New Student Organization Recognition

New Student Organization Recognition 

Thank you for your interest in contributing to our campus by creating a new student organization at Harvard College.

Before beginning the steps to apply for recognition, keep in mind that College’s recognized student organizations are independent and must maintain local autonomy, meaning they cannot be a division or chapter of a national organization or foundation. Furthermore, recognized student organizations should serve our community and uniquely contribute to our campus. Students should consider carefully the unique impact of their organization and whether or not existing recognized student organizations already serve similar purposes before beginning the Recognition Application process.

Our office and the Harvard College Undergraduate Council (the UC) have developed a new Student Organization Recognition process that entails an application submission, a meeting with a designated staff member, and a proposal presentation to the UC. Then, the Committee of Student Life (a committee of both students and staff) will grant prospective organizations Provisional recognition at the end of the fall semester. Provisionally recognized student organizations hold all privileges granted to fully recognized groups, however, they will be subject to review by the UC after one year. If still in good standing at that time, the UC will approve their promotion from Provisional to an established Recognized student organization of Harvard College. See the timeline below for more clarity.

The New Student Organization Application is now closed. 

Please note that late applications will not be accepted, and there will be no opportunity to apply for Recognition in the Spring term.  The Recognition process only occurs once a year, in the Fall. The deadline for submitting the provisional recognition application is October 1.

The recognition process for a new student organization begins in the Fall term of an academic year and commences in the Spring term of the following academic year. For instance, an organization that applies and is provisionally recognized in Fall 2019 must be reviewed for full recognition in Spring 2021.

This timeline briefly outlines the process for becoming a new student organization for groups applying in the Fall Term of 2019:

Timeline for New Student Recognition for Groups Applying in Fall 2019

By October 1, 2019: Apply for Provisional Recognition on TheHub. The application includes several questions, requires a draft constitution, an advisor agreement, and a list of 10 undergraduate students interested in joining the organization. Make sure that you have a solid plan for leadership succession, and that your group does not substantially replicate any other groups that already exist.

Selected dates in October 2019: Meet with a designated staff member to go over expectations. Designated staff members are listed on the application and will reach out about scheduling this meeting once you’ve submitted your online application.

Selected dates in October 2019: Interview with the Rules Committee of the Undergraduate Council for Provisional Recognition. Set out several goals for your group. A 30 minute interview with the group's initial leaders to make sure your group has a solid plan for operating after being recognized. The interview often covers the group’s constitution, financial plan, and leadership plan, so be prepared. The Undergraduate Council is interested in whether your group has a solid plan to be viable and not fall apart, not the substance of the kind of group you are founding (as long as it does not duplicate an already existing group). 

November 2019: Find out if your group has been provisionally recognized by the UC and DSO! You'll receive information about attending a mandatory training to complete the approval process. 

December 2019-Spring Term 2021: Your group is provisionally recognized and has full funding, RoomBook privileges, and access to resources like a fully recognized group. However, note that your group must interview in the Spring Term of 2021 for full recognition. Make sure to keep updated officer info and emails in TheHub ( so you can receive information about recognition and mandatory activities for club leaders. Failure to do so could lead to your club losing recognition.

February 2021: Interview with the Rules Committee of the Undergraduate Council for Full Recognition. Almost all groups that interview and have been working towards their group’s goals are fully recognized, but a common cause of losing recognition is failing to show up to the interview (despite multiple inquiries), so please make sure your information on TheHub is up to date and your leadership team plans for this! 

By March 31, 2021: Find out if your group has achieved full recognition! Groups that achieve full recognition are independent student organizations and generally only need to send their leadership team to the Student Engagement Office to go over expectations once a year. 

At the beginning of each semester, the Student Engagement Office hosts a required Student Leaders Forum. Groups that elect officers between February and August will attend a forum in September. Groups that recognize groups between September and January will attend a forum in February. At these forums, student leaders will learn about policies for which they are responsible, TheHub and Roombook, and upcoming opportunities for student orgs.


Questions? Please email the staff at the SOCH.

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