Skip Sub Menu

Start an Organization

New Student Organization Process - Current Moratorium

Until further notice, students that are interested in forming a Registered Student Organization (RSO) are encouraged to apply for Temporary Registration status.

The Drake Student Handbook provides a framework for Registered Student Organizations (RSO) At Drake. Part III: Student Life, Student Organizations, Registration, part 1 states-

“Temporary registration: Temporary registration consists of the approval of a student group by the Assistant Dean of Students for a period not to exceed one semester. During this time, the group must submit a constitution and bylaws to progress toward full registration. Extensions may be granted at the discretion of the Assistant Dean of Students. This provision allows new student groups to organize with limited use of University facilities, as determined by the Assistant Dean of Students.”

Student Senate has temporarily put on hold the RSO approval process. During this time, if a student organization has fully and completely submitted all paperwork to the Vice President of Student Organizations, the Assistant Dean of Students will grant at his discretion Temporary Registration status to the group for the remainder of this semester.

Temporary Registration status will allow for 2 options to “organize with limited use of University Facilities”

  • Organizational meetings: until further notice, all Registered Student Organizations and Temporary RSOs are required to hold any meetings in a virtual format. Registered Student Organizations and Temporary RSOs that believe they have a compelling reason to meet in person should email Should the request for in-person meetings be granted, the RSO or Temporary RSO will be able to reserve rooms in the Olmsted Center over VEMS and must comply with all Drake policies related to COVID-19.
  • Tabling in Helmick Commons: tabling is not and should not resemble an event. These are for the purpose of spreading word about your organization and determining student interest. Tabling should not involve any events that require contracts, outside speakers, waivers, etc. Your organization may collect names and contact info for interested students and market your organization. Temporary RSOs must abide by all campus policies related to COVID-19 and guidance from the Division of Student Life.

Temporary RSO meetings should be to maintain organization and touch points with members and should not be inviting guests or the general public. Temporary RSOs must abide by all campus policies related to COVID-19.

If your organization would like to put on an event while you are waiting to be considered for RSO status, you must do so in collaboration with an already established RSO and follow all Drake policies related to COVID-19.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Vice President of Student Organizations, Ian Klein,

New Student Organization Process

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) at Drake University enhance the student experience by allowing students to explore their interests and passions outside of the classroom setting with fellow students. Although there are a diverse array of registered student organizations that currently exist – including sports clubs, multicultural organizations, service organizations, and many, many more – Drake students are continually seeking to start new organizations with their own unique mission. This web page serves as a resource for students interested in forming new registered student organizations at Drake University.

First, students are encouraged to check the list of current registered student organizations to see if there is an RSO that already exists whose mission is similar to the RSO they are interested in creating. If not, students are encouraged to review the following steps that students must follow in order to create a new registered student organization. These steps are also contained in the Registered Student Organization Handbook.

Steps for Creating a New RSO



1. Complete this form to request temporary RSO status for the student group. The form will be reviewed first by the Vice President of Student Organizations.. After your group submits its request for temporary RSO status and passes the initial review by the Vice President of Student Organizations, your group will be invited to a meeting with the Assistant Dean of Students to discuss temporary RSO status, who has the authority to grant temporary RSO status.


2. Set up a meeting with the Director of Student Life, (insert name). Appointments can be made by searching (“insert name”) in Starfish, which can be found on myDrake.

  • In this meeting, students will be able to ask questions about the process of creating a new RSO, as well as receive help, guidance, and advice.

3. Maintain temporary RSO status for one semester. Student groups must hold temporary RSO status for at least one semester before being eligible to apply for registered status. A temporary RSO will have met the “one semester” requirement if the date of their approval for temporary RSO status was before the 4th Friday of the semester in which they requested temporary RSO status. For student groups interested in getting full RSO status in the fall of 2021, they must receive approval for temporary RSO by February 26th, 2021.

During the time in which the student group is a temporary RSO, they should be working to meet the other requirements that temporary RSOs must meet before being eligible for registered status. Those requirements are listed below:

  • The temporary RSO must have at least 10 students as members before being eligible for registered status.
  • The temporary RSO must have an Executive Council. Each RSO is required to have a president; a treasurer is also required if the student group will utilize any funds. Other Executive Council positions could include a Fundraising Chair, Social Media Officer, etc.
  • The temporary RSO must create a constitution/bylaws (note: a rough draft of a constitution is required for temporary RSO status). A sample constitution is provided The constitution must contain all Articles listed in the sample constitution; student groups are allowed to include additional articles to their constitution as needed.
    • Constitutions must contain a purpose/mission statement, a commitment to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct, and a commitment to adhere to the University Non-Discrimination Statement.
  • The temporary RSO must obtain a faculty or staff advisor. The faculty or staff advisor must be a current employee and have a current Drake email account and agree to advise the student group.
  • At least one member of the temporary RSO must meet with the designated Drake faculty/staff support within their student group’s RSO category. This document contains further information.
  • The temporary RSO must hold two general meetings (including all interested students) and two meetings of only the Executive Council. A brief summary (about 200 words) of each meeting will be required for submission in the temporary RSO’s request for registered status.
  • The temporary RSO -- if affiliated with a local, regional, national, or international organization – must have documents prepared describing the relationship between the student group and the affiliated organization. If such documentation cannot be submitted, the student group shall explain why in a written statement when the student group makes its request for registered status.

4. Complete this application for full RSO status. It will be received and reviewed by the Vice President of Student Organizations.

5. Meet with the Organizational Council. The Vice President of Student Organizations will contact the president of the temporary RSO to set up a time to meet. At this meeting, the temporary RSO will briefly explain why the group is seeking RSO status and will answer questions from the Organizational Council. The Organizational Council will determine if the temporary RSO meets all the requirements listed above and will conduct a review of the group’s documents.

6. The Organizational Council will determine whether to refer the temporary RSO to the Drake University Student Senate, which has the power to approve or deny requests for full RSO status. The president of the temporary RSO will be notified by the Vice President of Student Organizations on when the temporary RSOs request for full RSO status will be considered by the Drake University Student Senate.

7. Have a member or members of the temporary RSO attend the Drake University Student Senate meeting in which the group’s request for full RSO status is being considered. Members of the temporary RSO should be prepared to talk about their group. 

If a majority of Student Senators approve the request for full RSO status, the temporary RSO then gains full RSO status.

8. If your student group has been approved for RSO status, the RSO president will receive information from the Director of Student Life on finalizing the process.

Criteria Used by Organizational Council and Student Senate to Evaluate Requests for RSO Status


The Organizational Council takes its obligation to review requests for RSO status seriously, and seeks to treat all applicants with respect and fairness. Applying for RSO status takes time, energy, and effort from students seeking to form a new RSO, and the Organizational Council recognizes this and honors it by having established criteria by which to evaluate all student groups requesting RSO status. Below are those criteria.

  • Sustainability of the organization: What is the probability the potential RSO will sustain past 2-3 semesters? Does the university have the facilities and resources to support your organization? Does the membership span across multiple year classifications? Is there a strong recruitment strategy?
  • Distinctiveness: Would the existence of the potential RSO provide a community for particular members of our larger campus community?
  • Necessity: Could the potential RSO exist and thrive without RSO status? (i.e. within a department or division on campus)
  • Mission and Values: Does the potential RSO align with the stated mission of the university?
  • Risk and Safety: Does the potential RSO propose a physical safety risk that is outside of the parameters of the institution? If, for any reason, the activities of the group are not covered by Drake insurance policies, the group will not be approved.


The Student Senate is strongly encouraged to use these five criteria to inform individual decision-making on voting to approve or deny a request for RSO status.


University News