Starting a New Student Organization

Guidelines for Naming Your Organization

New student organizations applying for recognition who wish to use the name "Dartmouth" or "Dartmouth College" in their name/logo are required to indicate in the organization's name or that it is a student organization. To accomplish this, we suggest using words and phrases such as:

  • "students"
  • "student organization"
  • "undergraduate"
  •  "undergraduate organization"
  • "graduate student"
  •  "graduate student organization"
  • "student alliance"
  •  "student partnership"
  • "student society" or
  • "student association".

Please note the words "at Dartmouth" alone do not convey student status. If a recognized student organization wishes to use the words "at Dartmouth" in its name, or uses "Dartmouth" in an acronym, it must still include language indicating its status as a student organization.

All student organization names will be reviewed and approved by the COSO Board during the recognition process. 

Process for Starting a New Organization

  1. Develop your initial idea for your club. Think about what is feasible and determine interest on campus. Hold recruitment and organizational development meetings. This might also include holding elections, organizing a retreat, and developing your organization's mission. 
  2. On the COSO website under recogintion, read Prerequisites and Procedures for Recognition, Withdrawal of Recognition. 
  3. Find a current faculty or staff member willing to advise your student organization. The role of an advisor is to provide stability, continuity, and guidance and to assist in fostering the prudent management of organizational funds. The advisor must sign the Petition for Recognition.
  4. Develop and write student organization governing documents. This would include a Constitution and a Statement of Purpose.
  5. Complete the Petition for Recognition. Signatures of 10 students are required for the form. Please note: in spring term, the founders and members of the organization cannot be graduating seniors. 
  6. Meet with the COSO Advisor for an initial meeting to discuss your organization and review all documents. This meeting will be scheduled for 15 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. To schedule, please click here.  All materials should be finalized prior to this meeting. If you are a service group, final approval from the Center for Social Impact is needed before the meeting. 
  7. Submit all forms (Petition for Recognition, Constitution, Bylaws, and Statement of Purpose) to COSO via Engage. For specific directions for this part of the process, please see the section on creating an organization in Getting Started in Engage. Forms will be reviewed by COSO and your organization will be invited to attend a COSO meeting.
  8. Present the proposed organization at a COSO Recognition Hearing meeting. This meeting will typically occur once in fall, winter, and spring terms.  (please note, no recognition hearings are held during summer term) The advisor and seven members of your organization are expected to attend. At this meeting, you will explain the mission of your organization and answer any questions COSO may have.
  9. After the meeting, you will be notified of COSO's decision about recognition. If recognized, you will receive a new organization email from the Student Involvement Office. This includes a welcome letter, information about creating a blitz/dnd account, link to treasurer forms and financial procedures guide, and information about your account number and startup funds.
  10. As a recognized COSO organization, you are now eligible to apply for funding, start planning events, and become active on campus!

Applying in Engage

  1. Go to Engage and use your Dartmouth Net ID to login using single sign-on
  2. At the top, click "Organizations"
  3. On the left, click "Register a New Organization"
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click "Register New Organization" 
  5. Complete New Organization Registration - 7 steps
  6. Upload your constitution and the "Petition for Recognition" form and any additional information.
  7. If approved for recognition by COSO, you will be given access to an organization portal in Engage.