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: Advising Meeting

Meet with an Org Help team member to discuss your idea in a new organization consultation meeting. You can stop by the Org Help advising desk on Mondays through Fridays, 12-5 PM in the University Student Center, Room 433A or you can book a meeting time in advance. Please email [email protected] if the provided appointment times do not work.

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. 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. 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). 

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. 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. 

Dates & Deadlines

The new organization application will open three times during the year, in the fall, spring, and summer. 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.

Summer 2022

  • The spring new org application opens on Tuesday, May 31, and closes Friday, August 12.
  • Presentations will take place on a rolling basis beginning in June. The New Organization Committee will meet approximately 1-2 times per month depending on availability and the number of applications received.  
  • Organizations that have gone inactive due to the incompletion of annual requirements are unable to participate in the summer session to regain recognition.

"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.