Becoming a Student Organization

A. Through the Law Students Association (LSA)

If you would like to establish an official LSSO, you are encouraged to consult Dean Gardner or Associate Director of Student Affairs Shannon Bartlett for advice, but the official first step is to contact the LSA President or Vice-President. LSA will require that you present a proposal for your organization (including your organization’s by-laws) at one of the weekly LSA meetings.  At this meeting, you will explain the purpose of your proposed organization and explain your budget.  LSA will then vote whether to grant your organization status as a LSSO and whether to allocate your organization any funding. Once you become an official LSSO, the name of your group may be listed in appropriate Law School directories and publications. In addition, you will qualify for tax-exempt status when making purchases.

B. Through the Office of Reynold’s Club Student Activities (ORCSA)

A Registered Student Organization (RSO) is a student organization that is recognized by the University’s Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA).  This recognition makes the group an official part of the University of Chicago, with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of that status.  Privileges of being an RSO include the ability to request funding from the University-wide Student Government (SG).  Therefore, RSOs have access to additional sources of funding beyond the support available through the Law School and LSA.  Because of the many resources offered by ORCSA, all LSSOs are strongly encouraged to become RSOs. 

To determine whether a particular LSSO is already registered as an RSO, you may search for your organization online at: https://studentactivities.uchicago.edu/involved/search.shtml.  Please note, however, that ORCSA requires each RSO to complete the recognition process each year. The recognition process typically occurs during the first weeks of Autumn quarter.  Failure to register annually will result in revocation of any funds awarded by the Student Government Finance Committee at the end of the previous academic year. 

RSOs may use many of the facilities of the University free of charge or at reduced cost, hold events on campus, open an ORCSA account, apply for funding from the various University boards, rent ORCSA equipment, post notices on campus, conduct fundraising activities, and receive tax exemptions and/or discounts on certain purchases.

Your organization may be eligible to become an RSO if:

  • Your group’s activities are consistent with the goals and purposes of the University,
  • Your group has at least four full-time student members,
  • Your organization is student-run and student-organized, and
  • Your group’s membership is open to all University students and is not restricted to law students.

 The application process for becoming an RSO includes submitting:

  • A form with the names of four interested students and a faculty/administration advisor,

        and

  • A short set of bylaws. 

 The full application process is described online at: https://studentactivities.uchicago.edu/orgs/becoming.shtml.

C.        Through the University Community Service Center (UCSC)

The UCSC connects students to community service opportunities in Hyde Park and the larger community.  RSOs also may become Community Service RSOs (CSRSOs) through the UCSC, provided that their primary purpose is providing services to the community.  Community Service RSOs have access to additional funding and resources through the University Community Service Center.   In addition, the UCSC also funds community service activities for regular RSOs.  Student organizations interested in planning a service event or becoming a CSRSO may contact Crystal Coats, the Community Service Advisor, at cpernell@uchicago.edu or 773-795-6451. 

D.       Through the Physical Education Department

Sport clubs are recognized through the Physical Education Department’s Sports Club Office and are not eligible to become RSOs.  The Sports Clubs program is located in the Gerald Ratner Center, Room 141.  For questions about sports clubs, you should contact Brian Bock, Assistant Athletic Director, Intramurals, Recreation, Sport Clubs, at bockb@uchicago.edu or 773-702-4658.

E.        Sample Bylaws

Whether you are applying to be a Law School, ORCSA, UCSC, or OMSA student organization, you will be required to draft bylaws for your organization.  Sample bylaws are provided below:

Article I: Name

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be . . .

Article II: Purpose

Section 1. The purpose of this organization shall be to . . .

Article III: Field of Membership

Section 1. Membership. Voting membership is limited to currently registered U of C students.

Section 2. Eligibility requirements. (RSOs should be open to any interested University students.)

Article IV: Officers

Section 1. Office titles (President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc.).

Section 2. Qualifications for each office. Officers must be currently registered students at the University of Chicago.

Section 3. Terms of office.

Section 4. Duties of officers.

Section 5. Provisions for selection / replacement of officers. (How and when? How will power be transferred to new leadership?)

Section 6. Provisions for removal of officers.

Article V: Elections

Section 1. Who may vote? How? Include rules on proxy votes. (Remember: voting membership is limited to currently registered University of Chicago students.)

Article VI: Handling of Funds

Section 1. All funds collected will be deposited in [your student organization]’s ORCSA or LSA account.

Section 2. The treasurer shall be the primary officer designated to handle organization finances.

Article VII: Amendments

Section 1. Bylaws may be amended by . . .

Section 2. Provision for advance notice of amendments.