New Group Applications

New group applications for the Spring 2017 semester are now open. The deadline is March 22nd at 9:00PM. See Step 1 to the right to learn about the process.

Guide to New Group Recognition

If you have any questions about the below information, feel free to email us at and don’t wait until the recognition deadline!


Your group’s mission must be political, activist, humanitarian, religious, spiritual, ideological, and/or identity-conscious in nature. Also, we are not allowed to accept groups whose primary purpose is to lobby for legislation or to campaign for any person running for public office.

Membership and Viability

How likely is it that your group will be alive and kicking, two years down the line? Groups must have at least 10 members. However, a large membership list, with members from the four different undergrad schools from a variety of classes tells us that there is popular demand for your group and you’ve made the effort to spread the word.

Past Programming

The more meetings and/or events you have been able to hold on your own, the more you’ve demonstrated how badly Columbia needs or wants your group. If you contact us early enough in the process, we can help you get in touch with groups who might help you put on an event, or may even help you ourselves with space and funding. You need at least two semesters of active programming in order to be considered for recognition. If you need help booking space or received funding, please check out our "Quick Forms" page.

Distinct and Non-Complementary Mission

Your group must be filling a niche on campus. In the event of substantial overlap in mission with an existing group, we will try to mediate a discussion with the existing group and see if you fit well together. Humanitarian groups, your group’s constitution should be inclusive enough to allow those who believe in your goals and mission, but not necessarily your current method or location of action, to be a part of your group.

For example, say your group is looking to reduce malaria in Africa. You decide that the best way to do this at the moment is to fundraise and buy malaria nets that will be donated to Sierra Leone. The mission statement in your constitution should not include the part about fundraising for nets and Sierra Leone. This would exclude students who also want to reduce malaria in Africa but prefer a method of building malaria nets themselves and donating them to many different countries. Once you form your group, you can decide by majority vote which method and location to adopt, and/or form sub-groups that employ different methods and target different locations. To be clear, all you have to do is have an inclusive mission statement in your constitution. You can employ whatever method you like wherever you like when you actually start operating.

Chapters of National Organizations

Chapters of National Organizations must be sovereign entities. Your group’s members, and not outside parties, must be in charge of your group’s agenda and decisions. Columbia University rules and the SGB constitution must take precedence over any policies of the National Organization, in the event of a conflict. Humanitarian groups, your group’s primary mission must not be to serve the disadvantaged exclusively in Morningside Heights, Harlem, and/or Washington Heights. The analogous governing board for volunteer groups, Community Impact, is the home for such initiatives.

Once you think your group meets these criteria, review the steps on the right to get started on the process for becoming recognized by SGB.

Step 1

Initial Online Application

Fill out the New Group Recognition form on the Quick Forms page.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email

Step 2

Meeting with SGB

After we review your online application, we will schedule a time for your group to make a five to ten minute presentation outlining:
  • your goals
  • what programming (if any) you’ve already conducted
  • what you’ll gain from SGB recognition
Then we’ll ask you questions related to the criteria we talked about. Usually within a week after you present, we will make a recommendation regarding your group’s recognition. However, final recognition comes from a vote at the semesterly Town Hall (see Step 3).

Step 3

Town Hall Vote

Towards the end of the semester, SGB holds a Town Hall, where representatives from all SGB groups come together and vote on various issues, including new group recognition. SGB will announce to the audience its recommendation regarding your group's recognition, and your group will make a much shorter presentation of about two minutes to the audience, after which all the representatives will vote to recognize your group or not. Normally, the votes align with SGB's recommendation; a two-thirds majority is required to override SGB's recommendation.