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 Rumble on the Green;
  • Apply for annual awards through the Student Organization Awards and Recognition program
  • 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 Department of Student Activities and Student Organization (SASO)
  • Receive advertising discounts in The Miami Hurricane newspaper


The new student organization (NSO) process is divided into phase I and phase II. Phase I consolidates the submission of the NSO Interest Packet and pitch presentation whereas Phase II encapsulates the development of the organization’s constitution, required orientations, and Engage portal setup. 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 here in the COSO guidelines.


Phase I


Step 1: New Student Organization 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: New Member Interest FormConstitution Draft , Advisor Agreement, and Affiliation Letter. 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. Approval of the pitch presentation permits the proposed organization to move onto Phase II of the NSO process.


A flow chart of Phase I of the NSO process is posted below:

 Phase 1


Phase II


Step 3: Constitution Submission


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


Approval of the constitution allows the organization to move on to the final orientations step of the NSO process. The proposed president, treasurer, and advisor must each undergo individual orientation trainings. The president must attend the NSO Orientation with the organization’s assigned COSO Delegate. This orientation will focus on the benefits of COSO recognition, the basics of Engage, and the requirements to remain an active organization. During this orientation, the COSO delegate will create an Engage portal for new organization and give the executive board access. The Treasurer must attend the mandatory SAFAC Treasurer training with a SAFAC delegate to review policies, procedures, and resources. The advisor must attend an advisor session with the Department of Student Activities & Student Organizations. Once all the necessary orientations are completed and the Engage portal is complete, the president, treasurer, and third executive body member will receive the approval letter for their new student organization. This document certifies that they are an official COSO approved organization and marks the end of the NSO process.


A flowchart of phase II is below:


Phase 2