FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Organizations and Recognition

What is a Recognized Student Organization (RSO)?
An RSO is a student organization that has been recognized through Campus Activities. All RSOs must re-apply for recognition on an annual basis.

Is Campus Activities staff available for virtual office hours?
Yes, please follow our social media accounts @USCCampusActivities for updated drop-in hours.
Also you can make an appointment with anyone on our team by emailing them directly. Don’t know who you should be contacting email stuacts@usc.edu and our Peer Leadership Team will connect you with the right person(s).

What are the benefits of being recognized?
All RSOs may:

  • Receive and post messages on the student organization electronic mailing list.
  • Reserve campus facilities for events, programs and meetings.
  • Apply for university funding (including student program fee monies).
  • Conduct fundraising efforts within the stated Sales and Fundraising Policies of the university (see Section G.7. Sales and Fundraising). Student organizations (or individual members while acting in any capacity for the organization) may not: (i) conduct for-profit or commercial activities (or facilitate the for-profit or commercial activities of others), (ii) conduct a business (or facilitate conducting the business of others), or (iii) act as (or create the appearance of acting as) a liaison, representative, agent, facilitator, face or front for another business, person or entity. All recognized student organizations are permitted to fundraise on their own behalf. However, student organizations may only fundraise or pursue activities to benefit their organization, another student organization or an outside philanthropic agency or relief effort. No individual student(s) may receive any type of payment either in the form of money, discounts and/or goods and services.
  • Receive a discount on selected facility and equipment rentals.
  • Post notices on campus, within the posting policy.
  • Access organizational email and web accounts (the university will place the following disclaimer at the bottom of each organization’s website: USC does not control the content herein and takes no responsibility for any inaccurate, indecent or objectionable content, which is the sole responsibility of the student author). Students may not remove or otherwise take steps to defeat this disclaimer. Any attempt to do so will be cause for disciplinary action.
  • Access banking services at the USC Credit Union and/or through Campus Activities.
  • Use the name, logo or other trademarks of the university, while making clear to a reasonable person not from the campus that the organization is a student organization at the university and not the university itself. Use of the name, logo or other trademarks must be consistent with the USC Graphic Identity Program, including those specified in the Sales and Fund-raising Policies (see Section G.7. Sales and Fundraising). For information on Trademarks and Licensing, click here.
  • Use the poster room in Campus Activities office.
  • Post events on engageSC.

How does my student organization apply to be an RSO?
Information about the re-recognition process can be found on the Campus Activities website.
https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/recognition/

What is the difference between an organization and an assembly?
An assembly is an umbrella organization for similar RSOs and is part the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). An RSO’s membership in an assembly is voluntary; for example, a Latinx RSO may choose whether or not to belong to the Latinx Student Assembly (LSA). 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.
To find a list of all student assemblies and contacts, click here.

How can I start a new RSO?
New RSOs may start during the first six weeks of each semester. To learn about requirements and to begin the recognition process, visit the Campus Activities website and contact the Peer Leadership Team with any specific questions.

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

How do I know which RSOs exist on campus?
Students can find  for a comprehensive list of Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) and information for each group on engageSC. Students, faculty, staff, and the general public can also click here for a list of RSOs and contact information.

How can I get involved in existing RSOs?
Many RSOs participate in the Involvement Fair, held the first Wednesday and Thursday of each semester. Club sport RSOs in the Recreational Club Council (RCC) have their own RecFest during the first week of the school year. You can also visit engageSC and search for groups by topic and interest. If you need further assistance, the Peer Leadership Team is available to help you find groups in which to get involved.

What is engageSC?
engageSC is the online platform for campus involvement. Log on to explore the hundreds of RSOs on campus, join existing RSOs, create new RSOs, connect with other students, see a calendar of RSO events, and more.

Can RSOs use the USC name and logos?
Only RSOs are permitted to use the name, logo and other trademarks of the university, while making it clear that the RSO is not a part of the university itself.  Use of the name, logo or other trademarks must be consistent with the USC Graphic Identity Program, including those specified in the Sales and Fundraising Policies (see Section G.7.Sales and Fundraising). Please see Trademarks and Licensing for more information.

Example of RSO name that is not permitted: USC Wiffleball

Examples of RSO names that are allowed: Wiffleball at USC; Trojan Wiffleball; SC Wiffleball

Unpermitted names may not be used in any RSO materials including social media, apparel and websites.

Can we send mass emails to students announcing our events?
No. However, RSOs can submit announcements to go on the weekly Campus Activities 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 Thursdaybefore you want to message to be sent. RSOs also can put their events on the engageSC calendar.

Why do we need an advisor?
The primary function of the advisor is to serve as a resource for the organization. Advisors will counsel and advise student organizations by asking the “tough” questions, assisting students in their thinking process and challenging the organization to go beyond the status quo. Advisors also provide continuity for an organization as they can pass along valuable information regarding the history of the organization and their past accomplishments. An active advisor can improve the effectiveness of an organization while also assisting in the positive development of the students. Any USC faculty or staff member can serve as an RSO advisor. All member clubs in the RCC are required to use the Club Sports Coordinator as their advisor.

We are affiliated with an off-campus group. Does this make any difference?
RSOs may be affiliated with other off-campus organizations. If this is the case, the RSO must submit a copy of the constitution, articles of incorporation or other governance document of the external organization for university approval during the on-campus recognition process. Policies are subject to change. Refer to the Campus Activities website for current policies and procedures. Where university policies or regulations conflict with student organization constitutions or bylaws, the university policies or regulations will govern.

Our group is religious/spiritual in nature. Is there anything different we have to do because of that?
There are specific processes for RSOs of this nature. Religious organizations seeking recognition must complete the guidelines outlined on the Office of Religious Life website prior to receiving university recognition. This must be uploaded to engageSC during the recognition process. More information can be found on the Office of Religious Life Student Organizations Recognition Page.

Can we get a mailbox on campus?
At this time RSOs cannot receive mail at the university (UPC & HSC)

Can my RSO travel overseas? What do we need to do?
At this time USC has prohibited all university-sponsored on- and off-campus events (this includes all RSO events and activities) until we receive further public health guidance.
https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/faq-events-and-activities/

 

Membership

Can we be selective in our membership?
All RSOs must limit participation to students, faculty, staff, alumni and alumnae of the university. All RSOs must limit voting members and officers to currently enrolled USC students . An RSO can be more selective in their requirements for voting members (i.e. currently enrolled business majors).

All RSOs must refrain from discriminating in membership decisions, elections and all other matters on the basis of race, creed or religion, sex*, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition and national origin. A statement to this effect should appear in the constitution of all RSOs.

*Except those exempted from Title IX compliance. For more information on those exempt organizations, click here.

Can anyone be an officer or vote in our organization?
An RSOs must limit its voting members and officers to currently enrolled USC students. Any additional requirements are at the discretion of the RSO.

Do I have to be a current student to be a member of an RSO?
USC requires a minimum of 10 full-time enrolled students in order for an RSO to be recognized by the university. 

Are there any leadership resources to help our RSO leaders develop their skills?
Yes, Campus Activities hosts Leadership, Education and Development (L.E.A.D). programs geared towards helping students become more effective leaders in their RSOs. L.E.A.D. offers a variety of programs tailored to leaders of all types of clubs and year of academic standing; visit their website to learn more.

What exactly is hazing?
Students and student organizations shall not engage in any activity that is considered hazing by university standards, or as defined in California Penal Code 245.6, which defines hazing as, “any method of initiation or preinitiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school community college, college, university, or other educational institution in this state.  The term hazing does not include customary athletic events or school-sanctioned events.”

  • 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 may be expelled permanently from the University.
  • RSOs that participate in hazing functions are subject to permanent disassociation from the University. The future of the RSO is in jeopardy if members of the RSO 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.

More information about hazing can be found in SCampus, Part G, Section 8.

How do I report an incident of hazing?
Anyone with information about a possible hazing incident has a responsibility to report it to the Department of Public Safety at (213) 740-6000 or dps.usc.edu. Additional opportunities for reporting hazing include the LiveSafe smartphone app, Trojans Care for Trojans, organization advisor, or university representative.

Students and/or student organizations engaging in activity which is considered hazing as defined by California law may be reported to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Reserving Space and Hosting Events

Can RSOs host events and meetings on campus?
USC has prohibited all university-sponsored on- and off-campus events (this includes all RSO events and activities) until we receive further public health guidance.
https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/faq-events-and-activities/ 

Can RSOs host events and meetings off-campus?
USC has prohibited all university-sponsored on- and off-campus events (this includes all RSO events and activities) until we receive further public health guidance.
https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/faq-events-and-activities/ 

What type of platforms are available for RSOs to host events virtually?
Check our our tips for hosting virtual meetings and events:
https://sites.usc.edu/engage/resources-for-virtual-events-meetings/ 

Additionally, Campus Activities is providing access to Remo for all RSOs.  Remo is a virtual event platform that mirrors the TCC Ballroom into a virtual event, with tables, speakers, and movement between small tables. 

Requests for a Remo event should be made 3 weeks in advance: https://usc.campuslabs.com/engage/submitter/form/start/429535 

What type of events is Campus Activities hosting? Are there opportunities for collaboration for an RSO?
A full list of events hosted by Campus Activities and other departments can be found on the USC Events calendar. https://calendar.usc.edu 

RSOs can request to collaborate with Late Night ‘SC by submitting a request via this form

This form serves to provide university recognized departments and recognized student organizations (RSOs) the opportunity to request assistance for programs and events that are open to all USC students. All requests must be made a minimum of 7 weeks before the event. Each application is looked at on a case to case basis.
https://campusactivities.usc.edu/late-night-sc-co-sponsorship-request-form/

Can RSOs add their events to the USC Welcome Experience calendar?
To Add Events to the USC Calendar
1. Navigate to calendar.usc.edu
2. Click on “Submit Event” in the top right of the page
3. Login with USC credentials and follow the form prompts
4. Event Type: select “Welcome Experience”
5. Department field: select Camus Activities AND Student Affairs
6. Hashtag Field: Add #welcometoUSC
Each event is reviewed and approved before it appears on the calendar.
Additionally RSOs can submit their events on engageSC

How can an RSO sign-up for the fall Involvement Fair?
Campus Activities will be hosting six virtual fairs August 18-27, 2020. Dates and times are listed below (each date is a two-hour time slot and all times are in PST): 

August 18, 12 p.m.
August 19, 4 p.m.
August 20, 8 p.m.
August 25, 12 p.m.
August 26, 4 p.m.
August 27, 8 p.m. 

RSOs can sign up for as many fairs as they want, please see attached for instructions on what is needed to sign up. Instructions can be found here

Is Campus Activities staff available for virtual office hours?
Yes, please follow our social media accounts @USCCampusActivities for updated drop-in hours.
Also you can make an appointment with anyone on our team by emailing them directly. Don’t know who you should be contacting email stuacts@usc.edu and our Peer Leadership Team will connect you with the right person(s). 

Funding

How can my RSO apply for student government funding? Can my RSO apply for both Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and Graduate Student Government (GSG) funding? 
Due to the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, all RSO events funded by USG and GSG must follow official USC guidelines regarding public gatherings. Currently, all in-person events are prohibited. However, RSOs may apply for USG and/or GSG funding for their event.

Please visit https://usg.usc.edu/branches/funding/ for more updates/information on USG Funding
Please visit http://gsg.usc.edu/student-funding/rso-event-funding/ for more updates/information on GSG Funding

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

Can my RSO open a bank account?
RSOs may only open a bank account with the USC Credit Union.  These accounts CANNOT accept any University money. Please follow the instructions on this document.
If your organization already has a bank account and would like to change ownership of the bank account, please refer to this document.

Can we make a profit on our RSO?
RSOs (or individual members while acting in any capacity for the RSO) may not conduct for-profit or commercial activities (or facilitate the for-profit or commercial activities of others).

All recognized student organizations are permitted to fundraise on their own behalf. However, student organizations may only fundraise or pursue activities to benefit their organization, another student organization or an outside philanthropic agency or relief effort. No individual student(s) may receive any type of payment either in the form of money, discounts and/or goods and services.

Can RSOs use USC’s Tax ID number?
RSOs can accept tax-deductible donations if they are given through a University Gift Account. USC student organizations are not permitted to use USC’s tax ID number. You will only need your organization’s tax ID number on a few occasions (for instance, if you need to open a new bank account, or if a company sponsor for an event needs it for financial records).

If your RSO is affiliated with an outside (off campus) organization which has a tax number, that organization may receive tax-deductible donations on your RSO’s behalf.

Can RSOs apply for a new federal tax ID  (also known as a Employee Identification Number-EIN?
Student organization can apply for a new federal tax ID number through the IRS website. This is the same as an EIN number used to open a USC Credit Union account. If you need your organization’s tax ID number and cannot locate it you will need to apply for a new tax ID number through the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00.html.

When you apply for a tax ID number (also known as an Employer Identification Number or EIN), you will be required to enter your Social Security Number. This is an extra security measure taken by the IRS to ensure the person requesting the number has a legitimate request. Your SSN will not be saved or linked to your organization’s EIN in any way.

If I spend money for my RSO, can I get reimbursed?
Funding boards through USG and GSG will not reimburse an RSO; they will only make direct payments to vendors. Some academic departments may distribute reimbursements, but that is up to their individual discretion. Those RSOs with University accounts may be eligible for reimbursement – please contact the Peer Leadership Team (or the RCC Executive Board for member RSOs) for more information.

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

What vendors can we purchase from? Why is this a good thing?
RSOs can purchase goods or services directly from vendors and make a payment with university money. Visit this link for a list of Authorized Vendors for RSOs and guidelines on trademarks.

Can I sign a contract with an outside vendor?
No student or RSO may enter into direct contractual agreement in USC’s name with outside vendors (travel agencies, tour operators, etc.). Check with the appropriate administrative unit (Vice President for Student Affairs or specific dean’s offices) for clarification of required procedures.