Student Organization Standards
Though these policies are contained within the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) website, unless otherwise noted, they pertain to student organizations in Campus Recreation, the Office of Religious Life (ORL), and the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. Policies specific to ODUS groups may be found at the bottom of lists, noted by [ODUS].
Student organizations are meant to serve and be led by current Princeton University students. While they are encouraged to seek advice, ideas, and guidance from other members of the community, student organizations are created and managed by students. Governance, budgetary and programmatic priorities, and decision-making rest exclusively with student organizations themselves.
Student organizations must abide by the general University Regulation and policies appearing in the current edition of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, policies set forth on this website, with additional policies on the websites of Campus Recreation, ORL, and the Pace Center. Sport Clubs, religious organizations, and service-oriented groups are also responsible for policies contained on their home departments websites.
- In accordance with the University’s policy of equal opportunity, the organization may not, on the basis of personal beliefs or characteristics such as political views, religion, national or ethnic origin, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability unrelated to program requirements, exclude persons from participation in, deny person the benefit of, or subject persons to discrimination under any of its educational programs or activities.
- While the mission of some student organizations may be very specific or cater to the interest of certain groups of students, membership in all organizations recognized by the USG and registered with Campus Recreation, ODUS, ORL, or the Pace Center must be open to all students. Participation in a student organization can only be limited through talent-based auditions (singing, theater, dance, writing) with prior notice to Campus Recreation, ODUS, ORL, or the Pace Center.
- All events (held either on campus or off campus) must be registered and approved through the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students prior to any preparations being made. Use the links below to register your event with the appropriate department.
- While student organizations are encouraged to seek opportunities for collaboration, we do not permit groups to co-sponsor events with non-university organizations. Outside organizations may contribute (including financial support) to student organizations, but all decisions relating to the event must reside solely with the undergraduate student organization.
Participation in Student Organizations
The primary purpose of student organizations registered with the University is to provide activities and leadership opportunities for students.
- Student organizations are strongly encouraged to make all events and activities open to the student body. In most instances, funding support from ODUS and the Projects Board requires that events be free and open to all undergraduate students.
- Students on voluntary or non-voluntary leave may not be involved in student organizations in any way. If a student has been separated from the University for academic or disciplinary reasons and is awaiting the outcome of an appeal, the student may not represent the University on or off campus in any activity, performance or competition. Any questions about the scope of this prohibition should be directed to an ODUS staff member.
- On occasion, participation in the activities of some groups is open to others who are not currently enrolled students (e.g. a child actor in a play) but such arrangements must be discussed with your home department (Campus Rec, ODUS, ORL, or the Pace Center) in advance. In the event that any undergraduate member of a group expresses concern about the involvement of a non-student in student organization, the interests of the student member(s) always takes precedence.
- Student organizations may have connections with external (non-University) organizations, but such connections do not extend any of the privileges of a recognized student organization to the external organization. Students may share opportunities sponsored by non-University groups, but in doing so must be explicit that they are separate and independent of both the student group and the University.
- The activities of fraternities and sororities do not qualify for student organization recognition. Refer to Rights, Rules, Responsibilities for prohibitions specific to fraternities and sororities.
- [ODUS] Graduate students may participate in activities of the undergraduate student group and hold leadership positions other than President or Treasurer.
- Student organizations are not permitted to conduct activity during the summer months when the University is not in session, unless given specific authorization from ODUS.
It is our expectation that student organizations and their members are truthful regarding all financial matters. Misuse of University funds (including money earned and held by your group) is subject to individual student discipline. In addition to consequences for the group as a whole, individuals will be held personally responsible for policy violations.
- Responsibilities Financial officers (i.e., Treasurers) are responsible not only for being aware of University and home department policies, but also for articulating these policies to their fellow group members.
- Ask Questions All members of student organizations are volunteers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the University systems, regulations, and policies. Rather than risk a violation of University policy, we strongly advise you to ask questions whenever you may be in doubt.
- Assistance Contact your home department or the Financial Service Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
- Additional Information See the Financial Policies for additional information.
Student organizations are fully recognized and supported by the University; for example, student organizations are granted the tax-exempt status of the institution and are able to conduct events on campus in the same manner as departments. The University seeks to give student leaders as much autonomy and responsibility as possible in order to create a dynamic learning environment for student leaders and participants. We believe that self-directed co-curricular life on campus is a defining characteristic of a Princeton education for which the entire University community benefits.
In light of this relationship, it is necessary to articulate guidelines and policies by which organizations, and individual students acting on their behalf, must conduct their activities. All registered student organizations are governed by the policies outlined in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities. In addition to these University policies, student organizations are required to adhere to the policies established by their sponsoring departments.
As articulated in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities 2.1.3, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students has a long-standing charge to develop, articulate, and enforce policies related to student organization activity. In the interest of promoting transparency, peer-based leadership, and accountability, ODUS has instituted a more nuanced student group accountability process called the Student Group Accountability Board (SGAB). Additionally, with the SGAB being made up of student representatives from entities that are involved with various parts of the student organization life cycle, an important feedback loop will be created. Thus, the activities of the SGAB will play an important role in identifying ways in which we can improve student processes such as officer training, Projects Board funding, and the new student group recognition process.
Please visit Student Group Accountability Board for more information.
Actions that threaten or endanger in any way the personal safety or security of others will be regarded as serious offenses. These actions, conducted on campus or while off campus on official student activity business, are strictly prohibited.
Misrepresentation of Organization Intentions
When conducting business with staff of the University, students are expected to represent honestly the intentions of their organization. These expectations apply to all communications, both formal and informal, among student leaders and University offices.
Misuse of University Property
Students are prohibited from using University property for personal business.
At Princeton University academics should be every student’s foremost priority. Involvement in student organization activity does not supersede academic commitments. Students will never be “excused” from class or coursework even for approved organization events or travel. However, ODUS can verify or confirm a student’s involvement in approved student organization events or travel if such confirmation is required. Professors or advisers who would like to verify this information should contact Dean Dunne.
Under federal law, the University is "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for [any] elective public office." Additionally, "no substantial part of the activities" of the University may be directed to influencing legislation. The University may not endorse, or provide or solicit financial or other support for candidates or political organizations.
For more information please see:
- Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 1.5: Guidelines Relating to the Tax-Exempt Status of the University and Political Activities
- The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
Conducting Student Organization Activities
Student organizations are fully recognized and supported by the University. In light of this relationship, it is necessary to articulate guidelines and policies by which organizations, and individual students acting on their behalf, must conduct their activities.All registered student organizations are governed by the policies outlined in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities. In addition to these University policies, student organizations are required to adhere to the policies established by their sponsoring departments. If you have any questions about general policies, please contact us.
Most student organizations are affiliated with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Campus Recreation, the Office of Religious Life or the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. However, many academic or administrative offices often support student directed initiatives or projects. Please consult with your sponsoring office.