Frequently Asked Questions


For more information, or if you have any other questions, consult the Student Organization Handbook, Event Planning Handbook or contact the Campus Activities Office at (607) 255-4169, or email activities@cornell.edu.

For general information about OrgSync, including how to setup a website, send messages, manage groups, etc., visit OrgSync's Help Desk.  The Help Desk includes great resources, including HOW TO videos, and other resources, which can help you take full advantage of the great tools OrgSync offers student organizations.

  1. How do I start a student organization?  Is there a deadline for registering?
  2. How do I know if my group is Independent or University?
  3. Do fraternities and sororities need to register?
  4. How can I reserve space for meetings and/or events for my organization?
  5. How can my organization reserve a table on Ho Plaza or in Willard Straight Hall?
  6. Does my advisor have to be a faculty member?
  7. Do I need to register my organization every year?
  8. Can my organization get webspace or an email address?
  9. How can my group get money for programs?
  10. How do I know if I need to register my event/program?
  11. What should I do if I want to hold a fundraiser and/or sell merchandise on campus?
  12. Can someone help me plan an event?
  13. How can I get a contract for a speaker or performer?
  14. Where can I find a list of Cornell policies and procedures?
  15. Can my group have office space or mailboxes on campus?
  16. What do I need to do if I want to use Cornell's name, logo, or artwork?
  17. Does my organization have insurance?

How do I start a student organization? Is there a deadline for registering?

Before starting an organization, follow the link to Search Organizations to see if an organization already exists that might be similar to the one you want to organize. If so, contact the president and/or advisor to discuss joining the organization. If no organization exists, you may start an organization by following the three (3) simple steps:

(1) read the guidelines and complete the on-line form at the Student Organization website (follow the link to 'Register Organization');
(2) complete all necessary forms (on-line and hard copy, if applicable), and obtain the necessary digital signatures (officers and advisor);
(3) create the constitution and bylaws for your organization and submit the document(s) as part of your registration.  Information on constitutions and bylaws may be found on the 'Resources' page.

There are deadlines for registering NEW student organizations. Check the registration page for information. If your group was registered last year, you may renew the group at any time.  If you are looking to register a new organization outside of the open registration period, you must see a representative of the Campus Activities Office - 521 Willard Straight Hall.

If you plan on applying for funding through SAFC or GPSAFC, those groups require your organization to be completely registered prior to applying.  Check the SAFC/GPSAFC website for additional information on their policies.

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How do I know if my group is Independent or University?

University organizations are a part of an academic or administrative unit of Cornell University. These organizations have an advisor whose job description (if applicable) includes advising the organization. Independent organizations have an advisor who serves in the role as a volunteer, and it is not part of their job responsibilities. CLICK HERE for more information on Independent vs University student organizations

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Do fraternities and sororities need to register?

Fraternities and sororities who are registered with the Office of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living do not register as student organizations.  Click here for a listing if the fraternities and sororities who are registered with the Office of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living.

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How can I reserve space for meetings and/or events for my organization?

Each building/room has its own policies, and information about reservations.

For a list of buildings and contact people, go to https://registrar.cornell.edu/spaces

For information on reserving space in one of the Community Centers, Campus Life, Willard Straight Hall, Carol Tatkon Center, or CALS, use the R25 Reservation System.

Note that most on-going classroom reservations are done by semester. Check with the building coordinator for information on your reservation.

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How can my organization reserve a table on Ho Plaza or in Willard Straight Hall?

Reservations for Willard Straight Hall or Ho Plaza must be requested on-line using the R25 Reservation System. For questions, please visit 525 WSH between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday.

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Does my advisor have to be a faculty member?

Organization advisors must be a full-time faculty or staff member at their respective Cornell University campus (i.e. Ithaca, Geneva, NYC Tech), and must not be away during the time of their advising (i.e. the advisor may not be away from their campus on sabbatical while serving as advisor to your group). Graduate students may serve as advisors of university organizations if they are designated as such by university departments or units and are supervised by a currently Cornell University faculty or staff member.

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Do I need to register my organization every year?

Groups that were registered in the past do not need to complete the entire registration process again.  Instead, groups that were registered last year simply need to RENEW their organization for the current year.  This basically means that officers need to review the information we currently have on file, and make any updates (officers, events, contact info, etc.),  If your group was not registered in the past, then you will need to register using the organization registration process.

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Can my organization get webspace or an email address?

Yes! Each organization will be provided with a template for their own website as part of the registration process.  If organizations require additional features (i.e. MySQL), they will be responsible for those services themselves. For help building your OrgSync website, visit the OrgSync Website Help Page.

Cornell Information Technology (CIT) provides registered student organizations with Resources Accounts which provides groups with an email address.  CIT also provides e-lists for student organizations.  

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How can my group get money for programs?

The Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC) and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Finance Commission (GPSAFC) fund a number of organizations on campus. Some academic and administrative units also contribute funds to student organizations.  For more information on other funding sources, visit the 'Resources' page.

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How do I know if I need to register my event/program?

Any event or program which meets one or more of the following criteria must be registered using the on-line Event Registration Form (formerly called the Use of University Property form, or UUP):

  • any event held outdoors (with the exception of tabling on Ho Plaza);
  • any event that includes sales or fund-raising;
  • any event that is held in a venue with a capacity of 200 or more people;
  • any event that involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages or food; or
  • any event which may be considered unusual or potentially risky (i.e., controversial speakers).

If you are not sure if your event should be registered, contract the Campus Activities Office at 255-4169.

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What should I do if I want to hold a fundraiser and/or sell merchandise on campus?

You will need to receive approval for any type of fundraiser or sale on campus. You will need to complete the on-line Event Registration Form.

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Can someone help me plan an event?

The Events Management Planning Team (EMPT) is a group of Cornell University staff members who can assist you with the details of planning your event. You may also contact the Campus Activities Office for assistance.

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How can I get a contract for a speaker or performer?

Performer contracts are available by meeting with a representative from the Campus Activities Office. In some cases, if your organization receives funding from the SAFC, you will be required to complete a contract worksheet and performer contract prior to receiving the funds.  For information on using performer contracts, check out the 'Resources' page.

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Where can I find a list of Cornell policies and procedures?

Some policies and procedures for clubs and organizations can be found at this website. A complete list of Cornell's policies and procedures can be found at Cornell University Policy Office's website located here.

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Can my group have office space or mailboxes on campus?

Willard Straight Hall allocates a limited number of offices and mailboxes to student organizations each year. For more info about offices or mailboxes in WSH, visit the WSH Student Resource Center located on the 4th floor of WSH.

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What do I need to do if I want to use Cornell's name, logo, or artwork?

The use of Cornell's name, logo, and artwork must be approved prior to being printed on any merchandise and/or novelty item (this does not include posters). Only approved vendors may print Cornell's name, logo and artwork. Visit the 'Resources' page for links to policies and procedures for using the Cornell name, logo and artwork, and to download the appropriate form.

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Does my organization have insurance?

Through the Student Activity fee, all independent registered graduate and undergraduate student clubs are covered by the student club-insurance policy. University organizations are covered through the Cornell University insurance policy. If you have specific questions about insurance for your club, contact the Office of Risk Management and Insurance at 254-1575.

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For more information, or if you have any other questions, consult the Student Organization Handbook, Event Planning Handbook, or contact the Campus Activities Office at (607) 255-4169, or activities@cornell.edu.

Contact Us

Campus Activities Office
5th Floor, Willard Straight Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
phone: 607.255.4169
fax: 607.255.1116
email: activities@cornell.edu
web: www.activities.cormell.edu

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