It seems that there are student clubs for every group of students on campus. The Criminal Justice Club, the Athletic Training Club, the YMCA Club and this very publication are among these student organizations. All of these clubs are student run and help Springfield College residents connect with others in their major and across campus. They provide resources, volunteer opportunities and some fun along the way.
With almost 50 organizations on campus, keeping track of all of them may seem like a daunting task, but the Student Government Associations Vice President of Student Organizations, Taline Abrahamian, is well up to the job. Her main duties are working with potential clubs to get approved and keeping track of all existing clubs. She is assisted in this by the Student Organizations Committee.
“What I really want my committee to do is help me with student organization meetings and everything,” said Abrahamian.
To receive approval to form a new club, students have several steps to complete before they eventually meet with the SGA general council for final approval.
“The first thing a club would have to do is get a registration form off the SGA page on PrideNet,” said Abrahamian. “They would fill it out all with the E-board signing it and their advisor signing it, and then they have to get a hundred signatures from anyone on campus just to prove that there would be interest on this campus if they were to become a club.”
The Executive Board, or E-board of a club, consists of the students who will be running the club and usually involves a president, vice president and treasurer, among others. These students will be the ones who work with Abrahamian to get a club on its feet.
The next step is one of the most important in a club’s formation: the writing of the club constitution. This document is a statement of purpose for the club, as well as guidelines for how the club will be run. After this critical document is written, the potential club sits down with Abrahamian and the Student Organizations Committee.
“We’d just sit down with them and basically kind of go over their constitution,” said Abrahamian. “[We ask them] Who’s your advisor? How do you know them and what do they think about the club? Why were you guys interested in the first place? Then we just talk about [how] they need to present to general council.”
These presentations take place at general council meetings with the student senate present as well as the Executive Board of the SGA. Potential clubs give a quick introduction, detailing what their plans are and why the general council should vote for them. The entire process is designed to be as quick and smooth-running as possible.
“That process is supposed to be five minutes of them presenting,” said Abrahamian. “Ten minutes of general council asking them questions, then they leave and we vote. They come back in and we tell them right away, so the whole process is supposed to be like twenty, 25 minutes.”
The general council determines that potential organizations have a viable idea for a club, dedicated leaders and that the club’s purpose fits the standards set by the SGA constitution. The only time Abrahamian had heard of a club not being approved was when the group in question attempted to form a club for a very specific group of students on campus. The club in question ended up reapplying with a broader target group and is now a club on campus.
Thus far in the 2011-2012 school year, only one club has come to SGA for approval. The Education Club was approved in the very first SGA meeting on September 25.
Josh Ernst may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org