Welcome! This page will guide you through the process of forming a new medical student organization at the Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine in Hershey. Forming a group can be a challenging, but very rewarding process. To ensure success, the Office of Student Affairs has designed a process that will help your group form a solid foundation so that your organization can succeed and provide valuable experiences for your fellow students.
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For New Groups
There are many positive benefits associated with being a recognized group on campus, including use of the Penn State name, ability to reserve space, and take advantage of the services offered through the Office of Student Affairs. There are also several responsibilities associated with being a recognized group, including abiding by Policies & Rules for Student Organizations, updating officer information whenever there is a change, and renewing your recognition status at the beginning of every Fall semester.
When starting a new student organization, there are several questions to consider:
- First, is there another group on campus that exists that meets the interests you’re looking for in a student organization?
- Would you be able to recruit a minimum of ten members for the group?
- Do you have the time to work on all of the requirements and/or are others helping you?
The staff in the Office of Student Affairs is available to help you answer these questions and provide you with assistance in forming your group.
There are several requirements to become a recognized student organization at the Penn State College of Medicine.
- Complete the Intent to Organize form
- Once this form is completed, the group will be issued provisional recognition that will last 60 academic days from the date the form is returned. During this time, the group must complete the following to receive recognition status:
- Create a constitution (see sample constitution)
- Recruit a minimum of ten members (must be registered Penn State College of Medicine students)
- Submit your constitution, mission statement and member list to HSPA and the Office of Student Affairs
- Secure a University faculty or staff advisor
- Complete an Officer Report Form
- Complete an Advisor Approval Form
- Attend one of the Student Assembly meetings (dates will be posted on the Student Assembly website)
- Once the group returns these materials and an officer has attended a Student Assembly meeting, they will be reviewed by the Office of Student Affairs and the Medical Student Assembly and the groups will be notified within 2 weeks of completing the requirements. A student organization wishing to form can be denied recognition status for the following reasons:
- The purpose, mission, and/or activities violate federal, state, and/or local laws
- The purpose, mission, and/or activities violate the Penn State Code of Conduct, University Policies and Rules, Policies and
Procedures for Student Organizations, or other University policies and procedures
- The criteria to establish a group are not completed and sustained as above
- The group duplicates the purpose of an existing recognized group, except in the case of a religious or political organization
Should you have any questions or need any assistance throughout this process, please contact our office.
- Academic/Professional: Groups that provide an opportunity to discuss and share information related to a specific specialty and/or medical career.
- Honor Societies: Groups that recognize superior academic achievement and leadership qualities and are usually based on professions and/or academic programs.
- International/Multicultural: Groups that provide an opportunity to increase campus understanding of a specific nation and/or culture(s), provide students with an avenue to explore and celebrate their own cultural heritage and provide programs and services designed to support students of various cultural heritages at PSCOM.
- Media/Publication: Groups that provide opportunities for members to gain hands on experience through various means, including TV, radio, and print.
- Music/Performing Arts: Groups that provide opportunities for involvement and exposure to the performing arts (music, dance, theater).
- National/Regional/State Association Affiliate: Groups that provide opportunities for members to represent a national/regional/state association at PSCOM.
- Other: Groups that do not fit into any of the listed categories (please provide a short paragraph describing why).
- Philanthropic: Groups that seek to raise funds and/or support for a particular charity or cause.
- Political: Groups that provide a forum of support and debate involving political parties, political issues and candidates seeking office.
- Religious/Spiritual: Groups representing diverse faith communities and belief systems who observe and follow religious and/or spiritual practices and traditions. These groups offer fellowship and outreach through a variety of programs, activities and services as well as provide resources and support for students seeking spiritual wellness.
- Service: Groups that function mainly to provide service to the campus and/or community and surrounding areas. Special Interest: groups that provide communities for students to discuss and share information about specific topics and common interests not covered in any other category.
- Sport/Physical Activity: Groups that provide opportunities for participation in recreational and/or competitive sports teams.
- Student Council/Governance: Groups that serve as student councils within the medical student body.
- Temporary: groups that will exist for a specific period of time or have a specific purpose that has a definite timeline (examples would include class projects, political campaigns, etc.)
- University Affiliate: Groups that are created and supported by University departments at the University Park Campus.
The constitution is the heart of your organization. It provides the structure by which your group will function, and it secures a professional operation environment that the Penn State College of Medicine prides itself upon. All student organizations recognized by the Office of Student Affairs and the Medical Student Assembly must include at least eleven (11) specific articles in their constitutions. Within these articles are certain statements that must be included with that article. You are not limited, however, to just these stipulations. You are free to personalize your organization’s constitution to suit your specific needs.
The required articles and statements, and what they mean, are delineated below. A sample constitution, including the required articles and the most common way of organizing them, can aid you in the application process.
- All information must be centered.
- State the full name of the organization, and its acronym, if applicable.
- 3. Under the name, state the original date that organization first met on the confines of the Penn State College of Medicine Campus.
Any statements that must be included in the constitution in some fashion will be prefaced by the word “state” in boldface or text will be in boldface.
There are 11 required articles, which are outlined below. There are also two articles (Articles XII and XIII), that are required in some situations, as specified.
- Clearly state the purpose of the organization. This is the singular most significant part of the document, as it is the mission statement of the organization. No organizations with duplicate or highly similar purposes of those existing organizations will be considered for registration.
- State the purpose in sentences, or by using numbers or bullets.
- If your organization is a medical student organization, state that the majority of your active members must be medical students. Similarly, if your organization is composed of medical students, graduate students, nursing students and/or physician assistant students (an interprofessional organization), state the composition of your organization.
- State that only currently registered students are eligible for active membership,
- If applicable, additional categories of membership (such as Associate, Honorary, Alumni, etc.) must be outlined in this section. You are required to include an additional membership category if your organization accepts members that are faculty, staff, and/or community members.
- State that there must be at least 10 active student members at all times.
- State that only active members may vote, preside, officiate, or solicit funding on the organization’s behalf.
- New membership and recruitment
- Any and all new members will be given full disclosure during recruitment, including but not limited to the disclosure of:
- Organizational documents (Constitution, Bylaws, Manuals, etc.)
- Organization events and activities
- A list of responsibilities of members
- A copy of the University Hazing policy, prescribed by Policies and Rules for Student Organizations.
- All members, including but not limited to new members and recruits, reserve the right to refrain from participating in any activities without consequence, based upon personal/religious beliefs, personal values, or moral reserve as defined by the member.
- Any and all interaction/activity between members and/or new members will be limited to guidelines stated by university policy, as well as local, state, and federal laws.
- Any and all new members will be given full disclosure during recruitment, including but not limited to the disclosure of:
- Membership removal
- Please draft a “Membership Removal Policy” subsection within the Membership section that you feel is appropriate for expelling members from your organization. Please be sure to include reasonable guidelines for what is a condition for expulsion.
- Example: The club reserves the right to expel a member who is not following the policies of the organization with a supermajority of attending members — quorum is 75% of active members.
- Mediation procedures
- Please draft a “Mediation Procedures Article” that you feel is appropriate for addressing any possible violation of constitutional policies.
- Example: In the case of violations of constitutional policies and/or a conflict between members within the organization the highest ranking officer that is not involved in the conflict, with the assistance from the advisor (if applicable), will facilitate an informal mediation procedure.
- The mediator shall:
- Arrange for a mediation meeting outside of the regular organization business meeting
- Explain their role as the impartial party and the objectives of the mediation
- Set ground rules
- Allow each party to express their views by allowing the conversation to go where the parties wish it to go
- Collect any available resources that might assist in the resolution (financial documents, emails, photos, etc,)
- As a third party, do not suggest resolutions, but rather leave the responsibility for the resolution with the parties involved
- Facilitate goal setting to reach a win-win resolution
- The mediator shall:
- State that medical student candidates must be full-time, officially registered active student members to be selected as officers in your organization at the time of the appointment or election. Student organizations may establish and apply additional eligibility criteria for appointed or elected leaders/officers.
- State all officers, elected or appointed, and their appropriate duties and powers. If officers form the executive committees, an odd number of officers is recommended. Avoid shared offices.
- State the procedures that will be followed to fill unexpired vacancies. These include the meeting at which nominations and elections will take place (if applicable), the process by which a candidate will be nominated, etc. (this statement can be included in the Officers section or the Elections section)
- You must have an officer responsible for your organization funds. This officer will be the only active member (outside of the organization President) with access to your account held in the Office of Student Affairs, and will most likely be your treasurer.
- State the frequency of meetings. At least two meetings per semester are required in order to maintain active status with PSCOM.
- State how, and by what body, the frequency of the meetings may be decided or changed.
- State under what circumstances, and by whom, a special meeting may be called.
- State how, when and by whom members would be notified of regular and special meetings.
- State that adequate advanced notice must be given to all members.
- State what will constitute a quorum. Different quorums may be used for voting, elections, amendments and other items. If you wish to require different quorums for different voting events, they must be specified.
- State what shall constitute a majority; likewise if different types of majorities will be required for different voting events, they must be specified.
- State that all organizational funds are to be handled exclusively through the Office of Student Affairs.
- State that the organization will not have an off-campus account.
- State whether or not the payment of dues is a necessary condition for membership. If it is, state how they will be determined. Do not specify a specific amount, and it is recommended that the amount is kept reasonable. State how often dues are to be collected.
- A dollar amount that officers can spend without approval of the membership must be specified. It is recommended that this amount is kept small.
- State the meeting at which nominations and elections will take place. State how and when these meetings will be publicized.
- State that no one involved in conducting the elections may be an official candidate.
- State the procedure for nominations and elections, along with how ties will be handled.
- State when new officers begin their terms of office. A transition period is recommended so that the new officers may learn their responsibilities, along with the organization’s business and PSCOM regulations.
- State the procedure for the introduction and passage of amendments.
- State who may propose amendments.
- State that all amendments are subject to approval by the Office of Student Affairs.
- State when the approved amendments are to take effect.
- State that a copy of the constitution will be available to anyone upon request.
- State that this organization must retain an advisor at all times.
- State that the advisor must be a full-time faculty or staff member at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and that he/she should be chosen by the organization. Do not mention a specific name.
- State the method by which your organization will select an advisor.
Do not include this section unless directed by the Office of Student Affairs
- State that no member will use any undue force in any contact activity.
- State that no member will use weapons in conjunction with your organization’s activities.
- State that all members will wear appropriate safety equipment during all activities (check Fitness Center guidelines).
- State what specific safety guidelines your organization will follow, outlining how the group will protect its members and participants (for example, the type of safety equipment will be used, what national guidelines will be followed if the group is part of a national chapter).
- State in detail the type of activities the group will be engaging in.
- State that all members are required to acknowledge ad abide by all of the above safety considerations, and to sign a participation waiver as a condition of membership.
- State that any violation of stated guidelines is grounds for immediate dismissal from your organization.
- State that these safety considerations, outlined in article XII, may be submitted to the PSCOM Department of Health and Safety for approval.
Include this if your organization’s primary recognized function involves a communication medium.
- State that your organization will maintain a board of directors.
- State that board will be comprised of faculty or staff members.
- State the method your organization will use to select board members.
- State the terms of office for board members.
For Existing Groups
If you receive donations from individuals or businesses that request a receipt for tax purposes, the donation will need to be processed through Development. Please bring all donated funds to our office and clearly indicate whether or not the donor would like to be receipted. Allow at least 72 hours processing time for the funds to show in your account. Please count and document all cash and checks prior to dropping the funds off in the Office of Student Affairs.
If the donated amount is more than $5,000 and the donor wishes to be receipted, the funds will be held for a 90-day period in Development.
As an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania State University is exempt from most federal and state taxes. As a student organization recognized by the Penn State College of Medicine and ultimately, Penn State University, most purchases can be made tax-free (PA Sales & Use Tax, PA Liquid Fuels & Fuel Use Tax, and Federal Excise Taxes). If a business requests proof of tax exemption, please request a fax number or email where we might send a copy of our tax exemption certificate.
The HSPA asks that every organization submit an End of Year Report annually by May 1. Forms are reviewed during the final meeting of the year, and used to help budget for the upcoming year and ensure continued recognition of your organization.
You can fund lunch lectures, events, etc by utilizing money that is within your organization’s funding account (centralized in the Office of Student Affairs). You can access those funds in one of three ways:
- Pay for the event using your own personal funds and be reimbursed from the account.
- You must get an itemized receipt in order to be reimbursed
- If you use a credit card, you must also submit the credit card receipt along with the itemized receipt.
- Submit the receipt to the Office of student Affairs via this form and allow two weeks time for reimbursement via check.
- Obtain a purchase order or invoice contract at least four weeks in advance
- Bring or send the PO/invoice to Christi Patrick
- Allow two weeks processing time for check
- If the event will require a more substantial amount of funding that you are uncomfortable paying for upfront with personal funds and you are unable to obtain a purchase order or an advance invoice, stop by the Office of Student Affairs and we will pay for the event utilizing a Penn State purchasing card. This is the least preferred method. We will still need an itemized receipt, so before you leave the office, be certain that we either have the receipt or are aware of when we will receive one.
- Pay for the event using your own personal funds and be reimbursed from the account.
Important Updates starting Spring 2022:
Tax: Penn State College of Medicine cannot refund any state taxes charged during your purchase. If your reimbursement receipts have a tax amount listed, this will be deducted from your total refund amount.
Amazon Purchases: Penn State University prohibits reimbursement of Amazon purchases using personal credit cards. If you request reimbursement for items you purchased on Amazon, your request will be denied. If you’d like items to be purchased from Amazon, contact Christi Patrick and she will work with you to get those items ordered.
- Browse the Activities Calendar to make sure that another lunch lecture, community service event or fundraiser is not being held during the same time slot your organization desires.
- Complete the event request form at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event/activity. Note that submitting the completed form within the appropriate time frame does not guarantee the approval of the event or facility.
- Wait for confirmation email from the HPSA secretary, who will CC Christi Patrick to schedule a room. No rooms will be reserved by emailing Christi Patrick directly.
- Advertise via class secretaries (Aubree Fairfull, Annie Moroco, Bathai Edwards, & Banan Otaibi)
You must stop by or call the Office of Student Affairs (C1802 or 531-4398) and let Christi Patrick know that you intend to use in-house catering services prior to ordering the food.
You will be able to pay for the food directly utilizing funds from your account by
- Placing the order while in the Office of Student Affairs working with Christi or Amy.
- Placing the order anywhere outside of the Office of Student Affairs and immediately notifying Amy and Christi that an order has been placed (provide the Order number, the time the order was placed, and the estimated total)
In the notes section of the e-catering form, indicate that the food and services will be paid for utilizing student funds held in the Office of Student Affairs (Christi or I will need to call and provide the budget number).
Policies and Rules
The policies and rules enumerated herein are intended, in part, to clarify the University’s relationship to RECOGNIZED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS and also are intended to reflect the institution’s concerns and interests for promoting awareness, values, and responsible behavior.
It is important to note that when persons are functioning in the capacity of members of a recognized student organization, a student group/organization and its officers may be held collectively or individually responsible for violations of the Code of Conduct. Student groups/organizations may be charged with violations of the Code of Conduct without regard to whether members of such groups/organizations are individually charged with violations arising from the same misconduct.
A position of leadership in a student group/organization entails responsibility. Student officers or leaders cannot knowingly permit or condone any violation of the Code of Conduct by the group/organization. In your role as a student leader, you have a responsibility to take action to prevent violations of the Code of Conduct, and at minimum to notify the appropriate staff/advisor if you become aware of a potential violation of the Code of Conduct.
Refer to the materials published in the student guide to general university policies and rules for more information. These policies and rules for student organizations are subject to change throughout the academic year. Administrative clarification and interpretation of policies administered by the Office of Student Affairs can be obtained by submitting a written inquiry or request to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee (Co-Curricular Programs Manager).
All recognized student organizations will be held responsible by the University for abiding by federal, state, and local laws, as well as all University regulations. The University may become involved in the off-campus conduct of recognized student organizations when such conduct is determined to affect a Substantial University Interest (as defined in the University Off-Campus Misconduct Policy).
The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated.
Attendance and participation in programs and activities which are open to all students and/or the public at large must comply with the University’s non-discrimination policies.
Membership and Officers
Only currently registered students shall be eligible for active membership status in student organizations. All other persons, including but not limited to, faculty, staff, and community members, may be admitted to associate membership.
Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time at the time of their appointment or election to be eligible to serve as appointed or elected officers within their organizations. Medical students must be enrolled full-time at the time of their appointment or election to be eligible to serve as appointed or elected officers within their organizations.
Additionally, all officers of all student organizations must be enrolled at the campus where the organization is recognized and remain a degree-seeking student for the duration of their term.
Student organization leaders/officers must be in good academic standing to retain their leadership positions. Student leaders whose academic performance has come into question will meet with the Office of Student Affairs to discuss the appropriateness of their role as a student leader. Student organizations may establish and apply additional eligibility criteria for appointed or elected leaders/officers, if the criterion does not violate the University’s non-discrimination policy.
The purpose or purposes of a student organization must not conflict with the educational functions or established policies of the University. It is incumbent upon any person presenting objections to the application for recognition or continuance of an organization to demonstrate how and in what manner the registration or continuance of that organization would conflict with the policies of the University. These concerns should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs.
The purpose and/or functions of a student organization must not duplicate those of an existing recognized student organization. This requirement, however, is not applicable to an organization with religious or political purposes and/or functions as declared in its constitution (most recently approved, on file with the Office of Student Affairs).
The Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Medical Student Assembly may rescind the recognized status of an organization upon a determination that the recognized status of an organization is no longer fulfilling the purposes and/or functions described in its constitution.
If an organization feels that a newly recognized organization duplicates its stated purpose as set forth in its constitution, it may seek a review through the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. This is accomplished by sending a letter to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee (Co-Curricular Programs Manager) explaining how another organization duplicates its stated purpose. Preference is given to the organization that has had recognized status longer, and is in good standing.
Recognized student organizations may not engage in hazing activities.
Hazing is defined as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or that willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in any recognized student organization.
Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or any other forced physical activity that could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property.
Any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in a recognized student organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
Any recognized student organization that commits hazing is subject to disciplinary action by the Office of Student Affairs.
All fundraising activities planned by students that occur in an area designated specifically for student groups and organizations must be approved by the Student Assembly. The areas designated for student fund-raising must be approved by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations, Director of Facilities, and the Director of Strategic Services in accordance with the guidelines and procedures outlined below.
We reserve the right to refuse permission to fundraise on Medical Center/College property to any group or organization that does not comply with the guidelines and regulations stated below.
A Student Organization at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine is defined as a group of students joined together in the pursuit of a common purpose that supports the mission, goals, and values of The Pennsylvania State University and the College of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs. The group will be recognized and registered as affiliated with the University as a result of complying with formal requirements established by the Student Affairs office. This includes the graduate student assembly, nursing student assembly, medical student assembly, and all student organizations that are recognized by the governing student body.
Fundraisers can only be conducted in the following pre-approved locations: in the breezeway between the cafeteria and BMR building, directly inside the BMR near the door leading to the breezeway, the back lobby of the BMR building (outside of C1805), the Courtyard (weather permitting), and the lecture room waiting areas. Groups are not authorized to reserve these areas until their fundraiser has been approved by the Student Assembly. Unapproved fundraisers in any part of the campus are prohibited.
All fundraisers must benefit an organization that directly supports the mission of Penn State Health.
There will be no sales for personal benefit or to provide patients with materials or cash goods outside of approved Penn State Hershey Medical Center programs.
All fundraisers must meet the health and safety standards of the Medical Center. Proper handling/storage of food is required.
At the end of the fundraising event, you must leave the area as you found it. If there is any damage or any cost associated with this fundraiser to Penn State property, your group will be responsible for that cost.
Marketing & Communications must approve all products and merchandise bearing Medical Center or College of Medicine (or any other Penn State Health entity) name, logo, or other graphic identifier. Marketing & Communications must also be contacted if any media will be involved with the fundraiser.
If fliers are posted on campus, you are responsible to take fliers down after your event. You are only permitted to post fliers on designated student bulletin boards. You may not tape fliers on walls, in the elevators, in restrooms, on fixtures, on doors, or existing signage.
Any College of Medicine student club organization may schedule ONE sales event during the fall semester (Aug. 1 – Dec. 31) AND ONE sale event during spring semester (Jan. 1 – May 31). An exception will be made for the Graduate Student Assembly, the Nursing Student Assembly, and each Medical School Class, who will be permitted to have a third sales event if desired due to additional financial need.
If an organization, outside of the Graduate Student Association, Nursing Student Association, and the Medical School Classes, elects to do a clothing apparel sale as a fundraiser, that fundraiser, if approved, will be their ONLY fundraiser for the year. The fundraiser will be permitted to run for a period of two weeks, after which, all marketing and promotion of the fundraiser must cease.
All fundraising requests must be submitted via the event request form at least two weeks prior to the fundraiser. Each request must follow the above guidelines and include the following information:
- Primary contact person’s name, address, and phone number (request must be submitted by a recognized student organization officer).
- Name of the group requesting the fundraiser.
- Details about the fundraising event (including date, location of fundraiser, a description of what the fundraiser is benefiting, and description of fundraiser). If you are using an outside vendor, you must include the vendor name.
- Explain how the event/benefiting organization relates to the University or Hospital’s mission of education, research and health care.
Student Organizations can request a web presence on the Current Students website, where they can post things that are relevant to the organization, by submitting a request to the marketing team. Organizations can also make use of promotional channels the marketing department has at its disposal, including the campus events calendar, Lion’s Eye (in-building electronic billboards) and Penn State Health News. If a student group has an event they want to promote, they should contact the marketing team with some advance notice.
The contact information included in the Student Organization Directory in the Office of Student Affairs is intended for the sole purpose of communicating with student organization representatives regarding membership, events specific to the purpose and mission of each respective group, or other business related specifically to the function of each respective group.
Any other use of email addresses, phone numbers, or other contact information requires prior approval from the Office of Student Affairs, located in room C1802. Examples of uses that require prior written approval include, but are not limited to:
- political campaigning;
- other mass-communication unrelated to specific respective functions of the groups.
See University policy AD 56 for more information regarding group e-mailing regulations.
Responsible use of technology
Organizations are expected to follow all University policies regarding use of technology. A good overview of university IT policy can be found in AD 96. Organizations/Persons found in violation of any policy may be referred to the Student Organization Conduct Committee or the Office of Student Conduct.
Recognition of student organizations shall not be construed as agreement, support, or approval by the University, but only as acknowledgement of the rights of the organization to exist at the University, subject to the conditions enumerated herein.
- An inactive or suspended student organization must apply for reinstatement within two years of the date of suspension or inactivity to be reinstated.
- If a student organization is suspended or inactive for more than two years, it will no longer be recognized. A student organization will need to resubmit documentation to become recognized after it has been inactive.
- The unrecognized student organization must transfer any balance from their bank account into the centralized Student Affairs holding account. The student organization can request those funds to be returned to its account if it becomes active again. These requests are directed to the Co-Curricular Programs Manager.
- Additional information may be required as requested by the Office of Student Affairs, including but not limited to, a new constitution and/or mission statement and advisor approval form.
- The President and Treasurer of an organization cannot be the same student.
- A representative from all recognized student organizations must attend every Student Assembly meeting to maintain recognition.
- Recognized student organizations must maintain a minimum of 10 active members, unless an exception is granted by the Office of Student Affairs for demonstrated cause. If your organization is an undergraduate student organization, the majority (50%+1) of members must be undergraduate students at the campus where the organization is being recognized. Similarly, if your organization is a graduate organization, the majority of members must be graduate students at the campus where the organization is being recognized.
- The Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Medical Student Assembly shall have the authority to suspend the recognition of any student organization due to the organization’s failure to abide by University policy.
- When a recognized student organization changes its name, constitution and/or bylaws, those changes are to be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs and the Medical Student Assembly for its review, information, and approval prior to the changes becoming official. The most recently approved version of an organization’s constitution on file in the Office of Student Affairs is the official constitution for the organization.
- Inactive Status
- Organizations may request to become inactive. This is accomplished by submitting a letter, signed by the president of the organization, to the Office of Student Affairs.
- An inactive organization has no privileges of an active organization.
- Any student group (this includes, but is not limited to, undergraduate, graduate, religious, and club sports organizations) seeking recognition at PSCOM must first complete the Intent to Organize form. The group will will be given provisional status for 60 academic days in order to complete the recognition requirements. The requirements are:
- Create a constitution and/or mission statement based on policies and procedures as outlined in Policies and Rules for Recognized Student Organizations and elsewhere on this page.
- Complete an officer report form. The President and Treasurer of the organization cannot be the same student.
- Submit a membership list with a minimum of 10 active members. If your organization is an undergraduate student organization, the majority (50%+1) of members must be undergraduate students at the campus where the organization is being recognized. Similarly, if your organization is a graduate organization, the majority of members must be graduate students at the campus where the organization is being recognized.
- Secure a University advisor (must be a full-time faculty or staff member employed at PSCOM).
- Attend at least one of the scheduled HSPA General Body meetings per semester (one officer must be present to remain recognized).
- Approval from Environmental Health and Safety and/or the Office of Risk Management if the activities and/or programs of the organization are considered high risk. Additional requirements may be determined by the Environmental Health and Safety Office and/or the Office of Risk Management
- Approval from Housing, if the organization is planning an event located at on-campus housing (UME or UMW).
- Organizations can be recognized in several categories, which are detailed here.
- Until an organization has been officially recognized, it can hold no meetings on PSHMC or PSCOM property except for organizational purposes. Participation at such meetings is to be limited to interested currently enrolled students and members of the faculty and staff.
- Once the required materials have been reviewed and approved, the organization will be notified via email of the organization’s status.
- Decisions made within these processes can be appealed within 3 business days of the original decision by submitting a written request for appeal to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and her/his designee (CoCurricular Programs Manager). Appeals will be accepted from the students wishing to create an organization, members of an already existing organization, or an individual group within the University Community.Appeals will only be granted in cases where new evidence is discovered after the decision was made or if applicable procedures were not followed. If the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (or his/her designee) determines that there are grounds for the appeal, a three-person panel comprised of two faculty/staff members and one student will be chosen to review and rule on the appeal. The decision of the panel will be made within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal request and will be final.
A decision by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety or the Office of Risk Management that an organization has or will pose a risk to the safety of its members or the public will not be eligible for recognition as a University student group. The decision by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety or Office of Risk Management shall be final and not subject to appeal.
- The direct supervision of the operation of any student organization whose primary recognized function is the maintenance of a communication medium shall be vested in a board of directors, which will be composed of student and faculty members. The method of selection of this board shall be specified in the constitution of the organization. At Commonwealth campuses, a single board of directors responsible for supervising the operations of all student communications media on campus may be set up in lieu of separate boards of directors for each medium. The method of selection and the terms of office for board members, who shall be full-time students and faculty members, shall be developed with the concurrence of the SGA and the Chancellor. A yearly update of Board of Directors membership must be submitted to the Office of Student Activities with the renewal application.
- The publication by students of any printed matter bearing the name of the University or purporting to emanate from it must be a publication produced by a recognized student organization, the name of which must appear on the publication. Printed matter published by students of The Pennsylvania State University may be sold on campus only if it is produced or sold by a recognized student organization.
- Publications of recognized student organizations may be sold or distributed in University Park at locations authorized by Union and Student Activities and, on Commonwealth campuses, at locations authorized by the Chief Student Affairs Officer (or his/her designee). Publications not produced or published by recognized student organizations may be sold only by recognized organizations and only at locations authorized by the previously identified University offices. Student organizations that publish, sell, or distribute printed or otherwise reproduced materials on the campus shall be responsible for those materials in the areas of libel, invasion of privacy, and obscenity to the civil authorities, the appropriate University authorities, or both. The standards of the University in the areas of libel, invasion of privacy, and obscenity shall conform to the principles of civil law.
With these rights goes the responsibility of each recognized student organization for the consequences of its decisions and activities as a group.
- Recognized student organizations may use the name of the University in their official titles. Use of the University’s trademarked images and logos is also a privilege of recognized student organizations. Policy AD07 prohibits the use of the University’s trademarked images and logos by student organizations that are not recognized by the University. The marketing department will approve all designs that utilize any image or logo associated with Penn State, Penn State Health, Penn State College of Medicine, and all other associated organizations. Use this form to get your materials approved.
- Recognized student organizations may use University facilities subject to the duly established written rules
governing such use.
- Recognized student organizations are covered by the General Liability and Non-owned Auto Liability Insurance
policies for student organizations.
- Recognized student organizations may qualify for sales tax exemption for purchases made by the University
when conducting student organization business under the Pennsylvania State University umbrella.
- The University offers several ways for student organizations to market themselves to students who want to
- All registered student organizations can fill out a request to have a web presence created for them on the Current Students site.
- The Office of Student Affairs coordinates a Student Organizations Fair at the beginning of the fall
semester. All recognized student organizations are given an opportunity to register for the fair during
which they can set up a table with information about their groups. Sign-ups for the fairs are on a firstcome, first-served basis.
- Student organizations can place flyers/materials on general purpose bulletin boards throughout
- Student organizations are not given access to mailing information for students or parents at either
their local or permanent addresses.
- Programs sponsored by recognized student organizations involving minors must comply with University Policy AD-39.
- All events/programs, sponsored by a recognized student organization, which contain sexually explicit or graphically violent material will need to be reviewed in advance by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee before the request for space will be approved. The group requesting the use of University space may need to agree to certain accommodations before space will be assigned.
- When reserving a facility to show movies or use copyrighted materials, a release form or letter giving the student organization approval to show the movie in public or use the material must be provided to the Office of Student Affairs prior to the release of the room.
- The Medical Student Assembly shall be the co-sponsor of student-initiated and student-funded public entertainment events held on campus for which admission is charged or donations received, and involving contracts in the amount of $500 or more and anticipated attendance of 500 or more. With the approval of the Office of Student Affairs and the MSA, other recognized organizations may co-sponsor public entertainment events. Such public entertainment events are subject to the concurrence and approval of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and/or his/her designee.
- All recognized student organizations are encouraged to have faculty or staff advisors. For all student organizations recognized after August 1, 2004, a University faculty or staff member must be appointed as an advisor to the organization. The advisor can assist the organization by providing counsel on specialized subjects in which the advisor is experienced or expert, and on general matters relating to the conduct of organizational affairs. Advisors are encouraged to offer constructive criticism and guidance without domination. The guidelines pertaining to the role and responsibility of student organization advisors and responsibilities of the organization to the advisor are available upon request through the Office of Student Activities at University Park, and through the Office of Student Affairs at Commonwealth campuses.
- Student organizations that were recognized prior to the summer of 2004 are not required to have an advisor. However, student organizations that have been placed on inactive status, regardless of original date of recognition, must obtain an advisor to reactivate.
- Some recognized student organizations may have specific staff or faculty assigned to work with them as part of the person’s work assignment. Other University faculty/staff may request assignment as an advisor by notifying in writing the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (or his/her designee) at a campus. University officials will render a decision based on established policies and practices. Assignment is not guaranteed. Some high-risk activities may be excluded or acceptable only under limited circumstances. Those faculty and staff who are assigned to be advisors are accountable to their supervisors and shall be covered under the provisions of University liability insurance for acts arising within the scope of the advisor role.
- Faculty and staff who volunteer to advise recognized organizations must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (and his/her designee). Those who choose to volunteer as an unofficial advisor and do not complete the advisor approval form annually shall do so in a personal capacity and not as employees, representatives, or agents of the University. Such individuals are not covered by University insurance for liability associated with their advisor activities.
- Medical residents may serve as a student organization co-advisor only in the event that there is also a full-time University faculty or staff member serving as the primary advisor. Exceptions may be granted.
- All student organization advisors at Penn State have been identified as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs), as defined by the Clery Act (The Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990). One of the requirements of being a CSA is the completion of training annually about the responsibilities of a CSA. The training module can be found at lrn.psu.edu. For more information, please visit PSU Student Affairs’ Clery Act page.
Required travel registration form
All students and/or student organizations must register their trip prior to the departure date. Student Organization travel includes, but is not limited to, all modes of transportation, lodging, and registration for conferences, competitions, performances, service trips, field trips and student organization retreats. Trips that are out of the local area OR overnight must be registered.
- For domestic travel, a Travel Registration Form, participant roster, travel itinerary, and detailed day by day itinerary must be submitted to C1802 prior to the departure date. The Travel Registration Form is attached to this packet.
- For International Travel, the trip leader must meet with the organization adviser or his/her designee to review the travel requirements. Travel is not permitted to any country on the U.S. Department of State’s travel warning list.
- Failure to register travel, thoroughly and accurately prior to the departure date, will result in the individual and/or student organization not being eligible for reimbursement for travel expenses.
- Travel is required to be registered regardless of the source of funding (OSA account, academic departments, individuals, etc.)
Students may book their transportation using any nationally recognized company through the company itself, a travel agency, or the internet. To charter a bus, the company must be listed on the Risk Management’s approved charter bus list. These companies have met the University’s insurance requirements. These policies apply regardless of the source of funding (UPAC, ASA account, academic departments, individuals, etc.). PSCOM utilizes First Student, Inc. most frequently
- The following regulations provide the basis for authorization for use of University grounds and facilities and establish procedures for such authorized uses. The rights, obligations, and liabilities of authorized users and of other persons seeking to use the campus are defined below. While on University property, persons who are not students or employees of the University are required to adhere to the standards of conduct applicable to members of the University community and to abide by University policies and regulations. The University may require student, staff, or faculty identification for admission to events scheduled in University facilities. The purpose of these regulations is to facilitate the effective use and enjoyment of the facilities of the campus as an educational institution, and to ensure the right of free expression and advocacy. Orderly procedures are necessary to promote use of facilities and free expression and advocacy, in order to conserve and protect facilities for educational use, and to minimize potential conflict between the right of free expression and the rights of others. Further, these regulations exist to prevent possible interference with University functions and responsibilities as an educational institution.
- The word “commercial” as used in the following regulations means any activity or event that results in a personal financial gain to the peddler or organization provided that contacts between a peddler and a student shall not be deemed commercial if such contacts were invited by the individual student involved.
Scheduling and use of University facilities
- Designated University facilities may be reserved when the University is in session for meetings and other
noncommercial events by:
- Recognized student organizations for events sponsored by those organizations.
- Members of the faculty and staff for co-curricular events related to their University duties or
- Organizations of University employees for events related to the purposes of the organizations.
- Official alumni and similar University-related organizations, and colleges, schools, departments, and
other units of the University for events related to their purposes.
- Conditions for use of University facilities:
- Assurance that all University regulations, local, state, and federal laws concerning fire and safety regulations, necessary security, and conduct can and will be followed.
- Assurances that any financial obligations arising from the activity can and will be satisfied by the sponsor. (iii) Precautions to assure the physical safety and health of the participants.
- Coordination of timing of each event to prevent conflict with previously scheduled activities.
- No person or group other than the reserving sponsor may use the reserved space.
- Recognized undergraduate student organizations shall not serve alcoholic beverages at any on-campus functions.
- Recognized graduate student organizations may serve alcoholic beverages at on-campus locations as approved by the University.
- Any graduate student organization requesting the use of alcoholic beverages in areas open to the public must send their request to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs or her/his designee for review. After review, appropriate requests will be forwarded to the appropriate administrative office for approval as set forth in University policy AD-18.
- No recognized student organization may schedule or sponsor any events on or off campus beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday after the last day of classes, through 8 a.m. the Monday following final exams. Ceremonial events with the purpose of honoring graduating seniors are permitted during finals week. Participation in events scheduled by conference, regional, or national affiliates is also permitted during this time. Exceptions to this policy can be made by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs(or his/her designee.)
- Charges for Use of University Facilities
- For events at which admission is free or no donations solicited, the University may charge, based on the cost to the University, for:
- Special arrangements needed by the user of the facility that impose identifiable costs on the University.
- Identifiable increments to the University’s operating or overhead expense imposed by the use of the facility.
- Events after building closing hours or on weekends; the University also may impose costs necessary to assure adequate protection of University buildings and facilities.
- For events at which admission is charged or for which donations are solicited, the University may charge rental charges for its facilities as well as for charges indicated above.
- Records showing the events for which charges were made by the University and the amount and basis of the charges will be public information.
- For events at which admission is free or no donations solicited, the University may charge, based on the cost to the University, for:
- Use of University Facilities by Non-University Speakers
- A student organization inviting and providing compensation (honoraria, travel expenses, meals, etc.) to a non-University person to speak or perform at a meeting or other event on the campus must complete a University Standardized Agreement before the event. At Commonwealth campuses student organizations need to contact the Office of Student Affairs/Office of Student Life for University Standardized Agreements and deadlines.
- In accordance with the free traditions of a university community, audiences shall be allowed to ask questions of speakers unless considerations of time, format, or the like indicate otherwise.
- The Vice Dean or the Vice Dean’s designee for such matters, may require that the event be chaired by a tenured member of the teaching or administrative staff. In such circumstances the University will assist the organization in securing a chairperson.
- The Vice Dean or the Vice Dean’s designee for such matters must approve the use of University facilities by non-University organizations, whether or not affiliated or acting jointly with sponsors authorized to use University facilities.
- It is assumed that all events are open to those wishing to attend unless previous publicity indicates these events are for members only.
- Outdoor meetings and other events
- Please refer to policy AD-51.
- Procedures for Reserving Facilities and Registering Events
- Faculty, staff, students, and University-affiliated organizations must contact the Office of Student Affairs.
- Students/Student organizations must contact the Office of Student Affairs (or his/her designee) and the
- Individuals and groups not affiliated with the University must contact the Office of University Relations at
University Park or, at Commonwealth campuses, contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
- Posters, Notices, Handbills, Banners
- Except as permitted herein, no poster, handbill, banner or any other form of announcement or statement may be placed on, attached to, or written on any structure or natural feature of the campus such as doors, poles, gates, fences, trees or other vegetation, windows, sides of buildings, the surface of walkways or roads, fountains, posts, waste receptacles, or stakes.
- An individual or organization may have noncommercial announcements posted on the University’s general purpose bulletin boards. General purpose bulletin boards are those bulletin boards not specifically labeled for or dedicated to a specific purpose. The names of all employees, students, and/or recognized student organizations must be prominently displayed on all announcements and banners.
- Any student organization that defaces or damages any University property will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs. Sidewalk chalk is not permitted on University property.
- On-Campus Housing students may place announcements, statements, or other materials on their individual room door and windows subject to reasonable requirements regarding use of such areas as developed by the Housing Office and as found in the student’s housing contract.
Procedures for student organizations
At Penn State College of Medicine:
- Any student group wishing to sponsor student activities that requires the use of University facilities must initiate its request with the Office of Student Affairs, which will advise the group of the availability of the facilities and determine if the group is eligible to use University facilities.
- A recognized student organization may reserve campus facilities only through one of its officers or a designated active member authorized to apply for such reservations.
- No reservation is complete until approved by the Office of Student Affairs, which may refuse to approve an application for reservation or may cancel a previously approved application for reservation if the conditions for use of University facilities have been violated or are unenforceable. Appeals of decisions may be made through the Office of Student Affairs.
- Responsibilities of organizations using University facilities: a recognized student organization, its officers, and any authorized individual applying to reserve facilities on behalf of the organization are responsible for:
- Damages to the facilities used, including any financial loss to the University or a recognized student organization because of a temporary closing of facilities;
- The use to which the facilities are put during the time reserved;
- Any violations of University regulations and/or local, state, and federal laws that occur in connection with their use of the facilities;
- Not permitting the reserved facility to be used by other groups or individuals.
- An officer or individual applying for the reservation is not subject to disciplinary action for violation of the items (a-d) above, unless he/she has planned or participated in the violation or should have foreseen the possibility of violation.
The scheduling function for information tables is maintained by the Office of Student Affairs. A list of authorized table locations is available at these offices.
- Recognized student organizations may reserve an information table in locations designated by the University. The organization must reserve the table location in advance of its intended use. Reservations for spaces will be made in order of submission. Specific numbers and locations for tables are designated. Other individuals or organizations may not reserve a table except as otherwise authorized by the University. No organization other than the reserving organization may use the table.
- Tables shall be staffed at all times by currently enrolled full-time students or currently employed members of the University’s faculty or staff. The name of the sponsoring organization must be displayed at each table.
- Tables may be used to exhibit or distribute free noncommercial announcements, statements, and materials. Distributing, soliciting, or selling by means of accosting individuals or by hawking or shouting is prohibited. Fund raising activities and solicitation shall be in compliance with those regulations. At Commonwealth campuses consult the Office of Student Affairs for specific procedures regarding the use of tables.
Allegations of misconduct by any student organization should be directed to the Office of Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs will route the allegation to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
Decisions made by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, including sanctions, can be appealed according to each group’s appellate process found in their constitutions. Appeals will only be accepted in cases where new evidence is discovered after the decision was made, applicable procedures were not followed, or the sanction is not justified.
If the Medical Student Assembly does not have an appeals process outlined in their constitution, then the following appeals process will be used.
- Appeals shall be made to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or his/her designee (the Co-Curricular Programs Manager).
- A written request for an appeal must be submitted within three business days after a decision has been conveyed to that student organization.
- An Appeals Board appointed by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (or his/her designee) will review all accepted appeals.
- The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (or his/her designee) shall communicate the decision of the Appeals Board within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal request. Its decision shall be final except in those cases where suspension or loss of recognition is imposed or requested.
- Subsequent appeals may be made when the sanctions of suspension or loss of recognition have been assigned or requested. Final appeals must be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Students in writing within three business days of the decision by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (or his/her designee). The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs can review the records of previous Appeals Board and the written and oral arguments as required.