Starting a New Organization

Once you have a group of students ready to get involved, check out the procedure to become a recognized student organization!

Recognition

The University of North Carolina Asheville is committed to a policy of open access to organizations. Any such organization that wishes to apply for use of university meeting space, the university’s name, or UNC Asheville as an address or to apply for Campus Commission funds, must first seek recognition through the Highsmith Student Union Administrative Offices.

In order to receive recognition, full membership and participation must be available to all UNC Asheville students without regard to age, race, color, creed, national origin, disability, religion, religious status or historic religious affiliation, military veteran status, political affiliation or sexual orientation. Membership and participation in the group must also be open without regard to gender, unless exempt under Title IX.

Student groups that select their members on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g., religious or political beliefs) may limit membership and participation in thegroup to students who, upon individual inquiry, affirm that they support the group's goals and agree with its beliefs (UNC BOG POLICY 2014). All students must further comply with all University policies and laws.

Please note that the Highsmith Student Union Administrative Offices may, at any time, request that an organization submit or resubmit a Constitution or a Statement of Purpose. All of this must be typed and submitted in person to Highsmith whenever you make changes to your Organization or its leadership. 

How to Become Recognized in 6 Easy Steps:

  1. Fill out the Application for Official University Recognition.
  2. Organize at least seven members.
  3. Establish executive roles.
  4. Obtain an advisor (detailed below).
  5. Create a Constitution (detailed below).
  6. Schedule a meeting with a Programming Supervisor.

Constitution

This document may be in whatever format/wording you choose. It must, however, contain the following:

  • Your organization's purpose or mission statement.
  • How your organization chooses and/or elects executive officers; the process and the timeline.
  • How your organization removes officers.
  • The role(s) of your executive officers. While we want to leave the formation and structure of your organization up to you, we do ask that you submit, the responsibilities for all of your leadership positions.
  • The role of your advisor; how you want him/her to help the organization.
  • Student organizations should consider including a non-discriminatory statement that affirms the group's values and purpose without discriminating against potential members on the basis of race, religion, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and, except where allowed by law, gender.

Organizational Structure

The system you use to create an executive system is up to you, as long as Student Activities has a reliable primary contact and all executives are currently enrolled UNC Asheville students. Below are examples of potential officer roles, however, the system that you choose to set-up should meet the needs and goals of your organization.

Please note that Highsmith Student Union encourages student organizations to connect with the larger Asheville community, but no more than 30% of your organizations membership can be made up of non UNC Asheville students.

Read more information on executive roles.

Advisor Responsibilities

The advisor must be a UNC Asheville faculty or staff member, or he/she must be pre-approved by the administration. For any questions with approvals, please contact Fred Tugas in Highsmith Union 221, ftugas@unca.edu or 828.232.5145.

In selecting an advisor, an organization will want to take great care in choosing a person who possesses the right mixture of traits, skills, interests, and motivation. The best-fit advisor has the ability to enhance the organization’s potential and purpose. Though the officers in the organization are transient, the advisor should be constant. A strong advisor will provide continuity, stability, and a sense of tradition to the organization.

  • To maintain the existence of the organization and to assist in achieving its goals by: providing a continuance of the traditions and history of the organization, assisting in the development of positive community relations, making sure the group is aware of university guidelines and helps the university hold the organization accountable, and providing advice when called upon.
  • To provide activities teaching the techniques and responsibilities of good leadership by: coaching the officers in the principles of good leadership and organization practices, teaching the elements of effective group operations, helping the group develop procedures and plans of action, keeping the group focused on its goals, and helping to keep the atmosphere of the group positive, healthy and constructive.
  • To provide an atmosphere for individual members’ growth in group socialization process by: being aware of individuals’ needs and reasons for joining the group and by helping the officers to be aware of those individual needs, being available to discuss individual problems within the context of the group, creating a learning atmosphere for the growth of the members, helping the individuals become effective members of the organization and community, and encouraging the growth of personal leadership skills among the members.
  • To point out new perspectives and directions to the group by: initiating new programs and new program ideas and stimulating discussions from different points of view so that the group develops new levels of awareness and methods of function.
  • To attend all of the Advisor Trainings (details will be e-mailed out at the beginning of the semester)