Creating an organization at TCU: Difficult but rewarding

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With an array of students trying to find their place at TCU, one way to find that community is through a student organization.

In the 2018-19 school year, 22 new student organizations were created, a 41% increase from the 2017-18 school year.

However, creating a student organization isn’t as easy as you might think.

Dede Williams Vann, the director of student organizations, learning and development, emphasized the importance of being motivated and dedicated when wanting to start one.

“We do stress the importance of being motivated and diligent, as it takes a great deal of time, commitment and hard work to create, cultivate and lead a student organization,” Williams Vann said.

There are more than 260 organizations on campus, but there is still ample opportunity to create an organization because some students still see organizational gaps.

The process of becoming a student organization is highlighted on the Student Development Services website, but Williams Vann also warned of making sure that the student organization doesn’t already exist before planning to fill out an organization application.

“Sometimes we see that when a student or group of students comes to us to start an organization, they have not already done some research to know what is already available on campus, so I always recommend doing that first,” Williams Vann said.

Junior communication studies student Dominique Cooke
Photo courtesy of Dominique Cooke

One of the students who found there was an organization missing on campus is Dominique Cooke, a junior communications studies student.

Cooke, an African American woman, felt she and other women of color on campus did not have a space to openly discuss the issues they faced on campus. This led to the fruition of Women of Empowerment.

“I wanted to start my organization to be an outlet that offers support for women of color on campus,” Cooke said. “I wanted to create a brave and safe space for women to be themselves and network.”

Like Williams Vann, Cooke also emphasized the necessity of being dedicated and prepared when it comes to starting an organization.

“The process is a strenuous one, but it is definitely worth it,” Cooke said. “I would tell a student wishing to start an organization to come with a concrete plan of what you and your organization want to accomplish, and be sure you are ready for the responsibility that comes with it.”

In order to start a student organization, there are an array of items that must be completed.

Students must find an adviser, have at least 10 students who are committed, create a sample constitution and fill out other additional forms.

Williams Vann suggested the best thing to do when starting an organization is simply to meet with her first.

“Get excited and come visit with me,” Williams Vann said. “Bring your ideas, and I encourage you to think through how it would work on TCU’s campus and what it would do to benefit our university.”

The entire process of becoming a TCU student organization takes about three to five weeks. 

All on-campus organizations must abide by the TCU anti-discrimination policy. This means that membership, leadership and participation in the organization must be open to all students without regard to race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability or status as a U.S. veteran.

Applications for new organizations for the fall will be accepted through Oct. 31.