POL-U8610.02 Recognizing Student Clubs

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

July 13, 2023

Revised Date:

October 31, 2023

Approval Date:

July 10, 2023

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to any Student Club or student-initiated voluntary organization/association seeking university recognition.


Well-run student clubs enhance the student experience. Following university policies and standards, including this policy and related standards and procedure, helps ensure the safety and responsible administration of clubs and their activities.


Advisor/Club Advisor

An individual designated by the Student Club or the Club Activities Office as the club’s advisor. If there is no Student Club Advisor designated by the Student Club, the university may choose a designee.

Club Leaders

Student members of the Club who hold leadership positions in the Club as described herein and who are on file with the Club Activities Office and listed in the Western Involvement Network (WIN) as leaders of the club.

Campus Affiliate Departments

University offices, programs, or departments which establish documented affiliations with, and provide some structural support to, recognized Student Clubs.


See definition in WWU Student Conduct Code (WAC 516-21-020).

Student Club

A voluntary organization or association that has been granted official recognition by the university and that is initiated, led, and sustained by student members. Student Clubs may also be referred to as “Clubs.”

Exceptions: The student body government and its established programs, residence hall councils, department-led student employment, and academic programs with experiential or out-of-the-classroom components. These areas are not considered Student Clubs.


Policy Statements

1. The Club Activities Office is Authorized to Grant, Suspend, or Rescind Club Recognition

Operating under the purview of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, Club Activities Office staff will review and approve requests for club recognition, manage the annual re-registration process, and maintain a listing of currently active clubs. The Club Activities Office may suspend or rescind such recognition based on non-compliance with this policy or related Club Standards document . 

2. The Club Activities Office is Responsible for Developing and Maintaining Student Club Standards and/or Procedures

No additional description for this statement.

3. Student Clubs Must Adhere to all Applicable Policies, Standards, and Procedures

All Student Clubs must adhere to the requirements of this policy and to the associated Club Standards as cited in this document, the Student Code of Conduct, University policies and any applicable federal and state laws.

4. Student Clubs Must Meet Requirements

Student Clubs must meet the following requirements for recognition:

  1. The purpose of the organization must be consistent with the mission of WWU, Enrollment and Student Services division, or ASWWU.
  2. Non-discrimination: Membership must be available to all currently enrolled WWU students on a non-discriminatory basis. 
  3. Club Members: Clubs must be established with, and maintain, a minimum of five (5) currently enrolled student members.
  4. Club Leadership: Clubs must designate, in initial and annual re-registrations, a minimum of two (2) student members who will serve as club leaders or officers.
    1. Clubs may not restrict leadership positions based on characteristics protected by Western’s non-discrimination policy (POL-U1600.02 Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation). 
    2. Club leadership may be restricted based on unprotected criteria such as major, minor, university class standing (e.g., first year, senior, graduate student, etc.), GPA, length of club membership, or affiliated organization membership. These restrictions must be explicitly stated in the club’s constitution and must be approved at the time of recognition or annual re-registration. 
  5. Club participation is strictly a voluntary activity. Clubs may not establish employment relationships and may not pay or compensate members or advisors. 
  6.  Club Constitutions: Clubs must submit a constitution or other foundational guiding document during initial recognition and annual re-registrations following requirements set out in the Standards.
  7. Unique Clubs: The purpose or mission of a club must not create a duplication of an existing campus organization or department.
  8.  Club Eligibility: The following types of organizations are ineligible for university recognition:
    1.  Registered businesses or non-profit organizations,
    2. Groups that are engaged in commercial enterprise or that would use the club for personal financial gain,
    3. Organizations acting as a shell, or front, for a non-WWU organization in order to circumvent accessing campus resources as a private entity,
    4. Groups engaging in activities that would be too high-risk or potentially hazardous to be permitted, as determined by a risk assessment consultation between the Club Activities Office and the Office of Risk Management.
  9.  Co-Curricular Focus:  While a club may support the University's academic mission, it shall not have as part of its purpose the granting of academic credit.
  10. Non-student Participation: At the discretion of club members, leaders, or WWU affiliate departments, non-students may be allowed to participate in the meetings and activities of the club. However:
    1. Non-students shall not be considered members of the club, may not hold leadership positions, or vote on club matters.
    2. Participation by non-students may not limit or interfere with the participation of student members.
    3. The number of non-students who regularly participate in a club’s activities may not exceed twenty (20) percent of the total student membership.

5. Clubs Receive Certain Benefits and Resources After Officially Recognized

These benefits include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Use of the WWU name and graphical imagery as authorized by the University and applicable campus departments in accordance with established branding standards or guidelines.
  2. Use of campus facilities and services such as print and copy services, event and technical support staff and other cost-incurring services. 
  3. Further benefits and resources may be outlined in the Club Standards or a Campus Affiliate Department’s documentation.

6. Advisor(s) for Student Clubs May be Required

  1. The Club Activities Office, in consultation with any Campus Affiliate Department, may require a club to have a WWU faculty or staff advisor based on certain factors. Examples include the nature of the club’s activities, complexity of financial management, actual or perceived risks associated with the club’s activities, etc.  
  2. University faculty and staff who serve as club advisors may be required to register as an official volunteer through Human Resources.
  3. Clubs may have non-university community members serving as advisors or coaches. All sports coaches and any non-university advisors must be registered as an official volunteer through Human Resources.   
  4. The Club Activities Office or Campus Affiliate Departments may establish standards or expectations of club advisors.

7. Campus Affiliate Departments May Establish Affiliations with Recognized Clubs

Campus Affiliate Departments must develop and make publicly available procedures or standards for Club Affiliations, which may not supersede, supplant, or conflict with the provisions of this policy, that clearly describe:

  1. the purpose or nature of the relationship between the department and its affiliated student clubs, and
  2. the criteria necessary for a club to become affiliated with the department, and
  3. the benefits and responsibilities extended to clubs through the affiliation.

These affiliations may involve additional benefits and responsibilities, as determined by the Campus Affiliate Department and described in the above guidelines.

Campus Affiliate Department can grant, suspend or rescind affiliation according to their procedures. This process is separate from overall club recognition.

8. Student Clubs May Be Sanctioned, Suspended, or Dissolved

Student Clubs that violate laws, the Student Code of Conduct, University policies, or Club Standards will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Violations that occur through the acts of students, whether acting as individuals or on behalf of the club, will be adjudicated by the Office of Student Life. 

Violations relating to Club Standards or administrative policies and procedures not included in the Student Code of Conduct (e.g. financial, posting, custodial procedures) will be managed by the Club Activities Office. 

Sanctions may include but are not limited to restrictions on access to campus resources, being placed on a probationary status, suspension of club recognition for a period of time, full dissolution of the club, educational or administrative sanctions placed on individuals involved in violations, or any other interventions determined appropriate by the Club Activities Office or Office of Student Life. 

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  • POL-U8610.01