FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Organizations and Recognition

Financial

Space and Events

Promotions

Hazing


What student organizations exist on campus?
You can find a list of last year’s Recognized Student Organizations here. Otherwise, visit engageSC for a comprehensive list of and contact information for each group. Back to Top

How can I get involved in existing organizations?
The Involvement Fair is an excellent starting point. Campus Activities organizes the Involvement Fair for the first Wednesday and Thursday of each semester. You can also visit engageSC and search for groups by topic and interest. The Peer Leadership Team is available to help you find groups to get involved with. Back to Top

How does my student organization apply to be a Recognized Student Organization?
The recognition process occurs during the first month of each semester. The recognition deadline for the fall is Friday, October 1st at 5pm. For more information, visit the Campus Activities website or contact the Peer Leadership TeamBack to Top

How can I start a new organization?
New student organizations may start up at any time during the academic year, except in the summer. To begin the process, visit the Campus Activities website. The Peer Leadership Team is available to assist you in the new recognition process. Back to Top

If there is already an existing student organization with a similar purpose, can I still start a new one?
Only if your group has a sizable and recognizable difference in goals and missions. Your group will need to make a distinction in order to avoid confusion and overlap. Back to Top

What are the benefits of being recognized?
Once an organization is recognized, they are able to utilize the following benefits:

  • post notices on campus, within the University posting policy {see SCampus Posting Policy}
  • use of a campus mailing address
  • reserve campus facilities for events and programs in addition to organizational business meetings
  • apply for a USC website and/or e-mail account
  • apply for university funding (including student program fee funds)
  • receive a discount on selected facilities and equipment rentals
  • use of name, logo, or other trademarks of the University {See Trademarks and Licensing}
  • access to the USC Credit Union to open a student organization checking account
  • post events using the “Trojan Info Center,”  the lighted message boards in front of the Student Union Building Back to Top

Should we have an adviser? Why?
Yes, all student organizations are required to have a full-time USC Faculty or Staff Adviser. This person will help your student group achieve its goals, offer feedback on activity, and facilitate professional development. Back to Top

We are affiliated with an off-campus group. Does this make any difference?
Simply submit a copy of the constitution, articles of incorporation or a similar governance document of the external organization for the University’s approval. Where conflict arises, the University’s policies and regulations supersede those of the external organization. Back to Top

Can we get a mailbox?
If you are a recognized student organization, you may have mail sent to the following:

Attn: Your Organizations Full Name
University of Southern California
Office of Campus Activities SKS 410
3607 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3103

Back to Top

Can we get a webpage? Email/Website Request Form
Yes, Recognized Student Organizations are eligible to have its own USC website. Back to Top

Can we get an e-mail address? Email/Website Request Form
Yes, Recognized Student Organizations are eligible to have its own USC email address. Back to Top

Can we send mass e-mails to students announcing our events?
No. Instead, Recognized Student Organizations can submit announcements to go on Campus Activities’ weekly newsletter. To submit an announcement please send your message with contact information and no attachments to stuacts@usc.edu by 11:59 p.m. on the Sundays before you want to message to be sent. Back to Top

Can we be selective in our membership?
All USC students, faculty, and staff are eligible to be non-voting members of all Recognized Student Organizations. All voting members and officers must be currently enrolled USC students. An organization can be more selective in their requirements for voting members (i.e. currently enrolled business majors). Organizations will not discriminate on the basis on age, race, religion or creed, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation – all are welcome to go through the selection process. Back to Top

Our group is religious/spiritual in nature. Is there anything different we have to do because of that? There are specific processes for Recognized Student Groups of this nature. Please read the instructions on the Office of Religious Life Student Organizations Recognition PageBack to Top

Can anyone vote in our organization? Only currently enrolled USC students are eligible for voting privileges. Any additional requirements are at the discretion of the organization. Back to Top

Can anyone be an officer in our group? Only currently enrolled USC students can be officers. Any additional requirements are at the discretion of the organization. Back to Top

Are there any leadership resources to help our student organizations leaders develop their skills?
Yes, our office hosts L.E.A.D. workshops especially geared towards helping students become more effective leaders over their organizations. You are encouraged to participate, as leadership skills are important when it comes to student organizations.  Back to Top

Can I sign a contract?
No. If you do sign a contract that makes you personally liable and responsible for the contract terms. Only the Vice Provost of Student Affairs signature is acceptable on a contract. Back to Top

What is the difference between an organization and an assembly?
An assembly is an umbrella organization for similar organizations and is part of Program Board. An organization’s membership in an assembly is voluntary; for example, a Latino student organization may belong to the Latino Student Assembly or may choose not to belong. However, there are advantages to belonging to an assembly, such as funding, access to office space and art supplies, and public relations and webpage assistance. Back to Top

Can student organizations use USC’s Tax ID number?
Student organizations do not have access to the University’s tax identification number and therefore, cannot accept tax-deductible donations. However, student organizations can be associated with a campus (academic) department which would be willing to accept the donations. If your organization is affiliated with an outside (off campus) organization which has a tax number, that organization may receive tax-deductible donations on your organization’s behalf. Back to Top

How does a student organization open a bank account?
Student organizations may open a bank account with the USC Credit Union.  These accounts CANNOT accept any University money.  Please go to the Credit Union to establish the account.  You will need:

1. A completed Account Authorization Form from the USC Credit Union.

2. A copy of your recognition letter sent to you when your organization received recognition.

3. A completed signature card with at least two students and the adviser (provided by the USC Credit Union).

4. A completed Tax Identification Form (provided by the USC Credit Union)

Back to Top

How can my organization(s) get money for its programs?

Visit Funding Resources Website.

How can my organization(s) get money for operating expenses?

1) Discretionary Board offers money as “start up funds” to new student organizations for basic office supplies and equipment

2) If a student organization needs money for other expenditures they can charge or seek donations

Most of the financial assistance granted for student organization focuses on programming needs (money to help fund a program). If an organization needs money for other expenditures they can charge their members dues, seek donations from departments, charge for programs or try fundraising activities.
For new clubs, Discretionary Board offers money as “start up funds” for up to several hundred dollars for basic office supplies and equipment such as banners. Back to Top

Can we make a profit on our organization’s project?
Student organizations may make a profit to support its educational goals. However, individuals may not profit either financially or with free products/gifts/services. Back to Top

Can we charge dues?
Yes. Dues must be used to off-set the costs of programs, travel and organization related expenses. Dues may not be used for individual gain and/or purchase or substances. Back to Top

Can we use university money for alcohol?
No. Membership dues, fundraising revenue, or University funding (etc.) may not be used to purchase any sort of substances. Back to Top

If I spend money, can I get reimbursed?
Your organization may reimburse you for certain purchases if you have prior approval. That is between you and your organization. You will not be reimbursed by the University. Back to Top

What are the rules regarding selling food?
Often organizations want to sell food as a fundraiser. However, USC is governed by the same food policies as local restaurants. Therefore, organizations must receive prior approval from both Hospitality Services and the Office of Safety and Risk ManagementBack to Top

How can we reserve space on campus?
All recognized student organizations may reserve space for meetings. To reserve space please go to the Scheduling Office’s websiteBack to Top

Only recognized student organizations may reserve facilities for events and programs. The Scheduling Office aids all users of their facilities in planning and producing successful events. Scheduling reservations are made on a first come, first serve basis; and the Scheduling Office does not guarantee that facilities for groups will be available. No advertising can be done before an event is confirmed. Back to Top

Can we have alcohol at our events? – SCampus
The possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the University of Southern California campus is governed by appropriate state and municipal laws and is further governed by University regulations. The University Policy concerning alcohol, applicable University regulations, procedure for dealing with an alcohol violation by a student organization, and a definition of possible sanctions for student organizations are discussed in the complete policy. Back to Top

Can we hold events off-campus?
Yes, events may be held off-campus. However, the University’s Alcohol and Drug Policy still applies. Off-campus events may not be eligible for program fee funding. Back to Top

If we hold events off-campus, who is liable if something goes wrong?
Potentially the groups officers, individual members, advisers and any other organization the group may be affiliated with, such as a local or national organizations, may be liable. Just because an event is not on campus, does not excuse the group from adhering to campus policies. In fact, a student group may face judicial procedures on campus as well as off-campus depending on the seriousness of the violation. The University accepts no financial, tort, or other liability for the action of student organizations or their members. Back to Top

Can we conduct a lottery or raffle? – SCampus
Free drawings and raffles must conform to California State Law. The University may legally give door prizes, generally as a promotion to encourage people to attend an event. Back to Top

How do we arrange for parking on campus? – Transportation Services
Contact Transportation Services, make a reservation and then confirm the reservation at the gate that the guest(s) will be entering through on the day of the event. Back to Top

What if an activity we want to do is high risk (travel, physical activity)?
The Office of Campus Activities can provide you with waiver forms that you can have signed. Be sure to visit USC’s Risk Management website. Back to Top

Can we decide who can and cannot attend our events?
If you are receiving funding from the University for a program, the program must be open to all USC students or have approval to limit attendance. If your organization is paying for an event just for its members, then you may limit the people invited to the event (socials, formals). Back to Top

How can we get a table?
Student organizations may rent tables and chairs through Trojan Event Services. They are rented on a first come, first serve basis. Back to Top

Can we have amplification at an event? – SCampus
The use of outdoor areas for amplified events is limited by the nature of the given area and the probability of sound interference with official University functions. Generally, amplification is allowed Monday through Friday from 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm in Hahn Plaza. Please contact the Trojan Event Services for specific requirements and to reserve the space. Back to Top

Can we host social events at any time? – SCampus
In order to enhance the academic experience of all students at the University of Southern California, major social events and sponsored parties are to take place on Friday and Saturday and not on evenings preceding days when classes are scheduled. Typically, activities governed by this policy have one or more of the following characteristics: alcohol is present; there is amplified music (live or recorded), or the event lasts beyond 10:00 pm. This policy is not designed to discourage events which support the academic mission, expand cultural, intellectual or educational awareness of USC students. Back to Top

Can we have a protest event on campus?
Yes, you can have a protest event on campus. They are treated the same as other events on campus and as such must be planned accordingly. Back to Top

Can student organizations use the USC name and logos? – USC Identity Program
Only recognized student organizations are permitted to use the USC name, logo and other trademarks. Please see Trademarks and LicensingBack to Top

How can we get business cards? – Purchasing
If your student organization is interested in purchasing business cards please contact the Peer Leadership TeamBack to Top

What kind of behavior constitutes hazing? What is wrong with hazing? – SCampus Policy

  • Hazing is a felony in the State of California
  • Hazing is against the rules and regulations of the Student Conduct Code of the University of Southern California. If individuals are found guilty of violating these rules, they maybe expelled permanently from the University.
  • Organizations that participate in hazing functions are subject to permanent disassociation from the University. The future of the organization is in jeopardy if members of the organization participate in hazing.
  • Hazing is a threat to life and personal safety and is a violation of the rules of common decency.
  • Hazing is outmoded, antiquated and thoroughly unacceptable. It is a custom that has no place in today’s University.

Back to Top