There are several different student organization types at OSU. Below, we outline the basic characteristics of each type.

RSOs are autonomous student organizations that contribute to student learning and are critical to the mission and culture of OSU; operate under a Tax Identification Number registered to their specific organization; and are legally separate entities from Oregon State University.  RSOs are responsible for legal compliance, fiscal accountability and maintaining student organization policy and community standards, including ensuring member adherence to the Student Conduct Code and any University agreements.

There are two types of RSOs: University Student Organizations (USO) and Affiliated Student Organizations (ASO). Click the buttons below to learn more about OSU's student organization policies.

SOR Manual RSO Policies Overview SOR Manual RSO Recognition Eligibility

An USO will operate under the umbrella of OSU and have no legal/tax status outside of the University. While recognizing the importance of student leadership and the autonomy of the student organization, USO status indicates a formal relationship with the University; therefore, a high level of accountability from the organization and support from a Faculty Mentor is required.

Because of the University's status as a governmental entity and tax-exempt charitable organization, certain student organizations are not eligible for university status.

*Organizations with a legal/tax status external to OSU

*Organizations with a bank account external to OSU

Living groups living in property owned or managed by a non-OSU entity

Philanthropic organizations or groups whose primary purpose is to raise money for charitable causes

Organizations with an advisor who is compensated or assigned by someone other than OSU

**Local chapters or affiliates of other incorporated organizations

Partisan political organizations

Faith-based organizations

* Student groups who close their non-OSU bank accounts and/or cancel their tax status will become eligible for USO recognition. OSU will provide legal support for student groups who would like to rescind their tax status.

** Chapters/affiliates that operate independently remain eligible.

SOR Manual SSO Policy

An ASO will be legally be a separate entity from OSU and function solely under the direction and control of its student members. Because of their affiliation with OSU and focus on OSU student membership and development, organizations recognized as ASOs will eligible for access to certain OSU benefits and resources upon completion of registration and training requirements. No faculty/staff advisor is required for recognition under this classification.

NOTE:  ASOs will likely be required to maintain liability insurance coverage in order to host activities on the OSU campus.  A final determination and overview of those requirements are expected by the beginning of Spring term

SOR Manual VSO Policy

Baseline Benefits

The following are the proposed benefits intended to be available upon completion of the annual recognition process. Where applicable, activities must be reported in advance of accessing the benefit. Benefits may still be adjusted before finalization.

Baseline Benefit USO ASO
Listings of Current Information In the Student Organization Directory yes yes
Club Index RSO Fund Agency
University Space- Meetings Yes Yes
SOA Activity Grants-Meetings Yes Yes
Club Website yes yes
Club Email Address Yes Email Forwarding Only
Liability Insurance Coverage Through OSU Yes No
Use "Oregon State University", "Beavers" or Any Derivations Thereof in the Student Org Name Yes No
Departmental Sponsorship Yes No

Advanced Benefits

The following proposed benefits require additional optional training and education in order to unlock access.  Where applicable, activities must be reported in advance of accessing the benefit.  Benefits may still be adjusted before finalization.

Advanced Benefit USO ASO
University Space – Open/Special Events Yes *Yes - COI required
SOA Activity Grants – Open/Special Events Yes **Yes – Direct payment only
Departmental Funding for Activities Yes **Yes – Direct payment only
TULIP (Special Event) Insurance Yes Yes
Motor Pool Yes No
Philanthropic Work ***Direct Donations Only Yes
P-Card (credit card) use/access Yes Yes

* In order to host open/special events or to access motor pool, ASOs must provide a certificate of insurance naming OSU as also insured.

** Due to limitations of a ASO index, funding unit may be required to make purchases on behalf of the organization.

*** Money cannot be donated to other entities from an OSU account or index.

USO Only Benefits

The following proposed benefits are only available to USOs and require additional optional training and education in order to unlock access.  Where applicable, activities must be reported in advance of accessing the benefit.  Benefits may still be adjusted before finalization.

Use University logos and trademarks
Procurement and Contracting
OSU & OSU Foundation Fundraising
OSU Contracted Services, including Travel
E-Commerce (Limited duration only)
OSU Surplus Access


DSOs provide students positional roles of leadership as employees or as official volunteers of OSU.  Departments fully support the success of the student organization through supervision of its members, professional development, mentoring and advising.  DSOs are comprised primarily OSU students as determined by the department.  Although DSOs are not recognized student organizations, DSOs can register through the Student Org Database managed by the department of Student Leadership and Involvement to support visibility of and access to these organizations to OSU students.


If the answer is yes to any of the following, the organization is not eligible to be a DSO and should pursue recognition as a University Sponsored Organization (USO) or Affiliated Student Organization (ASO). If the answer to all 3 is no, review DSO Key indicators.

  • Is the organization religiously focused?
  • Is the organization a political
  • Does the organization maintain a tax identity number separate from Oregon State University

Click the button below to learn more about OSU's DSO policy.

SOR Manual DSO Policy

New Classification Structure Information (Implemented on July 1, 2021)

RSOs contribute to student learning and are critical to the mission and culture of Oregon State University. RSOs are responsible for legal compliance, fiscal accountability and maintaining student organization policy and community standards, including the Code of Student Conduct and any other applicable University policies or agreements. RSOs are provided access to resources, education and development through the Student Organizations and Activities Office (SOA), housed withing Experiential Learning and Activities, a department of Student Experiences & Engagement.  In the updated model, there are still two types of RSOs: University Student Organizations (USO) and Affiliated Student Organizations (ASO).

In order to be eligible for University recognition (USO or ASO), the following must be true:

  • Organization represents the interests of its members and control of the organization must be maintained by OSU Students
  • Membership consists of 100% OSU Students and at least 4 currently enrolled OSU students
  • Members create, manage, amend and approve the organization’s governing document/s
  • Members determine their own leaders (election and removal) through a process defined and outlined in their governing document/s.  This includes:
    • Officer/Leader eligibility and selection criteria
    • Officer/Leader election and/or appointment
    • Officer/Leaders roles and responsibilities
  • Members direct, control and execute all business and decisions of the organization
  • Members determine, coordinate, plan and execute organizational activities, including campus space and facility reservations
  • Members serve as the primary contact/s for the organization
  • Leaders and members of the RSO may not be employees of OSU in their student organization capacity, nor receive any form of compensation from OSU for their student organization service or membership
  • Organization must operate exclusively on a not-for-profit basis
    • All funds that are raised must be used for fulfilling the purpose and mission of the organization as stated in its constitution
    • RSOs are restricted from raising funds, investing, or making profits that are then obtained by or distributed to individual members of the organization for personal financial gain
  • Organization must comply with OSU’s non-discrimination policy, which prohibits restrictive clauses based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status (Note: National social fraternities and sororities are permitted to retain their same-sex membership status)
Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

The concept of sponsorship will remain with the new classification model but will focus only on the relationship/affinity between a student organization and an OSU department or program.  The following describes the sponsorship relationship:

Sponsorship is a formal written agreement between an University Student Organization and an OSU Department that establishes an affinity relationship between the USO and department.  Completed as part of the annual recognition process, the sponsorship agreement outlines any special benefits (optional), expectations and accountability measures.  A sponsorship agreement is only required if granting an USO on-going use and access to department resources or an annual budget.  If being provided an annual budget, request for funding is submitted separately through a funding request.

Affiliated Student Organizations are ineligible for department sponsorship.

ASO Advisors

ASOs are not required to have an advisor as a condition of recognition.As such, if the ASO elects to pursue an advisor, the process for selecting an advisor is determined by the organization, with the specific responsibilities of the advisor to be negotiated and agreed upon by the organization and the potential advisor.

USO Advisors

Each USO is required to maintain a Faculty Mentor who is a member of the OSU faculty (teaching or professional).  Faculty mentors to USOs work collaboratively and proactively with student leaders to help the USO meet its stated goals and purpose. Advisors also support, guide and affiliated with student organization leaders to ensure fair, intelligent and reasonable decisions and actions within the boundaries established by applicable state, federal and local laws, OSU rules/policy, and the mission of OSU.

Faculty Mentor Expectations

  • Take an active role in advising the organization.
  • Know the general purpose of the organization and be familiar with all provisions outlined in the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
  • Support student leaders with annual review of the organization’s governing documents (constitution & bylaws) and/or guiding policies to ensure accountability by the student organization
  • Be a role model, demonstrating professional, ethical and positive behavior
  • Build a relationship with the officers and the current members of the organization
  • Meet with the organization’s leadership on a regular basis (at least twice per term)
  • Establish with the student organization leadership the manner and frequency in which the mentor will participate in the organization’s meetings (at least once per term) and other activities, e.g., programs, social events, etc.
  • Promote co-curricular learning through organizational development and management, goal setting, program planning, problem solving and group evaluation
  • Act as a resource to the campus for communication and issues related to the student organization
  • Be a facilitator and a resource for student leaders in the interpretation of and compliance with OSU policies & procedures
  • Advise leaders in planning and executing organization activities, including reaching out to SOA for support when needed
    • Support student organization leaders with the timely reporting of organization activities to allow for visibility, risk assessment & insurance considerations
    • Complete training and educational requirements for Faculty Mentors
  • Maintain awareness of student organization financial matters

No.  Due to OSU's status as a non-profit, governmental entity, funds cannot be donated to external organizations from any OSU account/index.

USOs wishing to raise funds for charitable causes will need to arrange for direct donation methods with the organization intended to receive funds.  This means working with the organization to create a way for folks to donate directly to the cause in the name of the club, rather than to the club itself. Funds from an USO index cannot be used to support charitable causes.

ASO can raise and collect funds for charitable causes through an off-campus checking account if they have one or through the direct donation method noted above.  Funds from an ASO index cannot be used to support charitable causes.

Any organizations with an off campus bank account, that would like to be a USO, need to have their account closed by July 1st, 2021. 

USOs will be able to access SOA Grant Funding, event funding from a department on campus or annual funding from a department on campus. 

ASOs will be able to access SOA Grant Funding and event funding from a department on campus. ASOs will not be able to request annual funding from a department, meaning that a department cannot allocate a lump sum of funding per year to an ASO.  

The only other difference is that ASOs will not be able to have funds transferred into their Agency Fund Index for costs that are external to OSU. SOA or the funding department will need to purchase those items through the department index.