Organization Leader Resources

Organization Leader Resources

Starting a New Student Organization

We're excited you're looking to add to the vibrant community we have here at Teachers College! Before starting a new group, we recommend seeing if there's a group already established at Teachers College, or in the wider Columbia University, that speaks to what you're looking for. While we'd love to recognize all opportunities, we do want to maximize resources by investing in what already exists. Should you not find anything that connects to the group you're looking to build, follow the steps below. 

  • Email and request to meet with a GSLD Advisor. In the email include the proposed organization name, a brief description of the organization, and whether it would be identified as a social, identity, academic, or pre-professional organization. 

  • One of the GSLD Advisors will connect with you to determine a meeting time. The meeting will provide you the opportunity to understand the process, expectations of student organizations, and allow you to ask clarifying questions. 

  • In order to move forward, you must send the advisor you met with a copy of the drafted organization guidelines, a list of 10 active students who plan to be members of the proposed organization, and the two other students who will serve as representatives should the group be recognized. Should the advisor determine you’re ready, they will send you the registration form for an upcoming club recognition meeting.

  • After your registration form closes for that semester, all submissions will be reviewed by the Student Experience Committee on the Student Senate. Senate will select which groups will present to the New Student Organization Recognition Committee. 
    • Recognition meetings happen once a semester and, due to administrative and financial resources, we are only able to see 5 groups each meeting. 

  • If invited to present, you will be invited to give a 10 minute presentation about the purpose of your organization, an overview of your leadership team, intentions for meetings and events, and how this organization will contribute to the Teachers College community at large. There will be a 5 minute question and answer period for the recognition committee to ask for clarifying information. 

  • You will receive a response from the committee within 10 business days of your presentation. The number of organizations that can be recognized fluctuates each semester based on budget and capacity.
    •  Should your organization not be recognized, you have the ability to appeal the decision by sending an appeal letter to the Executive Director of Graduate Student Life and Development within 10 business days of the decision with an explanation for the appeal.

  • Should you receive approval, you will be invited to meet with your new GSLD Advisor and required to complete Student Organization Leader Training before you begin any further steps.

Please be aware that if recognized, student organizations must adhere to the following guidelines to maintain recognition:

  • Abide by College and University-wide policies, as outlined in the Student Conduct Code, in addition to all local, state, and federal laws.
    • This includes being open to all eligible students, without regard to any legally protected characteristic as identified in the TC Non Discrimination Statement, Policy and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment which are both informed by Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the American Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975

  • Complete the certification process annually at the end of each academic year
    • As a part of the certification process, student organizations should review, update, and follow organizational guidelines 
      • Changes to the organizational guidelines need to be reviewed and approved by the organization's GSLD advisor before going into effect

  • Have at least three (3) Student Organizations Representatives, but not more than six (6), in place each academic semester who are currently enrolled students during the time of their leadership

  • Maintain an active roster of at least ten (10) members, outside of the Student Org Reps, who are currently enrolled students

  • Complete all annual training requirements, including mandatory Title IX and Student Organization Leadership Training  

  • Meet with the assigned GSLD Advisor at least twice (2) per semester

  • Host at least two (2) events or initiatives per semester that are open to the full TC student community

  • Operate as a not-for-profit group without personal gain for individuals or other entities

Teachers College reserves the right to review and approve all proposed student organizations. No activity of any student organization, using the College’s name or resources, may take place without formal recognition. Graduate Student Life and Development will assist students in either finding existing organizations that relate to their interests or supporting them through the recognition process. Any organization that is looking to be focused on the Columbia-wide community will be directed to the Inter-School Governing Board, housed within University Life at Columbia, which follows a different process. 

All recognized student organizations are required to follow all Teachers College and Columbia University policies, as well as guidelines set out by Graduate Student Life and Development to maintain recognition status.

Back to skip to quick links