How To Establish a New Club

The VP&S Club encourages students to establish new and interesting opportunities that adhere to the mission. All those wishing to establish a new club or specialty interest group must adhere to the following guidelines.

Starting the Process

1. A new club must be supported by VP&S medical students, as the VP&S Club’s funding is provided by our medical alumni and the VP&S Alumni Association. However, non-medical student are welcome to be members and serve on the board for CUIMC wide organizations.

2. Proposals will be evaluated in mid-October and mid-January (contact the Director for the specific deadline).

a. Students interested must meet with the Director of Student Activities to discuss their idea. This meeting will ensure that efforts are not being duplicated and will help the group define their goals and mission statement for the new club/activity.

b. The purpose of the student organization must fall within federal and state law, as well as Columbia University, CUIMC & VP&S Policies.

3. Getting approved recognition

a. After the initial meeting, a proposal must be submitted to the VP&S Club Director. *Please note that submitting a proposal does not guarantee the organization will be recognized. Proposal should include a constitution. View sample constitutions here (login-required).

b. Club Approval

i. VP&S Club Cabinet will review and vote on the organization’s proposal. If there are reservations regarding the proposal, it may be denied or suggested for reevaluation.

ii. Upon approval by the VP&S Club Cabinet, the group will be invited to present their proposal to the VP&S Club Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) at the October and January meeting.

iii. The FAB has the final decision on the proposed club’s status. If there are reservations about a proposed activity from the FAB, recognition will be withheld.

iv. Once the group is approved, they will schedule a meeting with the VP&S Club Director.

c. Specialty Interest Group Approval

i. The first and only step is for the VP&S Club Cabinet to evaluate and approve the proposal. There is no presentation required, but if there are reservations about a proposed group from the VP&S Club Cabinet, recognition will be withheld and it may be suggested for reevaluation in the future.

ii. If you are interested in starting a sub-specialty interest group please speak with the VP&S Club Director as it may be best to work with an existing specialty interest group.

iii. In order to be an active specialty interest group, you need to coordinate with your associated medical department for funding.

4. Preliminary Year

a. All approved or reactivated clubs will begin with a preliminary year – totaling 3 full semesters of activity including the approval semester. Ex: Approved Jan 2015, permanent status July 2016

b. You must adhere to the Official Club Recognition/Registration guidelines below in order to be moved to permanent recognition status.

c. Should the club fail to follow the guidelines listed below during preliminary year, you will need to submit for approval again.

5. Denial of Club Recognition

a. If your group is denied recognition and you would like to reapply, please consider the feedback provided by the VP&S Club Director from the VP&S Club Cabinet evaluation.

i. Often there has not been enough VP&S student support, faculty support or financial support

ii. Not all activities warrant club status; sometimes the program can operate out of an existing club instead of being an individual entity

iii. We strongly encourage students who are passionate about their idea to use the time before the next evaluation to gain student interest and participation in order to be successfully approved in the future. Contact the VP&S Club Director on how to proceed.

Official Club Recognition and Registration

Once recognized as a club at VP&S, the organization must follow the guidelines outlined below to remain an active and recognized club:

1. An organization’s registration is valid for one calendar year (January – December)- same as the club leader timeline.

2. At least one Club Leader must attend/complete these mandatory tasks in order to maintain active status:

a. Participation in VP&S Club Fairs, Fundraising efforts by the VP&S Club, Training(s)

b. Having listed active club officers (at least 1 should be listed)

c. Planning events, having meetings, having members, and carrying out your organization’s mission

i. Even if you are not spending VP&S Club money, it is mandatory for you to let the VP&S Club know what you are doing and what type of events you are having, including ones being co-sponsored by a hospital department. We need to be aware of all activities.

d. Submit an End of Semester Report (EOSR) every fall and spring and current membership list

e. Develop and update Club Constitution.

i. Create/re-evaluate your mission statement and purpose

ii. Members – voting rights? Expand/limit who can be a member (i.e. currently only VP&S students vs. CUIMC wide), additional requirements?

iii. Governing Structure/Officers:

  • Expand or limit leadership and/or responsibilities of leaders
  • Add a committee?
  • Election procedure/removal of officer

**Note: Initial development and future changes to the constitution must be approved by VP&S Club. At no time should anything in your constitution contradict or override VP&S or University policies, federal and state laws.

3. LOSING ACTIVE STATUS If a student club does not have any club leaders, an active membership body with events, and/or does not adhere to the above it will be considered inactive and will have their VP&S Club assigned budget withdrawn for the next academic year (July – June). If the club continues to not adhere to the above, the organization will be removed from the list of active clubs and be listed as inactive. Note: Any club without Club Leaders will automatically be moved to Inactive Status.

(Temporary) Inactive Status As interests change often many clubs drift in and out this category. The purpose is to have a current accounting of active clubs so students can know what is available.

Disaffiliation If a club has been without leadership for 3 years it will be disaffiliated. Reactivation will require a new club proposal to be approved by the Cabinet and Faculty Advisory Board.

Reactivation At any time a student can contact the VP&S Club about reactivating a recognized organization that is currently without leadership. Please contact for more information.

Club Leader Responsibilities

The role of being a VP&S Club Leader entails more than just leading an organization. Your activities and behavior as a club leader are not only viewed by other students, but also by the Columbia and general community. Your actions reflect back on the VP&S Club when you associate yourself with the university. As a club leader, you are held to a higher standard and are expected to behave in a manner that reflects these standards. Your role is to help facilitate the process of academic, philanthropic, and social activities while respecting the diverse interests of the campus community. We expect you to serve as a role model and make decisions related to your club that would be deemed appropriate by the VP&S Club Director and the University as a whole.

The club leader term runs on the calendar year (January – December). By accepting the leadership role of a VP&S Club organization, each officer agrees to abide by the following guidelines:

1. Mandatory attendance and participation in (all dates TBA by the VP&S Club Director):

a. VP&S Club Leader Trainings & Meetings

b. Fundraising efforts by the VP&S Club

c. VP&S Club Fair and Revisit Fair

2. Prompt submission of the following materials and response to all emails and requests by the VP&S Club Director in a timely manner (all dates TBA by the VP&S Club Director):

a. Post Event Evaluation Forms for large/main annual events

b. End of the Semester Reports

i. New club officers/executive board

ii. Updated Club Constitution

iii. Updated Club membership

c. Any updates of documents or waivers as needed by your organization

3. Events and Finances

a. It is MANDATORY to inform Director of all events hosted or co-sponsored by your organization and expenses incurred for each event. Failure to do so could result in reimbursements and/or payments to not be processed.

i. For larger events, you are responsible for meeting with the Director at least a month prior to ensure timely payments, date availability, and event approval.

b. All receipts & paperwork for reimbursements must be submitted to the Director within 24 – 48 hours of the event.

c. Always use a tax-exempt form, as you will not be reimbursed sales tax on any purchases made on behalf of your organization.

d. Follow all legal and safety guidelines as determined by Columbia University and CUIMC.

e. Use the room reservation system (Resource 25) only for club/organization use and clean up after your events.

f. Make sure to properly advertise and promote your events to ensure maximum attendance and participation.

g. Serve as a liaison from your group to other clubs, departments, and outside entities.

**Note: Failure to comply with the above will affect your club’s recognition status.