Expectations of Student Organizations

To be recognized by Johns Hopkins University, student organizations must abide by the following:

  • Student organizations must be open to all persons of the University community without regard to sex, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status or other legally protected characteristic. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 exempts fraternities and sororities from the requirement that membership in their groups be open to all persons regardless of gender. Additionally, performing arts and sports clubs organizations reserves the right to hold auditions and/or tryouts and cut potential members for certain performance-based groups. Organizations may limit participation on the basis of academic standing. The academic requirement should align with the mission, and practical function or service the organization provides. Finally, applications, interviews, and resume reviews should not be utilized when evaluating students for general membership.
  • Student organizations must be affiliated with the Student Government Association, Center for Social Concern, Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Interfaith Center, Recreation Sports, or the Graduate Representative Organization (GRO), or a University department or administrative office on the Homewood campus.
  • Student organizations must maintain a minimum of ten (10) active members. Each member must be enrolled at a division of Johns Hopkins University, a majority of the group’s membership must be undergraduate status. Group leadership must be solely undergraduate status and enrolled at Homewood.
  • Student organizations must maintain accurate and up-to-date records of organization leaders on the University’s student organization directory and registration website.
  • Student organizations must maintain an updated constitution and by-laws for the organization and report changes to the organization’s governing body.
  • Student organizations must be not-for-profit or for personal gain of any individual.
  • Student organizations must, at all times, comply with the University’s Anti-Hazing Policy and not conduct activities that violate the Policy.
  • If a new or proposed student organization is affiliated or is seeking to affiliate, with an external organization, the campus chapter or group must submit a copy of the constitution, articles of incorporation, or other governance documents of the external organization for University approval. In all cases, University policies and regulations supersede those of the external organization. The University reserves the right to review governance documents of externally affiliated organizations at any time.

Registering Student Organizations

All student organizations must keep their contact information current throughout the year. Student organization registration is completed through Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development online student organization directory, Hopkins Groups. It is the responsibility of the group’s leadership to update the group’s general description, group email address, website URL, social media links, meeting information, and officer contact information.

All groups must re-register each spring semester. Generally, the re-registration period is open for the month of March (exact dates will appear on our Undergraduate Student Organization Policies & Procedures). If groups do not re-register by the published deadline, the group will be considered “inactive,” will no longer appear on the online directory, and are not be eligible for funding and other student organization benefits for the upcoming year. Inactive groups do not have University recognition. Re-registration information will be emailed to whomever the group has listed at their “primary contact.”

Please review information about the Student Organization Re-Registration Process in the Student Organization Policies and Procedures.

Privileges & Benefits for Student Organizations

  • Listing on online directory of JHU student organizations
  • Use the Johns Hopkins University name, logo, and seal per university guidelines.
  • Reserve space on campus such as, but not limited to, meeting rooms, classrooms, outdoor space, breezeway tables, and/or banner locations.
  • Host events on campus and sponsor programs and activities
  • Recruit new members and conduct fundraising activities on campus.
  • Ability to post notices to JHU Daily Announcements, on the University events calendar, and on-campus digital message boards.
  • Apply for funding, either annual or various grant programs, based on the assigned SAC funding category.
  • Ability to schedule a recurring meeting space through the Levering Student Life office during the spring/fall scheduling process.
  • Maintain a student organization financial account with the Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development.
  • Use of JHU Student Activities credit card for student group transactions and billed to a student group account (based on the availability of student group funds).
  • Maintain a student organization mailbox and snail mail address with the Office of Student Activities.
  • Office staff available during normal business hours to accept packages from UPS or FedEx.
  • Use of the student group photocopier (located at the North end of the Student Activities area) charged to the student organization’s account with a password.
  • Use of the Student Activities fax machine during normal business hours with permission from Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development staff.
  • Participation in Student Activities Fairs on a first-come, first-served basis as space permits.
  • Discounted rate with JHU audiovisual services.
  • Use of the University’s tax exemption certification.
  • Student organization use of SAC van program.
  • Use of supplies for painted mural boards on campus.

Note: Availability of these benefits is not guaranteed and/or is subject to availability.

Starting a New Student Organization

If there is an interest in creating a student organization that does not currently exist on campus, a group of students may apply to start a new organization. Students are strongly encouraged to explore what is currently offered, as duplicate groups will not be approved. The process of creating a new student organization begins with completing the online application at the Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development website. Applications for new student organizations are only accepted during the application periods published on the website. All officers of the prospective organization must be full-time undergraduate students on the Homewood campus and be in good academic standing with the University. A minimum of ten (10) prospective students is required to make an application as a new student group.

Once submitted, the application will be reviewed by the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Student Organizations committee. Representatives from the group will then be interviewed by the SGA Student Organizations Committee so they may learn more about the group and its mission and/or purpose. A&E will then make a recommendation to the SGA to either approve or deny the group, and the SGA will vote whether to accept the A&E recommendation. The SGA will also vote to determine into what category the group will be placed. This approval process is for student organization recognition only and is not associated with the Student Activities Commission (SAC) funding process.

Some groups are not subject to the SGA approval process and derive their recognition from other entities on campus. Graduate students should contact the Graduate Representative Organization (GRO) at gro@jhu.edu. Organizations looking to partner with service organizations and agencies in Baltimore should contact the Center for Social Concern (CSC). Students looking to form a new fraternity or sorority should contact Fraternity and Sorority Life at ofsl@jhu.edu. Prospective religious groups must meet with and obtain approval from the Interfaith Center to gain recognition. Finally, prospective organizations advised by an academic department or administrative office should contact the Office of Student Activities directly rather than applying through the SGA. GRO, CSC, and Fraternity and Sorority Life groups are not eligible for funding from the SGA and/or the SAC and derive their funding from those offices.

Membership Requirements

Members of student organizations must be enrolled, full-time or part-time, at Johns Hopkins University. They may be affiliated with any division of the University; including the School of Advanced International Studies, the Applied Physics Laboratory, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Carey Business School, School of Education, Whiting School of Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Peabody Institute, and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Members may be undergraduates or graduate students. For student organization membership purposes and definition, post-baccalaureate students are considered to be undergraduates.

Students that have graduated early may participate in events and meetings until their Commencement ceremony, but students that are no longer enrolled should not vote, compete, or travel on behalf of the group. Graduated students may not serve in a leadership role within the organization, and may not act as such with Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development.

Organizations may choose to set higher standards for membership including higher officer or member grade point requirements or a selection process as long as the higher standards are consistent with the mission of the group, the University, and state or federal law.

Organizations are entitled to charge reasonable dues in order to support their programs and events. Organizations are permitted to institute a membership fee or dues structure so long as the dues are congruent with the policies of the University. Penalties for non-payment or late payment must be clear and in writing and collection processes must respect the principles of due process. Groups charging membership fees must make the fee schedule clear either in writing to members or on their group profile page on the student organization directory. Participation in a group must be voluntary and members have the right to disassociate with a group at any time without penalty.

Officer Requirements

Officers of undergraduate student organizations must be enrolled students of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences or the Whiting School of Engineering.

Officers must be in good standing with the University, with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above. Prospective officers must be in good standing prior to running for office and must maintain that good standing throughout their term of office.

All undergraduate student organization leaders must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in order to be elected/selected to a student leader position. All undergraduate student organization members and leaders must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours.

Graduate students may not serve as officers for undergraduate organizations, and vice-versa. Officers of graduate student organizations may be part-time or full-time students at any of the University-affiliated divisions.

Executive officers are traditionally comprised of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, although many exceptions apply. Student organizations may choose their own unique officer titles, as long as there is a Primary Contact in place for registration purposes.

Advisor Requirements

Student organizations are highly encouraged, but not mandated, to have a faculty/staff advisor. Student organizations may self-select their advisor unless it is written in a staff or faculty member’s job description to advise that particular organization. Any full-time or part-time faculty/staff member of Johns Hopkins University may serve as an advisor. Graduate students are also eligible to be advisors. Alumni and community members may co-advise with a faculty or staff member. Undergraduate students are not eligible to be advisors.

Learn more about advising such as responsibilities, benefits, and commitment expectations on the Resources section of our website.

Alumni Involvement

Alumni of Johns Hopkins University may participate in organizing meetings and events, but under no circumstances should alumni vote on organization matters, participate in conferences and competitions, or profit from University funding in any way.

Student Government Association

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the governing body of the undergraduate student population at Johns Hopkins University.

The SGA is comprised of four Executive Officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary), four Class Presidents, and 24 Class Senators. Elections are held in the Fall for Freshmen Class Officers and in the Spring for Executive Officers and Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Class Councils.

The SGA meets weekly on Tuesday evenings and their meetings are open to the campus community. For more information, visit the Student Government Association website.

Student Activities Commission

The Student Activities Commission (SAC) is the funding board of the Student Government Association. The Treasurer of the SGA is the chair of the Student Activities Commission. The remaining board is comprised of students who apply for the position and are then appointed by the chair of the Commission. Commissioners liaise with student groups assigned to them from the five categories eligible for funding.

The SAC receives funding each year from the Dean of Student Life. That money is then allocated, through a proposal process, to eligible student organizations. SAC accepts annual budget proposals at the end of each academic year. The board approves budgets that take effect in early September and run through the end of the academic year. Groups may also apply for additional funds throughout the year to support new initiatives or unforeseen expenses. These budgets are submitted online and due on the last day of the month for programs/activities in the subsequent month.

To qualify for SAC funding eligibility, groups must be in a category designated as eligible for SAC funding. Traditionally, SAC funding is reserved for cultural, performing arts, special interest/hobby, religious/spiritual, and publication/journals groups. Sports clubs are funded each year through a block grant allocated to the Sports Club Council. Groups wishing to change their assigned category must appeal their categorization to the Appointments and Evaluations Committee (A&E) of the SGA. Learn more about the SAC.

Graduate Representatives Organization

The Graduate Representatives Organization (GRO) is the governing body of the graduate student population on the Homewood Campus at Johns Hopkins University.

The GRO meets weekly on Monday evenings. For more information, visit the Graduate Representatives Organization website.

Leadership Training Opportunities

Executive Officer Training

Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development provides periodic workshops for student organization leaders to learn the ins and outs of running a student group. Topics include registering your organization, planning and promoting events, and recruiting new members. These trainings are held each semester.

Financial Training

The Leadership Engagement & Experiential Development provides training sessions for student organization financial officers. This training is required for treasurers and is also beneficial for presidents. Topics include paying vendors and contractors, processing reimbursements, depositing and transferring funds, purchasing organization supplies, and arranging student group travel. Groups not attending will have their financial accounts frozen until their treasurer is trained. This training occur several times during the early Fall semester. Funding and access to student organization accounts will not be released until the financial officer of the organization has completed this training.

JHU Teambuilding

JHU Teambuilding is a student organization, managed out of the Experiential Education program, that customizes programs suited to meet the specific needs and goals of other student organizations. The group is comprised of highly trained facilitators that lead initiatives aimed at improving trust, communication, problem-solving, conflict management, and leadership. They use innovative and exciting experiential methods to increase team effectiveness. For more information, contact JHU Teambuilding at hopkinsteambuilding@gmail.com or 410-516-4417.

Senior Leadership Consultants

The Office of the Dean of Student Life sponsors a capstone leadership opportunity for senior undergraduates each year. The opportunity is a program in which a group of seniors is selected to serve as Senior Leadership Consultants. Those students chosen as Senior Leadership Consultants will have the knowledge base and skills to:

  • Plan, implement and facilitate a series of sessions and workshops for student group leaders as well as students with an interest in the subject.
  • Observe and provide recommendations through consultation with student groups and student group leaders.
  • Plan and implement leadership conferences for the JHU community.

For more information about the Senior Leadership Consultants program, contact the Director of Leadership Programs and Assessment in the Office of the Dean of Student Life, 410-516-8208.

The Office of Student Activities provides additional training throughout the year for student organizations and advisors. Student Activities staff are available to meet with student organization leaders and advisors for one-on-one and ad hoc advice.