and maintain an organization portal;
  • Apply for office and/or storage space in the Student Center Complex through the Student Center Complex Advisory Council’s application process;
  • Request SAFAC funding in accordance with stated SAFAC policies and procedures;
  • Utilize University accounts to manage organization finances;
  • Advertise programs and events on the digital signage located throughout the Shalala Student Center Complex;
  • Gain access to resources and workshops provided by COSO and the Student Activities and Student Organization (SASO) office;
  • Receive advertising discounts in The Miami Hurricane newspaper;
  • Market your organization in Ibis Newspaper’s “Get Involved” section;
  • Use the Student Organization ListServ to promote events;
  • Access co-sponsorship funding from Student Activities and Student Organizations (SASO), Student Government (SG), and other organizations and departments on campus; and
  • Attend leadership development workshops to enhance leadership skills.

Creating a New Student Organization (NSO)

Students interested in creating a new student organization are required to complete the New Student Organization Interest Packet located on Engage. Neither first semester nor graduating students are eligible to complete the new organization registration process. New organizations must not duplicate the guiding principles/purpose of an existing organization and must have at least 25 undergraduate students interested in having the organization on campus. New organizations must have a plan for sustainability and longevity including long term goals beyond the timeline of founding or existing members at the University. Organizations may not be formed around issues that are inherently short-term; for example, organizations to support a specific political candidate in an election or a one-time event. In addition, any proposed new student organization must not duplicate the guiding principles or purpose of an existing organization and must fill a need on campus not already met by an existing organization.

The length of the NSO process depends on the organization’s circumstances with any additional appeals lengthening the initial timeframe. While this is a brief explanation of the NSO process, a complete description can be found under COSO Guidelines.

The Senior Vice President for Students Affairs, or their designee, reserves the right to use their sole discretion to refuse to register any student organization or proposed student organization if the values, missions, goals, objectives, affiliations, purposes, activities, or conduct of the student organization or proposed student organization are inconsistent with the values and missions of the University and/or may cause a disruption, or cause danger to the health and safety of others, or cause violence. 

Step 1: Interest Packet

The first step in the NSO process is the New Student Organization Interest Packet which is found exclusively on COSO’s Engage portal under the forms tab. This packet is not available year-round and is only open for a limited time in the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. This packet requires a precise description of the organization’s goals, purpose, and guiding principles as well as its need to be an organization on campus. The organization must answer how it is meeting a need on campus that is not already being met, why they are seeking recognition from COSO to become an organization, and any details that further provide insight into the organization and how it is different from other existing groups. In addition, the following documents must be completed, scanned and uploaded upon submission in order for the interest form to be reviewed in its entirety:

The packet must also include information about the prospective undergraduate president, treasurer, third executive board position of their choosing, and full-time faculty or staff advisor. It is important to note that there are restrictions regarding the eligibility of students submitting an interest packet to COSO.Non-seniors (i.e. students graduating within the academic semester) and students who have completed at least one semester at UM are eligible to complete the new student organization process. First year students, including transfer students, are ineligible to submit a new student organization interest packet during their first semester.

The proper submission of this Interest Packet will yield reviewal by the COSO Committee. Incomplete submission without any one of the aforementioned external documents will result in denial. Once reviewed by the COSO Committee, a COSO delegate will send an email to the proposed organization’s officers notifying a decision. Once the Interest packet is approved, the organization can move on to the next step of the NSO process.

Step 2: Pitch Presentation

Approval of the Interest Packet/Interest Packet appeal allows the organization to have the opportunity to pitch to the COSO Committee. The pitch presentation allows two of the three listed officers to describe their organization for 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes of questioning by the COSO Committee. Presenters are recommended to discuss key aspects of the organization which include but are not limited to its purpose, principles, events, and ability to fill a need not met on campus. If the Pitch presentation is approved by the COSO Committee, the organization will be assigned its own COSO delegate who will oversee the NSO process for that specific organization and will assist the group in finalizing a constitution. 

Step 3: Finalized Constitution 

Following approval of the pitch presentation, the organization must submit a draft of their constitution. The student organization constitution is meant to be each organization’s own set of guidelines where they specify what their guiding principles and objectives are, which aids in a student organization’s longevity and organization. The pitch approval email may include initial feedback and/or suggestions about the sample constitution uploaded with the interest packet. Once submitted, the draft constitution will be reviewed by the COSO Committee. Approval of the constitution permits the organization to the next step of the NSO process.

Step 4: Orientations

Following final approval, executive board members and the advisor(s) of the new organization are required to attend New Student Organization Orientation sessions. The Treasurer must meet with a SAFAC liaison and the advisor must complete the Advisor Orientation through Student Activities & Student Organizations Engage portal. After these two orientations are completed, the president must meet with their COSO liaison to complete the COSO orientation and set up the organization’s Engage portal. A student organization is COSO registered when they receive an approval letter at the completion of the new student organization process.

Violations of these policies may jeopardize the organization’s standing with COSO and could prevent the group from receiving funding from SAFAC. 

New Student Organization Process Part 1 & 2 Summarized

 Phase 1 

Phase 2