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Start a New Student Organization

Application Dates for 2015-16


Application Opens Deadline Decision Notification Completion Deadline

Sunday, September 27, 11:59 pm

 Friday, Oct 23, 11:59 pm (Week 5)

Friday, Nov 20 (Week 9)

Friday, Dec 11
(Finals Week)


Sunday, December 6 11:59 pm 

Friday, Jan 29, 11:59 pm (Week 4)

Friday, Feb 26 (Week 8)

Friday, March 18 (Finals Week)


Sunday, Feb 28, 12 am

Friday, April 22, 11:59 pm (Week 4)

Friday, May 13 (Week 7)

Friday, June 10 (Finals Week)

Application Notes

  • Applications will not be reviewed until after each quarter's deadline.
  • Until approval is received, use of the Stanford name, event planning and fundraising is not permitted. Doing so could jeopardize the status of your application.
  • Your work must be 100% completed by the deadline in order to be fully approved as an organization.
  • New organizations will be on probation for one year.
  • Groups requiring significant university resources including faculty/staff time, space, funding (in excess of $10,000) and general oversight may be asked to complete a small prototype before they can submit an application. A prototype is considered a modest, "test project" that can be done without significant university resources. In these situations satisfactory completion of your prototype will be required prior to accepting a full organization application.
  • See SAL's Peer Advisors early so they can assist you with your application. Please understand that it is best to first meet with a SAL Peer Advisor before you start so that they can assist you in your approach.

A copy of the application can be found here.

Important Notes

  • Your idea should be one of general appeal to the student body.
  • It should not duplicate existing student orgs and their programs. Collaboration with existing groups is our highest priority.
  • Your idea should support the educational mission of the university and meet its policies and procedures. You should have an already committed group of students who are interested in supporting your activity for a sustainable period of time.
  • You should have a plan that ensures the sustainability of your org for a period of three years or more.
  • You should have a realistic plan for how you can obtain financial support for your activity within the financial resources of the university and ASSU. A realistic funding plan is a key component of your ability to be sustainable.

Before You Begin

  • With over 650 formally recognized student organizations, Stanford has a variety of ways to get involved. Student groups are a vibrant part of student life at Stanford and are always looking for energetic new members and creative new initiatives. Before starting a new organization, ask yourself the following:
    • Is there already an organization on campus that I can join to accomplish our intention? If so, this is often the best approach.
    • Do I have the time and energy to start and maintain a student organization?
  • Please note that organizations inactive for a year or more who seek university recognition must re-apply through the new organization application process described here.

The Application Process

Step 1: Develop Your Initial Idea

There may be a broadly recognized yet unmet need, and you may have the bandwidth to meet that need, but what are you going to do? Talk through the following questions:

  • What do we want the organization to do?
  • What would be the mission and purpose of the org?
  • What activities would future that purpose?
  • How would we garner the necessary resources to support these activities?
  • Why would Stanford students want to be a part of this organization?
  • Review the Criteria for New Student Orgs

Step 2: Review Information and Policies About Student Orgs

There are many policies of which you must be aware when managing a student organization. Review a complete list of applicable policies before proceeding further.

Step 3: Have an Initial Feedback Meeting with a Peer Advisor

An organization that receives feedback early in its creation is most likely to succeed. Before you apply, have some (or all!) of your organization leaders have a comprehensive meeting. We can tell you what ideas have the most traction and which need additional consideration.

  • Ready for your feedback meeting? Check here to see when SAL student staff are in the office.
  • If there is sufficient time you can also share your draft proposal with a SAL Peer Advisor for feedback before you apply.

Step 4: Submit a New Student Organization Application

Take some time to answer the questions on the New Organization Application Form. To apply:

  • Once you see a SAL staff person you can join the CardinalSync New Organization Portal. In your request message, include your name, a brief group description, the name of the SAL staff member you met with, and the date of your meeting.
  • Once you are approved to join the portal you can access the application.
  • Applications will not be reviewed until after that quarter's deadline.
  • Important Note: Submitting an application does not guarantee recognition.

Step 5: Review by SAL Organization Review Committee

The Org Review Committee* will review your application. The committee works hard to review all applications within 2–3 weeks of the deadline.

Depending on the nature of the proposed group, you may need to refine your proposal, seek approval from other university departments or take additional steps.

*Comprised of ASSU leaders representing the Undergraduate Senate and GSC as well as SAL Peer Advisors. Staff representatives are staff with advising responsibilities for student organizations and include reps from Haas, Athletics, SAL and other departments. 

Step 6: Notification of Approval, Deferral or Denial

Based on the Review Committee's decision, you will be notified of the status of your proposal. 

  • If your application is approved you must complete the recognition process by the deadline in the approval notification; otherwise you will not be an approved organization.
  • On occasion, a group may be asked to reapply because the "good idea" did not satisfactorily address the application criteria. Re-application does not guarantee approval but can lead to approval in the next round. Groups may reapply once.
  • Groups that are denied may appeal to the committee asking for reconsideration and should begin by meeting with a SAL Peer Advisor and then scheduling a meeting with the Director of Student Activities and Leadership. 

Step 7: For Approved Groups—Meet with your SAL Peer Advisor

  • Draft a constitution. Your constitution must meet specific criteria; review the guide to drafting a constitution.
  • Your SAL peer advisor will make a CardinalSync portal for your organization on CardinalSync. Complete your registration at
  • Have your financial officer attend an ASSU Banking Workshop so you can begin applying for funding.
  • Have your president attend a New Leader Transition Workshop.

Step 8: Open an ASSU Bank Account

Contact SSE Banking to get an account number and set-up your bank account.  

Step 9: One-year New Org Probation

New student organizations are on a one-year probation and are only considered a full-fledged student organization once they have successfully completed their probationary status.  During the probationary year groups are ineligible to apply for ASSU Special Fees or off-campus fundrasing. The goal is to spend the first year developing the organization and a proven plan of activities before major resources are committed or funding sought.