University Recognition through SOA is how Student Organizations apply to become eligible for benefits and resources, and indicates a formal relationship with OSU; therefore, a high level of accountability from the Student Organization is required. RSOs are expected to maintain alignment with OSU’s mission while acting in good faith in the business dealings of the organization and 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 shall not misrepresent the mission, purpose, or goals of the Student Organization.  OSU maintains the right to deny or rescind University Recognition to a Student Organization that, in the sole judgment of OSU, does not further the teaching, research, and outreach and engagement missions of OSU.

Following is additional information on the various RSO types, RSO eligibility, registration requirements and benefits of recognition.

RSOs are legally separate entities from OSU and function solely under the direction and control of the Student Organization's Members. Except as specifically identified in policy or explicitly written in any sponsorship agreement, the University does not control or accept responsibility for the activities nor endorse the programs of student organizations.

RSOs are not permitted to use "Oregon State University", "Beavers" or any derivation thereof in the organization's name, except as a location. Groups chooosing to include the university name as a location must list "at Oregon State University" or "at OSU" after the organization's name.

RSO Eligibility.  To be eligible for University Recognition, the following must be true:

  • Student Organization represents the interests of its Members and control of the Student Organization must be maintained by OSU Students.
  • Maintain at least 4 OSU Student Members including a minimum of 2 Officers, with one serving as the primary Student Organization contact and the other as the primary Student Organization financial officer.
    • Students taking a term off during the academic year are only eligible to serve in an Officer role if they were at least minimally enrolled the term immediately before the term off and will be enrolled the term immediately following. Students that do not enroll the term following their term off must be removed from the Officer role.
  • Members create, manage, amend, and approve the Student Organization’s governing documents.
  • Members determine the Student Organization’s leaders through defined election, appointment, and removal processes outlined in the Student Organization’s governing documents. 
  • Members direct, control and execute all business and decisions of the Student Organization.
  • Members determine, coordinate, plan and execute Student Organization activities, including seeking university approvals for use of campus space and facility reservations.
  • Members serve as the primary contacts for the Student Organization.
  • Members may not be working as OSU employees in their Student Organization capacity, nor receive any on-going compensation from OSU, the Student Organization, or affiliates of the Student Organization for their Student Organization service or membership.  Examples of compensation include wages, scholarships, stipends, housing, and term meal plans.
    • With pre-approval in writing from SOA, allowances to Members to cover expenses for temporary, special service to the Student Organization are allowable for up to 2 activities annually. Service may last no longer than one academic term and may be divided in up to 3 disbursements.
  • Student Organization must operate exclusively on a not-for-profit basis.
    • All funds that are raised by or on behalf of the Student Organization must be used for fulfilling the purpose and mission of the Student Organization as stated in its governing documents.
    • RSOs are prohibited from raising funds, investing, or making profits that are then obtained by or distributed to an individual for personal financial gain.
    • Prizes and awards from third parties outside OSU and the Student Organization that are won by individuals while representing the Student Organization in competition may be administered to those individuals at the discretion of the Student Organization.
  • In alignment with OSU’s non-discrimination policies, the Student Organization does not restrict membership based based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. (Notwithstanding the foregoing, national social fraternities and sororities are permitted to retain their same-sex membership status).
  • Additionally, the following are ineligible for University Recognition:
    • Student Organizations whose primary purpose is an activity which is prohibited under the law.
    • Living Groups operating outside of University Housing & Dining Services or those not supported through the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life.  
    • Student Organizations whose primary purpose is youth outreach and engagement.
  • In consultation with Insurance and Risk Management Services, Student Organizations whose primary activities are high risk may be refused University Recognition or be assigned enhanced requirements before becoming eligible for University Recognition.


Recognition includes 3 potential RSO designations:

  • Voluntary Student Organization (VSO)
  • Sponsored Student Organization (SSO)
  • Affiliated Student Organization (ASO)

RSO designation is within the discretion of the SOA.

Student organizations that meet requirements outlined in Recognition Process information below shall be Recognized as a Voluntary Student Organization unless designated as an ASO or SSO by SOA.

An SSO is an RSO that functions under the guidance and support of a Department, while maintaining Student Organization Member direction and control.  Sponsorship is indication that the Department views the organization’s efforts as contributing to the department’s goals, and therefore commits itself to provide formal support for the organization and its endeavors during the term of sponsorship.

  • To become an SSO, an RSO must meet the requirements for Annual Recognition and complete an annual sponsorship agreement.
  • All SSOs are RSOs, but not all RSOs are SSOs.


Annual Sponsorship Agreement

Completed annually as part of the University Recognition process, Annual Sponsorship is a formal agreement that establishes a sponsorship relationship between a Department and an RSO. The agreement outlines any special benefits (optional) and expectations of that relationship, and provides the RSO access to specified OSU services and resources if facilitated by the Department.  An Annual Sponsorship agreement is required when a Department grants ongoing Department resources to an RSO. Once the agreement is fully executed and approved by SOA in its sole discretion, the RSO is designated as an SSO.

The following are conditions and expectations that are required to be in every Annual Sponsorship Agreement:

  1. Department approves the faculty serving as the Faculty Mentor in support of the organization.
  2. Must be initiated by the RSO and reviewed, approved and accepted by the Department Head (or designee), the Faculty Mentor & the RSO.
  3. Can be terminated at any time by SOA with written notice to the Department and the RSO.  

ASOs include:

  • Individual fraternity and sorority chapters supported by the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • A Student Organization that is not eligible for RSO General Liability Insurance
  • A Student Organization that chooses to maintain its own liability insurance

In addition to meeting the requirements for annual recognition, general liability insurance is required to be obtained and maintained by the ASO in order to become recognized. 

  • The ASO designation is determined at the sole discretion of SOA.  All ASOs are RSOs, but not RSOs are ASOs. 

General Liability Insurance requirements for ASOs:

  • Proof of insurance - Certificate of Insurance (COI) - must be on file with SOA before the ASO can be recognized.
    • Proof of $1 million in general liability coverage is required.
    • At the discretion of a facility manager, proof of higher general liability coverage may be required prior to being allowed to use OSU facilities for high-risk Activities.
    • Oregon State University, its trustees, officers, employees, and agents must be additional insured on any required insurance policy. 


To become recognized and maintain recognition as a RSO, the Student Organization must:

  • Meet all RSO Eligibility requirements outlined above.
  • Annually complete the Registration outlined by SOA, including:
    • Annual recognition form, including an Annual Sponsorship Agreement (where applicable).
    • Review and revise, as needed, Student Organization governing documents.
    • Complete all orientation and training requirements for Officers and provide confirmation of completion of orientation and training requirements for Faculty Mentors.
  • Maintain an accurate roster of current Officers and Members on file with SOA. 
  • Maintain good standing with OSU Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, all governing boards to which the Student Organization belongs and all chartering, sponsoring or governing organizations with whom the Student Organization affiliates.
  • Submit an activity report for all on-campus activity, including meetings, to SOA in advance of the activity.
  • Complete all quarterly and annual reporting requirements to SOA.

Upon completion of the annual University Recognition process, RSOs become eligible for certain OSU benefits and resources as detailed below.  To simplify processes, reduce confusion and minimize liability, benefits are administered through SOA, which manages the processes and procedures for access.

  • Departments cannot provide RSOs access to any of the benefits outlined below outside of the SOA process. Those who choose to facilitate access outside of the processes defined by SOA, assume full responsibility and liability for the process and associated Activities.
  • Department Student Organizations do not receive benefits differently than other OSU Departments and must access OSU resources in the same way as their Department.


Baseline Benefit Eligibility

Unless specifically noted below, the following benefits are available to all RSO types, including VSOs, SSOs and ASOs.

  • Listing of current information in the Student Organization Directory
  • RSO Website
  • RSO Email Address
  • Request and use of RSO Fund Index for RSO business
  • Reserve University Space for RSO Activities1
  • Request Funding from a Department, including RSO Grants 1,2
  • General Liability Insurance coverage for on-campus activities1,3

1Activities must be reported in advance through the SOA event reporting process.   
2RSO must have an active RSO Fund Index.
3As noted in 6.6., ASOs are not eligible for this benefit


Benefits for SSOs 

Through Annual Sponsorship, an SSO may become eligible to access these benefits at the discretion of the sponsoring Department and if consistent with applicable law and University policies and standards.  Access must also be facilitated through the sponsoring Department. 

  • Departmental Annual Funding – SSOs only
  • University Motor Pool4
  • Use University logos and trademarks4

4Any RSO may also become eligible for these benefits with the execution of an Activity Sponsorship Agreement.



Any undertaking in the name of, sponsored by, organized, financed, or endorsed by a Recognized Student Organization.

A formal written agreement between an ASO and a University department that establishes a temporary collaboration and outlines resources, roles, expectations, and processes associated with a sponsored Activity.

An individual working in a relationship with an RSO that allows for education, development, and support for an RSO, which are not a part of the individual’s OSU employment responsibilities.

Individual fraternity and sorority chapters supported by the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, a Recognized Student Organization that is not eligible for RSO General Liability Insurance, or a Recognized Student Organization that chooses to maintain its own liability insurance.

A formal written agreement between a Recognized Student Organization and a Department, establishing affinity and outlining additional benefits, resources, and expectations on an annual basis.

An academic, student affairs, or auxiliary unit of OSU. This includes but is not limited to a college, school, office or program.

A Student Organization that operates under the supervision and authority of a Department. A Department Student Organization is not a Recognized Student Organization.

An OSU academic or professional faculty member in formal support and mentorship relationship with an RSO, as a part of the faculty member’s OSU responsibilities.

Non-profit cooperative Student Organizations providing room and board to OSU Students in a residential facility. These organizations generally host close-knit communities of OSU Students living together based upon some fundamental intellectual or cultural theme, each with its own unique culture, expectations, and requirements for membership.

OSU Student who is eligible to vote or hold Officer positions within a Recognized Student Organization.

Member elected or appointed by a Student Organization to direct, control and execute Student Organization business.

An individual with an active OSU Network ID (ONID) who is currently enrolled in any OSU or degree partnership program and not employed by OSU in a position that is a half-time equivalence (0.5 FTE) or higher.  May also be referred to as an OSU Student.

A status gained through successful Registration of an eligible Student Organization. Voluntary Student Organizations, Affiliated Student Organizations and Sponsored Student Organizations are Recognized Student Organizations.  Department Student Organizations are not Recognized Student Organizations.

The process a Student Organization takes to become a Recognized Student Organization, or to become visible as a Department Student Organization to the OSU community.

An affiliation of Students bound by an interest, goal, work, or community. May also be referred to as a club, organization, or Recognized Student Organization, and includes but is not limited to associations, chapters, coalitions, groups or teams.

An RSO in a formal, sponsored relationship with a Department.

The Department responsible for providing administrative oversight of the Student Organization program.

A status, granted by Student Organizations and Activities (or designee), to a Student Organization upon successful completion of all Registration and training requirements - which allows access to university benefits, if the terms of Recognition are followed by the Student Organization. 

The primary Recognized Student Organization designation.  This means that all RSOs are VSOs, unless they fall into the more limited categories of SSO or ASO.