University offers hundreds of RSOs, though it could always use more
August 19, 2020
Staying active and involved on campus is one of the many important aspects of your college experience. RSOs, short for registered student organizations, are one of the ways to find people with common interests, learn new hobbies, contribute to the Champaign-Urbana community or just fill some free time. The University has over 1,800 RSOs on campus, though there is always room for more if the thing you’re looking for somehow doesn’t exist yet. Here are some of the procedures and tips for starting your own RSO on campus.
Find people with a common interest
Per University requirements, the group must consist of at least five individuals, who can be Illinois students, faculty, staff and their spouses. With such a large student population, finding a mere five people with a shared interest should be relatively easy and simple. Using social media or other means of communication make this task achievable in a short period of time, as long as your sales pitch is effective.
Think of a creative group name
You want to stand out, don’t you? Finding a name for your group might be the most important step in the process of becoming an RSO, as it needs to encapsulate the purpose and rationale behind the group’s existence while also being catchy and easy to remember. The University states names for organizations can “not be in conflict with an existing Registered Organization, not be the same as a nationally registered organization or society unless it is a local chapter of that organization, not be an acronym only, not include the words ‘University,’ ‘University of Illinois,’ or any abbreviations thereof except in the form ‘at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’ which may follow the organization’s particular name and be in good taste.”
Create a constitution and designate group roles
Writing out all of the rules and procedures of the group is an important step toward becoming a serious organization. This will allow the group to have a clear and smooth structure, which helps avoid any conflicts or problems within the group. The school also requires groups to comply with federal and state nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws, which should also be featured in the group’s constitution. The group also needs a hierarchy and positions, which should clearly be stated in the group’s rules.
Share information about your group
Use social media or post fliers around campus to spread the message about your group. Getting your message across to thousands of students may be difficult, though there are Facebook pages and other social media groups that consist of thousands of students, which may be the easiest way to spread and share information about your group.
Schedule meeting times on a consistent basis
Everyone likes consistency. Create a scheduled meeting time, at the same time every week, every month or however often you choose to meet. Having a standard meeting time makes it much easier for students to block off a chunk of time to devote to the group, which allows the group to achieve and maintain membership participation and attendance.
Look for funding from various sources
Decide on a membership fee or some other way to fund the group’s existence. Apply for funding for sponsored programs from the Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF) or the Student Cultural Programming Fee (SCPF).
For more information regarding registering your group, visit: union.illinois.edu/get-involved/office-of-registered-organizations/registering-finances-reservations