Words by Hailee Carlin
Photos by Mitchell Felan
For Kent State students, every student organization offers a new way to get involved. There are more than 400 student organizations on campus. They fall under 15 different categories, although some may overlap.
These categories include special interest, student media, academic and professional, educational, Greek life, honorary, service, international, cultural, sports and recreation, graduate, political, religious, student government and military groups.
Katherine Goldring, the associate director in the Center for Student Involvement, said the registration for new student organizations varies with each semester. Around 40 are registered each fall semester and about 25 in the spring.
The registration process begins in the first four weeks of the semester. Groups may either renew their status or register as a new organisation.
Students must have a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled in at least eight credits as an undergraduate or six credits as a graduate student in order to start a student organization.
“[Students] have to get a faculty or staff advisor. Anyone is eligible,” Goldring says. “They also need to have a constitution on file with a mission statement and how they hold elections.”
Organizations need to have five officers, with one designated as president, according to Goldring.
“Very rarely do any groups get rejected,” Goldring says. “If they break any university policies in their mission statement, then we will reject them. Very few times is registration not given.”
Desiree Stribling, a sophomore majoring in speech pathology and audiology, and Erica Fowler, a freshman majoring in healthcare administration, started the Ukulele Club this spring semester.
The Ukulele Club is “for anyone who wants to learn how to play the ukulele, learn about the history, and learn about the fundamentals,” Stribling says.
“We just get together and jam,” Fowler says.
Stribling serves as the president of the organization while Fowler is the secretary. Stribling’s position requires she facilitate learning, lesson plans and emails. Fowler sends out the information and helps with social media and contacting people.
Stribling had the idea to start the organization after giving Fowler ukulele lessons.
“I thought that people would find it interesting and beneficial,” Stribling says.
There weren’t too many challenges during the registration process. Stribling says that they mostly worried about not having attendance at the meetings and finding an academic advisor.
“The adviser is there for anyone to ask about resources … [they] give insight to teach and accommodate needs and abilities,” Stribling says. “Another challenge is our adviser doesn’t know ukulele.”
Advertising for the group became a top priority.
“We put up flyers,” Fowler says. “We couldn’t get a table at the student organization fair, so we walked around the fair and handed the flyers out.”
Social media, especially the Kent State graduating class Facebook pages, also helped to spread the word about the organization.
“This is still very new to us,” Stribling says. “We’re trying to talk to the right people … Undergraduate Student Government provides a lot of opportunity for flyers, templates and resources to help you navigate.”
Fowler says that groups are also eligible to apply for funding, and printing out flyers is free for student organizations.
The hard work of becoming a founding member of a student organization pays off.
“It’s very rewarding to have the sense that you created something with friends,” Stribling says.
Fowler also notes meeting other people who share the same interests as her as a rewarding part of the experience.
Stribling advises to be very organized if any student is seeking to start a student organization.
“Know exactly what you want your club to look like and make sure your constitution is perfect. It’s like classes with meeting times and deadlines.”
You can begin to register a student organization here.
Hailee Carlin is the student life reporter for The Burr.