Student Organizations
Section 000: Introductory Material
Effective July 1, 2010
Revised: May 4, 2016


Student organizations are living laboratories in which leadership skills are gained and honed while giving students an opportunity to pursue their interests, to succeed, to fail and most importantly, to grow. Not all academic classrooms provide the opportunity to take responsibility and have accountability at the level that involvement in a student organization will allow.

Leadership is not merely a collection of skills; leaders must forge their style through experiences that allow them to build and apply organizational and individual capacities for the public good. Student organizations are one of the few opportunities students have to gain hands-on experience working towards the public good. 

Oregon State University (OSU) recognizes that student organizations create a compelling learning environment that prepares students to live and work in a multicultural society and global community.  The University recognizes that all students should have access to form and join organizations of their own choosing to enhance the educational experience, support holistic personal development and retention.

The following values serve as a compass for OSU in determining the classification and support for student organizations:

Alignment - As advisors, administrators, educators, students and student, we are aligned with the core mission and values of Oregon State University.

Access - We believe that a student’s ability to form and join organizations of their own choosing is a high priority.  As a result, we are committed to having clear & visible, student- friendly resources and processes that facilitate ease of access.

Engagement - We recognize the value of co-curricular and academic involvement throughout the student experience and are dedicated to facilitating partnerships with students that support shared accountability, responsibility and learning. Through engagement with student organizations, students develop leadership and organizational skills, which enhance knowledge, holistic growth, community development and student retention.

Health & Community - We support clubs and organizations that enhance our community by providing opportunities for leadership, learning, diversity, and social responsibility.  The health of the community will be one of purposeful, open, safe, just and celebrative outcomes.

OSU’s student organization recognition process creates an environment that supports a facilitator model of relationship as defined in The Rights and Responsibilities of a Modern University.  In this book, Bickel and Lake (1999) contend that “The vision of a facilitator model university illustrates what is reasonable and positive in the relationships among students, universities and the legal system…. A legal paradigm that asks colleges to exercise reasonable care…and asks students to be accountable…is fair, balanced and safer, and contributes to a sense of community.”

In the classification system, OSU departments and student organizations share the responsibility in the development, practices and outcomes of the student organization.  With clarity of roles, benefits and expectations, the process described herein will lead to a fair, balanced, safe and involved community.