Student Organization Management

Ethics and Core Values for Purdue Student Organizations

Purdue Recognized Student Organizations (RSO) work closely with the Student Activities and Organizations area, and are by association, linked to the goals and values of Purdue’s Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Core Values of Student Focus, Success, Excellence, Integrity, Diversity, Accessibility, Professional Development and Collaboration can all be found in the expectations held for each and every RSO here at Purdue.

Expectations for all Organizations

Every Recognized Purdue Student Organization will:

  1. Be student led and managed by student officers.
  2. Have an advisor who is a full-time faculty/staff.
  3. Adhere to the policies and procedures of Purdue University.
  4. Provide opportunities for student members to:
    • Experience leadership and general student self-development.
    • Have high expectations in areas of responsibility and accountability.
    • Strive for excellence and professionalism in programs.
    • Understand integrity and value high standards of ethical behavior.
    • Honor traditions and culture of all members, nurturing diversity and the unique contributions of all individuals.
    • Promote accessibility by making sure every student can participate in programs or events sponsored by student organizations.
    • Develop professionally in visioning, strategic planning and budgeting.
    • Develop skills of collaboration, creative thinking and problem solving by utilizing teamwork, honest communication and support.

Constitution

Your organization’s constitution states the fundamental principles that govern its operation, but not specific procedures for operations. The Bylaws establish the specific rules surrounding processes like elections and you should be following those processes. The purpose of the constitution is to provide current and potential members with information about:

  • What the organization mission and purpose are and what the organization does
  • How to and who can become a member
  • How the organization is run, including the structure of elections, meetings, duties and more

Bylaws detail the procedures your group must follow to conduct business in an orderly manner. They provide further definition to the Articles of the Constitution and usually can be changed as the needs of the organization change. Bylaws must not contradict provisions in the Constitution.

Bylaws generally contain specific information on the following topics:

  • Membership (selection requirements, resignations, expulsion, rights and duties).
  • Dues (collection procedures, any special fees, when payable).
  • Duties of Officers, unless mentioned in the constitution (powers, responsibilities, specific job descriptions, removal and length of office).
  • Executive Board, unless mentioned in the constitution (structure, composition, powers).
  • Committees (chairpersons, meetings, powers, duties).
  • Order of Business (agenda for conducting meetings).
  • Parliamentary Authority (provisions for rules of order, generally Roberts Rules of Order – Newly Revised).
  • Amendment Procedures for your organization.
  • Other specific policies/procedures pertaining to your organization’s operations.

Making sure every member (including new members) has a copy of the organization constitution will help to unify and inform at the same time.  This document is posted in your BoilerLink profile page for all members to access. They will clearly understand the purpose, and see possible opportunities for their involvement to grow as an active member.  This is not something that should be kept only to officer transitions.

Leadership Transitioning and Development

Every organization will have to transition with elections and new officers at least one time per school year.  This transition is one of the most critical times for communication between the new and outgoing officers and/or advisor.

Every organization should build a transition process which accurately reflects the principles which are most important and the critical, role-specific duties of each officer. This transition should be built on a timeline, so elections are held and there is ample time to complete a thorough transition process. Being a successful leader involves sharing information in a manner which can have time to be digested and questions can be asked. Every organization needs to consider a transition plan that goes beyond the required processes for filing forms and signing documents.  For help with developing this process for your organization, contact our office for a consultation appointment.

Recruitment and Welcoming New Members

Every organization should have informed knowledge of the history of their organization, and part of that history should include how the organization recruits and trains their new members.

At no time, and in no situation, is hazing ever an accepted method of training new members in any organization.  Making sure the culture of hazing is not part of an organization, is the responsibility of every single member. New members should be educated on how to recognize hazing and how to report it.

Purdue offers several open opportunities for recruitment on a mass scale, including events such as the Boiler Gold Rush and Boilermaker B-Involved Fair at the start of the fall semester. These events, plus the Activities Bonanza and several other early year events will be free or low-cost options for organizations to meet new and returning Purdue students by tabling, displays or exhibitions. In addition, every organization can have callouts or welcome new members at any time during the year, based on your organizations constitution or processes.

New members, once you have them, need to feel welcomed and involved as quickly and successfully as possible. On a campus of over 40,000, student organizations are usually a first step towards making Purdue feel like home to a new student.  Every organization should make commitments to the following steps of this process, in order to be successful:

  • Recruiting new members.
  • Orienting new members.
  • Running an effective new member meeting.

Help with this structure and process is available from your advisor or from the Student Activities and Organizations staff through consultation appointments.  Once your organization has found a good way to introduce your new members to the group, they will be one step closer to retaining their members. The initial connection is important and it will be the first few meetings that will decide the level of commitment a student will make to the organization. Remember, too, these new members, in a year, will be involved in recruiting other members, so proper planning at this stage will benefit the organization in the near future.

Sponsoring Events as an Organization

For you as an organization member, an organization may spend a lot of time creating and implementing events. These events, which are sponsored by student organizations, will create a campus-wide image for the organization at Purdue. Every organization should make sure their events they run each year are in line with the purpose of the organization, as written in the constitution. If you question if an event is appropriate for your organization, refer to the constitution.

Student organizations will transform and change during their time at Purdue. As the student membership will change, so will the group, to some extent. Constitutional amendments are allowed and should be considered if your organization finds a conflict between how the members of an organization currently function, and the existing approved constitution. The other option is to review and change events that this organization sponsors, to be more in line with the original intent of the group. There is no one correct way, and because organizations are student led, change is expected. Centering a group on the constitution is always a great way to focus in on the specific purpose and types of events an organization should sponsor.

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