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 this policy or expressly written in any sponsorship agreement, the University does not control or accept responsibility for the activities nor endorse the programs of student organizations. There are 2 potential designations beyond recognized for some RSOs - Sponsored (SSO) and Affiliated (ASO).

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. 
  • ASOs are not eligible to become SSOs.


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. 


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 restricts membership 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:
  • 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.
  • RSO designation is within the discretion of the SOA.

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

  • Meet all eligibility criteria
  • 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

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

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


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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

The 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.

Affiliated Student Organizations are ineligible for annual sponsorship.

Faculty Mentor

Faculty mentors work collaboratively and proactively with RSO Officers to help the RSO meet the organization’s stated purpose and goals. Faculty Mentors also support, guide and work with Student Organization Officers and leaders to ensure fair, intelligent, and reasonable decision-making that is consistent with applicable law and OSU policy and standards.


Each RSO is recommended to have a Faculty Mentor. If the RSO elects to have a Faculty Mentor, the process for selecting one is determined by the Student Organization, with the specific responsibilities of the Faculty Mentor to be discussed and agreed upon by the Student Organization and the potential Faculty Mentor. SSOs are required to have a Faculty Mentor who is approved and employed by the sponsoring Department Head (or designee).


Faculty Mentors are required to complete SOA Faculty Mentor orientation and training requirements.

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.

RSOs 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 RSO index cannot be used to support charitable causes.  Alternatively, and RSO can raise and collect funds for charitable causes through an off-campus checking account if they have one.