Every academic year, student groups must register their organization with the Center for Leadership & Involvement to become a Registered Student Organization (RSO). By doing so, they obtain access to the many benefits of being a University-recognized organization (listed below). This guide outlines the steps and information necessary to complete the registration process.
Student organization registration processes, eligibility requirements, and financial regulations are established by the Director of the Center for Leadership & Involvement (CfLI) in conjunction with the Committee on Student Organizations (CSO).
Annually, nearly 1,000 student groups and clubs on the UW-Madison campus complete registration with CfLI to become Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). RSOs enjoy benefits (listed below) and also carry responsibilities, which are listed in the Eligibility tab below and the Policies section of this guide.
- 2023-2024 Registration dates are:
- Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 10:00am (central time)– Dual Registration Groups (CALS, Dept. of Computer Sciences, Engineering, FSL, Graduate Business, ISS, Law, Morgridge Center, MSC, Office of Sustainability, RecWell Sports Clubs, SMPH/MSA, SoHE, WSB Undergraduate Program, WUD)
- Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 10:00am (central time) – All other Student Organizations
- Friday, October 13, 2023 – Freeze Day | Any organizations who have not completed re-registration will lose access to benefits
- For all groups, the registration application remains open until the last day of classes – Friday, May 3, 2024
Student organizations that were registered during the 2022-23 academic year will retain RSO privileges through October 13, 2023. After that time, if the organization has not yet submitted and received approval of their application for the 2023-24 year, the group will enter frozen status, losing their recognition as an RSO and will no longer have access to RSO benefits. To return to active status after October 13, the RSO will have to complete the registration application, and only after it is approved will access to benefits be restored.
BENEFITS OF REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS (RSOS)
Registered Student Organizations benefit by receiving access to university facilities and services not available to non-registered student groups or to the general public. As an RSO, your group:
- May reserve and use non-instructional university facilities in the Wisconsin Union and elsewhere on campus
- May take advantage of services, events and programs developed for RSOs by CfLI and other university offices, programs, and departments
- Is eligible to apply for grants from several sources such as: Associated Students of Madison (ASM), the Multicultural Council (MCC), Global Badger experience Grant (GBEG), and the Wisconsin Experience Grant (WEG)
- Receives free publicity by being listed in the RSO Directory found on the Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN)
- Is eligible to participate in all membership recruitment opportunities offered through CfLI, including but not limited to the Fall and Spring Student Organization Fairs
- In addition, CfLI promotes student organizations in a variety of ways including attendance at the many campus resource fairs and other campus involvement/recruitment activities
- May use the name of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to identify the group’s affiliation. Note: Any form of the UW’s name may not be placed as the beginning words in the name of the organization, but may be placed at the end of the name, e.g., Checkers Club, UW-Madison.
- Click here to view a full, detailed list of benefits RSOs have access to.
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When the primary contact person submits the registration application form, it means that they have read the eligibility requirements carefully and that their organization is in compliance. If at any time the organization no longer meets eligibility, the organization is no longer entitled to the privileges granted to Registered Student Organizations (RSO), and at that time the primary contact person is obligated to inform the Center for Leadership & Involvement of the change. Student groups at UW-Madison must be registered as a student organization in order access the RSO benefits, such as using university facilities or the opportunity to apply for funding.
TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR REGISTRATION, ORGANIZATIONS MUST:
- Be not-for-profit, which means no individual or group may profit from the work/activities of the student organization. Additionally, not-for-profit does not mean that the student organization is automatically exempt from state or federal taxes because a student organization is not required to be a federal or state registered non-profit to meet our definition of not-for-profit.
- Be composed of at least 75% UW-Madison students
- Be controlled and directed by UW-Madison students
- Be related to student life on campus
- Abide by Federal, State and local laws
- Abide by all University policies, including the nondiscrimination policy
- Identify a Primary Contact person for the organization (see role requirements below) who is authorized to assist with accessibility requests
- Identify a Second/Financial Contact who is authorized to represent the RSO in financial matters
- Identify a Third Contact and Fourth Contact
- All four contacts must be at least half time UW-Madison students
- Undergraduates: enrolled in at least 6 credits
- Exception: Student who are enrolled in a co-op (cooperative education program) for the semester/year can have fewer credits
- Graduate Students: enrolled in at least 4 credits
- Exception: Graduate students can have 3 credits if working on a dissertation or thesis
- Undergraduates: enrolled in at least 6 credits
- Provide the Center for Leadership & Involvement with information required on the application form
- Develop and submit the constitution, bylaws, or operating procedures for the group
- Complete the online RSO Orientation, RSO Alcohol Training, and RSO Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Training on Canvas
- Abide by financial and all other regulations specified in this Student Organization Resource & Policy Guide (Financial Regulations of Registered Student Organizations are listed below).
PRIMARY CONTACT ROLE
The Center for Leadership & Involvement defines “Primary Contact” as the person in your organization who:
- Fills out important forms (including the Registration application and sign-up form for the Student Organization Fair)
- Receives important communication from our office, benefit providers, and the CSO Chair and is responsible for responding in a timely fashion
- Serves as the Accessibility Contact for the organization
- This means that if a student contacts them to ask about reasonable accommodations, the Primary Contact will work with the student to get them what they need to participate in the organization or event
- Is in a leadership position within your organization (must meet all eligibility criteria). This person does not necessarily need to be the President
- Receives weekly “CfLI Buzz” emails and shares pertinent information with your group
PRIMARY CONTACT COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT
The primary contact person for each organization agrees to inform others in their organization about university policies affecting them and agrees to comply with these policies; including the Policy on the Conduct and Discipline of Registered Student Organizations and other policies and procedures as found in this Guide. The primary contact person further agrees that their organization complies with university rules prohibiting unlawful discrimination and will maintain all other eligibility requirements for registration. And, lastly, the primary contact person attests that they have read their organization’s completed registration form, and, to the best of their knowledge, the information on the registration form is complete and accurate.
PRIMARY CONTACT FERPA GUIDELINE
Primary contacts must NOT have a FERPA shade with the Office of the Registrar, as all Primary Contacts must be public within the Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN). If you do have a FERPA shade, you must choose a different student to serve in that role or remove the FERPA shade by contacting the Office of the Registrar.
NONDISCRIMINATION IN MEMBERSHIP AND PROGRAMMING
University policy, as well as federal and state laws, prohibits discrimination by Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) against students at the university.
Regent 30-06 Policy on Recognition of Student Organizations states:
“Student organizations that select their members or officers on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g., religious or political beliefs) may limit membership, officer positions, or participation in the organization to students who affirm that they support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs, so long as no student is excluded from membership, officer positions, or participation on the basis of his or her race, color, creed other than commitment to the beliefs of the organization, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status, or, unless exempt under Title IX, sex.”
RSOs can hold closed meetings for the purpose of peer counseling sessions or for other purposes if attendance is limited to a pre-established list of members. If such a meeting is publicized, it must be clearly labeled as a membership meeting.
FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Every RSO at UW-Madison is governed by standards and regulations developed by the Center for Leadership & Involvement (CfLI). These regulations are designed to protect the best interests of the student members of the RSOs.
As a condition of registration, each student organization (RSO) is required to:
- Provide CfLI with a student contact person who is authorized to represent the RSO in their financial matters (Second/Financial Contact).
- Maintain accurate and complete financial records of all receipts and expenditures and make these records available to any member of the organization upon request.
- Make all financial records available for examination no later than 15 days after receiving a written request from the chair of the Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) or the Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (or their designee). Such requests shall be made only in order to: (a) ensure public access to information regarding the generation of revenue using university facilities or (b) investigate allegations that RSO funds have been misappropriated or misused.
Should the Associate Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) or the chair of the Committee on Student Organizations (CSO) learn that a student organization is not abiding by these regulations, and should the student organization not contest that fact, the Associate Director of OSCCS, in consultation with the chair of the CSO, can determine appropriate sanctions. If a group contests the allegation, the chair of the CSO or the Associate Director of OSCCS will file a complaint requesting discipline through the CSO.
2023-2024 REGISTRATION OPENING DATES
Thursday, July 6 – Dual Registration Groups (CALS, Dept. of Computer Sciences, Engineering, FSL, Graduate Business, ISS, Law, Morgridge Center, MSC, Office of Sustainability, RecWell Sports Clubs, SMPH/MSA, SoHE, WSB Undergraduate Program, WUD)
Tuesday, August 1: All other Student Organizations
For all groups, the registration application remains open until the last day of classes – Friday, May 3, 2024
Student organizations that were registered during 2022-23 will retain RSO privileges through October 13th, 2023. After that time, if the organization has not yet received approval for the 2023-24 year, the group will lose their recognition as an RSO. The group must have re-registered to receive that recognized once again and RSO benefits the accompany that status.
STEP 1: FILL OUT APPLICATION
- If you are enrolled at UW-Madison at least half-time, you are eligible to register a student organization
- The person who fills out the form will be assigned to the role of Primary Contact upon acceptance of the application
- The primary contact has a number of responsibilities (i.e. informing group members about university policies and procedures) which are listed in the Eligibility tab above
- To access the form, see Registration Form links below
STEP 2: COMPLETE THE RSO LEADER CANVAS COURSE
- As a step in the application, you will be given a Canvas course where you will watch the modules and complete the required quizzes
- This course consists of three components: RSO Orientation, RSO Alcohol Training, and RSO Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Training
- You must receive 100% on both knowledge quizzes and complete the RSO DEI pre- and post-assessments to continue with your registration application
STEP 3: CfLI REVIEW
- The Center for Leadership and Involvement (CfLI) staff will review your online registration application for accuracy, compliance with eligibility criteria, and completion of all steps of the registration process
- In most cases, this process will take 1-2 weeks, including some back-and-forth to make corrections to your application
- In the early fall semester, the process usually takes 3-4 weeks due to the heavy demand of hundreds of student organizations applying
- After approval from CfLI, the primary contact person will receive notification verifying your organization’s status as an approved registered student organization for the 2023-2024 academic year
If you are registering a NEW group:
- Follow this link to the RSO Directory and search to make sure a similar group does not already exist.
- If you find a similar group, reach out to the Primary Contact to get involved.
- Check the Inactive Organizations in the tab below to see if the group exists, but did not register last year.
- If you find the inactive organization you want to register, fill out this WIN form to re-activate the organization. *The form will open for 2023-2024 on July 6th, 2023 at 10am.
- Consider whether the group needs to be a Registered Student Organization. For example, a study group likely does not need to be an RSO if all the group needs is room reservations, whereas a new woodworking group may need to be an RSO to have access to room reservations, funding for materials, and programming resources.
- If you decide to start a new organization, log into WIN, click on the navigation icon in the top-left corner, click “Organizations,” and scroll down and click on the “Register an Organization” button on the left side of the screen and complete the steps on the form to begin the registration process.
If you are RE-REGISTERING a group from last year:
- Log into WIN, click on the navigation icon in the top-left corner, click “Organizations” and find your organization in the directory. Click the name. Select “Manage Organization” in the upper right hand corner.
- Within the Action Center of the organization’s WIN page you will see a blue button near the center of the page (just below the organization’s name). Click the “Re-Register This Organization” button. Complete the steps on the form to begin the re-registration process.
- If you do not find the organization you are hoping to re-register, check the Inactive Organizations in the tab below to see if the group exists, but did not register or was in good standing last year.
- If you find the inactive organization you want to register, fill out this WIN form to re-activate the organization.
The following are a few reasons an organization could be considered an inactive group and found on the list below:
- The organization has registered in the past (since 2011), but did not register last year
- The organization was not in good standing at the end of the last academic year
- The organization was disbanded
If you find the organization you want to register using the linked list above, you will need to fill out the form below to re-activate the organization. You should do this instead of registering a new organization for the following reasons:
- You would just have to review the existing constitution and make updates instead of starting a new one
- You would get all of the history of the organization in WIN (events, documents, news items)
- Re-activating an inactive organization reduces time-wasting redundancies for you and the CfLI office
- If you received a message that the name you want to use is already in use, then you need to go through this process to be able to use the exact name you want
*The request to re-activate form will open for 2023-2024 on July 6th, 2023 at 10am.