Student Activities Center

Organization Tiers

Sponsored Student Organizations

The privileges of becoming a recognized student organization at Iowa State University are not extended without careful consideration. Sponsored organizations are those considered critical to the mission and culture of the university and work in partnership with a university department or office. These organizations are inherently linked to the university because of their role in representing Iowa State University or in presenting events of broad appeal that are considered an integral part of the institution. Sponsored organizations routinely present events for the campus and broader community, and typically work in a collaborative relationship with a university department or office. The organization's purpose and effect are to serve a broad segment of the campus community, not just its membership.

Once recognized, the events and activities presented by the organization should accurately and positively reflect the mission and purpose of the university, as well as the rules and standards of the institution. The recognition process requires action by both student leaders and the university. As such, this process creates a mutually beneficial relationship between student organizations and the university.

In addition to the university resources available to all recognized organizations, sponsored organizations shall have:

  • A full-time professional staff or faculty member whose job description designates them as the primary adviser to the sponsored organization in accordance with organization recognition requirements. These advisers are considered experts within the respective organization's area of interest.

  • Routinely presents events of broad appeal for the campus and community. Organization operations and event planning is complex and the majority of the events/programs are university-wide. Sponsored organizations routinely present events for the campus and broader community, and are expected to work closely with the appropriate university department or office in the planning of these events.

  • A close relationship with a university department or office.

  • Support from the university in regard to risk management, liability protection, legal advice, and contract review.

In addition to the responsibilities of all recognized organizations, sponsored organizations must also meet the following expectations:

  • Designate a risk management officer or define an officer's responsibilities to be a risk manager and serve as a member of the organization's executive team. This officer is responsible for developing and maintaining an operation manual that is reviewed by the organization annually.

  • Maintain a current Operations Manual. A typical operations manual might include such topics as: event planning timeline, risk management practices, public relations practices, fiscal management practices, evaluation methodology, membership recruitment strategies, and campus contacts and resources.

Because of high complexity, sponsored organizations may receive first priority consideration for:

  • Memorial Union Student office space allocations process

  • Reserving university-wide annual events at the Iowa State Memorial Union and outdoor venues through the event management process.

Sponsored organizations will need to follow appropriate criteria and guidelines from each respective entity to receive these benefits.

Affiliated Student Organizations

Affiliated organizations are those that serve the broad interests of students and the general public, not just its members. They contribute to the mission and culture of the university by routinely presenting events for their members and invited guests. These organizations are often housed within or connected to larger sponsored organizations. However, recognition does not imply Iowa State's endorsement of the purposes of any affiliated student organization, or responsibility for any of the activities of the group located on or off university property.

In addition to the university resources available to all recognized organizations, affiliated organizations shall:

  • Select an adviser in cooperation with the Student Activities Center and in accordance with Organization Recognition Requirements.

  • If connected with a sponsored organization, comply with any rules, procedures, and expectations established by that sponsored organization.

  • Receive support from the university in regards to risk management, liability protection, legal advice, and contract review.

Because of their broad impact, affiliated organizations may receive second priority consideration for:

  • Memorial Union Student office space allocations process 

  • Reserving university-wide annual events at the Iowa State Memorial Union and outdoor venues through the event management process.

Affiliated organizations will need to follow appropriate criteria and guidelines from each respective entity to receive these benefits.

Registered Student Organizations

Registered organizations are those that are consistent with the mission and culture of the university and primarily engage in activities that benefit their membership. These organizations are primarily interest groups capable of functioning with minimal support. The university recognizes but does not support or endorse the purposes of these registered organizations.

In addition to the university resources available to all recognized organizations, registered organizations shall:

  • Select an adviser in cooperation with the Student Activities Center and in accordance with organization recognition requirements.

  • If connected with a sponsored or affiliated organization, comply with any rules, procedures, and expectations established by that sponsored and/or affiliated organization.

  • Receive limited support from the university in regards to risk management and insurance protection.

  • Receive no support from the university in regards to liability protection, legal advice, and contract review unless the organization is planning to host/sponsor an event that will require approval by the Event Authorization Committee. University resources will be available in relationship to such an event.

Registered organizations may receive third priority consideration for:

  • Memorial Union Student office space allocations process 

  • Reserving university-wide annual events at the Iowa State Memorial Union and outdoor venues through the event management process.

Registered organizations will need to follow appropriate criteria and guidelines from each respective entity to receive these benefits.

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