Starting an organization

Although there are over 100 current student organizations at Bates, by no means are all interests or activities covered by existing organizations–there is always room for more and you’re always encouraged to start a new organization in order to pursue a collective interest.

To become formally recognized by the college as a student organization, a constitution has to be submitted before the Organizational Review Board (ORB), of the Bates College Student Government (BCSG) for ratification. Formal recognition enables a student organization to have a business account in the Financial Office, blanket blue-slip college facilities, sponsor all-campus activities, and most importantly, participate in the RA’s budget allocations process for funding.

A constitution ensures continuity and provides a framework from which an organization can best achieve its stated mission. Each organization has its own set of rules for decision-making, allocating money, extending membership privileges, election of and roles for officers, which are outlined in their constitution. All matters of the group’s decision making are governed by the constitution, so careful consideration of inter-organization affairs at the onset during the drafting of the document can alleviate procedural problems in the future.

In drafting a constitution, an interest group should pay attention to the following items and include them in the body of the document:

  1. Group Name
  2. Stated Purpose of organization
  3. Terms for attaining membership and keeping membership. Rights and responsibilities of members. Distinctions between decisions to be made by members and decisions to be made by officers. Distinctions, if any, between voting and non-voting members
  4. Officer positions, terms of office, elections times and procedures, and specific roles of each officer
  5. Provisions for amending the constitution (usually 2/3 vote)
  6. Quorum requirements (number of members who have to be present to consider a vote official).

All existing student organization constitutions are compiled in a binder on file in the Student Activities Office and are available to students to review. If you have any questions about how to organize a new group at Bates, the drafting process for a new constitution, or the procedure to have a constitution ratified by the ORB, please see the Director of Student Activities Keith Tannenbaum, or the BCSG Vice-President for Clubs, Paul-Alexis Fourgous. For more information directly from the ORB, please visit: http://batesorb.weebly.com/index.html. To access current and past club constitutions, please visit: http://www.bates.edu/activities/club-constitutions/.