Forming a New Student Organization

Do you and other students have common interests and want to create a forum in which you can express and share those interests? Then forming a student organization could be the way to go! Starting a new organization requires time and dedication, but it will be worthwhile. Student organizations at the George Washington University provide students with an opportunity to explore interests, sharpen skills and learn about themselves and others while enhancing the academic mission of the university.


Tabling at the Org Fair, students from Women in Business


Step 1: Develop your Idea

Develop the initial idea and verify that no other registered student organization is filling that need. Search Engage by keyword to see what other organizations may be similar in nature and ensure that there is no overlap with the mission of an existing registered student organization. If you find another organization similar to your own, consider joining to enhance the already established org. 

Step 2: Complete the New Org Online Module

Complete the online module about about the process for creating a new student organization. You must pass the quiz at the end to get credit.  You must complete this step before submitting your registration on Engage (Step 5). 

Step 3: Recruit Members

Recruit initial members and potential officers. In order to become a registered student organization at GW, you need at least 10 currently enrolled students to be members, and at least three of them must be officers. One of these officers must be a student who is not graduating during the current academic year. You will need to submit the names and emails of all potential members during the application process in Step 5.

Step 4: Draft a Constitution 

As a new organization, your members will need to write a constitution/bylaws document that aligns well with your stated mission and goals and includes GW’s four required clauses. You will not be able to move forward with the process if your constitution lacks any of the four required clauses listed on the guide. Refer to the Constitution Guide (PDF) for requirements and examples. Note that other than the required clauses, the document is a guide and does not need to be copied verbatim. Each organization will require a different structure that best suits their goals and mission. 

Step 5: Submit an Application 

Complete the registration application via Engage using the steps outlined in Registration for a New Student Organization (PDF)In order to submit your application, you must have a roster of members (minimum of 10) and your constitution completed. 

A potential new organization that falls within the constituency of a graduate umbrella organization must receive approval from the appropriate umbrella organization before submitting an application. These organizations are Student Bar Association (Law School), Medical Center Student Council (SMHS), MBA Association (GWSB MBA programs), Public Health Student Association (MISPH), GSEHD Student Association (GSEHD), and Elliott School Graduate Board (ESIA). Constituent organizations are not considered fully registered until they have received approval from BOTH their umbrella organization AND the Office of Student Life.

Step 6: Presentation

Present your proposed organization idea to the New Organization Committee, which is comprised of GW students and staff. Prepare a five-minute presentation that addresses your group’s action plan, organizational structure, purpose, and the unique needs the organization fills on campus. You may use slides but are not required to do so. Following the presentation, the committee will ask questions. Review the New Student Organization Rubric (PDF) for an insight into the committee evaluation process. Following your presentation, the New Organization Committee, in consultation with the Office of Student Life, will make a determination to approve, defer, or deny your request to become a registered student organization. Once you have both completed the online training module (step 2) and submitted your registration (step 5), please sign up for a New Organization Committee presentation. Use the "Step 6 - Student Org Presentation" appointment slot to register. 

Dates & Deadlines

The New Organization application is now open. Steps 1-5 of the process for forming a new student organization must be completed prior to the application deadline in order to be considered during a given cycle. The Office of Student Life will review new applications and forward the application to the New Organization Committee. You may be contacted if additional information is needed. New Organization Committee presentations will occur from 12-5pm virtually on the following days: 

Friday, September 29

Monday, October 2

Friday, October 27

Monday, October 30

Friday, November 10

Monday, November 13

Friday, December 8

Monday, December 11


"When I felt that there was not enough spaces on campus for conversations about African development and ways to get more involved in my field of study, the idea of starting a new org for students with similar interests came without a second thought. I've learned that being proactive and taking initiative on a daily basis will enable you to create opportunities for yourself and others that weren't there before."

Ayooluwa Akintayo
President of The African Development Initiative

Ayooluwa Akintayo

Next Steps

Once an organization is approved for recognition from the New Organization Committee, the organization will be required to complete a Student Organization Officer Orientation and Finance Training. Engage portals for each new organization will not be activated until after the orientation is completed. Most new organizations will be advised by Org Help, our centralized advising team offering email and walk-in (or virtual) office hours. New orgs should contact Org Help with any questions.