Student Clubs and Organizations FAQ's

Here's some of the most commonly asked questions about student organization processes. If you can't find the answer to your question, contact your SEAL or send us an email!

Getting Involved

How do I become involved in Student Involvement and Leadership? Who do I contact? Where do I look to apply? 

There are plenty of ways to be involved with our department, listed below are a few:

  • To join a student organization as a member, sign in to SPOT and click on Organizations. On the page for each individual organization, there is an option to join it as a member. SPOT is the most up-to-date place to find out what events are coming up, but you can also find events on our SMC website's events page or follow our organizations on Instagram!
  • To become a Student Engagement & Activity Leader (SEAL), please use the GAELEAD Application when the office is hiring. 
  • To become a part of the Associate Students Senate, follow the Election Code and run for a position in the senate when elections are being held.
  • To start a student organization, start here. If you are or plan to be an executive team member of an existing club, start here.

General Questions for Club Executives

Why should my organization be registered?

Registered student organizations through Associated Students have certain rights unavailable to groups not associated with Saint Mary's College of California. RSOs can reserve event spaces on campus as well as tables, chairs, and AV equipment. They also can advertise on campus, access financial resources, be allocated funds from Associated Students, apply for Programming or Development Funds, and gain professional advice from Student Involvement and Leadership staff and the Student Engagement and Activity Leaders (SEALs) who you can find here.

As an executive team member of a club, how do I go about creating an event? 

  • For a virtual event: Start by creating an event submission on SPOT. On your organization’s page, click on “Manage Organization”. Click on the menu icon on the top left and go to “Events”. Click “Create Event” to start a new submission. Be sure to have all information ready including the date and time, online location and any instructions for logging on or registering, any funding needed, and a graphic or picture. Your SEAL will review the event submission and get back to you on next steps. Please submit any events on SPOT at least two weeks in advance.
  • For an in-person event: Start by creating an event submission on SPOT. Your SEAL will review the submission and refer it to the Director of Student Involvement & Leadership. All in-person events, whether on or off campus, must adhere to the Interim Events, Meetings, and Gatherings Policy and require approval by the Executive Policy Group (EPG). You will be contacted by SIL with next steps after your SPOT event submission is received. Please submit any events on SPOT at least two weeks in advance.

 

Who do I contact if I want to update my club's executive for the new school year? What if there is a change in the middle of the school year? Who do I email? 

Contact your SEAL at sil@stmarys-ca.edu to have executive members updated at any time during the academic year.

 

How do I start a club? What are my resources if I want to start a club?

To start a new student organization, start with this link. You will need a constitution, mission statement, staff or faculty advisor, and at least two student executive members (a president and treasurer). Please contact sil@stmarys-ca.edu or the asvporgs@stmarys-ca.edu for more information and registration dates.

 

What are my resources as an executive team member of an existing club?

All student organization executive members have access to resources through SIL and AS. Check the Student Organizations page for current resources on events. The Associated Students page contains information on finances. Each club is also assigned a Student Engagement & Activity Leader (SEAL), who you can find here, that serves as a peer advisor on all things related to running your organization.

 

Who do I talk to if there is conflict amongst my club executive team? 

The staff or faculty advisor serves as a guide for your organization, including interpersonal conflicts.

 

What are the guidelines I give to my club intern once I leave Saint Mary’s? 

Make sure to have interns meet with your SEAL, have a final meeting with interns to pass off any documentation on specific roles as well as any other information, and during the year, have interns plan selected events with the current executive team. It is best to keep the interns informed about the responsibilities of the specific role they are interested in. Have interns meet with you and a different executive team member that works closest with the specific role they are interested in. Make sure to have them attend any club leadership meetings, and do your best to leave them with the most knowledge and experience with the club as you can. 

 

Finances

Can I spend money before it is allocated?

Allocated budgets are meant to be spent in the academic year they are intended for. Therefore, it is a best practice to wait to spend any money until the organization is sure what the account balances will be.

What is the difference between allocated and fundraised accounts?

Every registered student organization can fundraise and add that money to an SMC account. However, only organizations that have been given budget through Associated Students have an allocated funds account. Allocated money is intended for certain purposes outlined in the Associated Students budget, but fundraised money may be used for any organization purposes.

What forms do I have to fill out if I want to request money for an event? 

With the waiving of the student activity fee for the fall 2020 semester, there are no allocated budgets for student organizations. To request funding for an event, fill out the Programming Fund Request on SPOT. From the main page, click on “Forms” and then start a new submission for the Programming Fund Request. Please ensure there is already an event submission on SPOT and turn in your programming fund request by Friday at 4:30PM to be considered by the Finance Committee the following Monday.

How do I raise money for my organization?

There are multiple ways to fundraise. Most commonly, student organizations will host fundraisers on campus, charge an admission fee for an event, or host a fundraiser through a local business. Talk to your SEAL or a SIL staff member for more information related to what your organization hopes to achieve.

How do I know how much money I have left?

Each organization's treasurer is responsible for tracking the fundraised and allocated budgets. However, any student organization executive member can ask the Vice President for Finance or the Administrative Assistant to Associated Students for a copy of the current budget.

Can my organization fundraise for and donate money to non-profits?

Student organization funds are not eligible for donations to other non-profits. However, an organization can organize a separate fundraiser for donations and SIL can facilitate donating money that way.

Can I use a college credit card?

For large purchases or ordering online, student organizations can submit a Purchase Request Form on SPOT. A SIL staff member will use a college credit card and take the money out of the organization's account.

Can I use Venmo during fundraisers?

Currently, the Business Office cannot process funds raised through Venmo or other mobile payment apps. 

 

Event Planning

    How do I reserve a room?

    For general meetings or events, submit an event request on SPOT and SIL will reserve a room for you.

    How do I request tables?

    Tables and chairs can be requested through the Event Request form on SPOT.

    Where do I get a cash box?

    Cash boxes can be checked out from the SIL office for use in fundraisers and other events. Fill out a Cash Box Request on SPOT.

    How do I advertise my event?

    There are several ways for student organizations to advertise. Posters that meet the posting policy requirements can be used in approved locations across campus. Fliers can also be distributed to RAs or added to departmental bulletin boards with approval from each department. Social media is also an effective marketing strategy. An organization can also use digital signage by contacted College Communications. All approved events on SPOT are advertised on the event calendar there. For more information about advertising and marketing, contact SIL or your SEAL.

    Can I show a movie?

    Movies are usually protected by copyright and rights to show the film will need to be obtained before it is shown at an event or other org meeting. Contact SIL for more information on movie rights.

    How do I get help with tech needs?

    Any technology or AV needs for an event can be added to the Event Request on SPOT. Additionally, your org can contact your SEAL for more information about specific technology help.

    What events do we need waivers for?

    Any student organization event with a possibility of injury or other harm to a student will need to have waivers of liability signed by participants before the start of the event. SIL will provide these waivers if your event requires them.