AAUW and Colleges/Universities: Glossary of Commonly Used Terms

Whether you’re a member leader who’s had a strong relationship with your local college or an e-student affiliate learning about AAUW for the first time, it’s helpful to know the terminology we use when we talk about colleges and universities. This glossary is a helpful tool for differentiating between terms and finding commonly used definitions.


CAP: an acronym for Campus Action Project. Campus Action Projects are annual, grant-funded, student-led projects that put AAUW’s latest research into action.

C/U: an abbreviated way of referring to a college or university — any two- or four-year educational institution that offers recognized associate, baccalaureate, or higher degrees and has full regional accreditation or appropriate professional association approval.

C/U chair: the branch or state officer responsible for coordinating C/U outreach and programs. This person is a liaison between AAUW and the C/U representative.

C/U committee: a group made up of national AAUW staff and state C/U chairs who develop a strategic plan for the AAUW C/U program. All AAUW staff are based at the national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Eastern, at connect@aauw.org. Locally, branches and state organizations are managed by members.

C/U partner member: an institution that is a dues-paying AAUW college/university partner member. AAUW college/university partner membership runs from July 1 through June 30 and includes special benefits for students, faculty, and staff.

C/U rep(resentative): the designated official contact person for AAUW on a partner member campus who serves as a liaison between AAUW and the faculty, students, and school staff. Each partner member may appoint two campus reps, each of whom receives a free AAUW national membership (valued at $49).

E-student affiliate (E-SAF): students who join AAUW and receive information via electronic notification but do not have AAUW voting privileges. All undergraduate students on a C/U partner member campus are eligible to become an AAUW E-SAF by registering online. Students remain E-SAFs as long as they are undergraduates and their institution retains its membership. E-SAFs also receive a free membership for the first year out of college. Learn more about recruiting E-SAFs.

Graduate student membership: students who have earned an undergraduate degree and become members at the branch, state, or national level. A graduate student membership offers a different set of benefits from an undergraduate student affiliate membership. Graduate students may join at an introductory rate of $18.81.

Member services database (MSD): the online source for AAUW’s national database records. Presidents, membership vice presidents, and C/U chairs can view a list of current C/U partner members, C/U representatives, and e-student affiliates in the MSD.

NCCWSL: an acronym, pronounced “nick-whistle,” for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, an annual conference that AAUW and NASPA host in June for college women students.

National Student Advisory Council (SAC): a yearlong leadership program for 10 college women who serve as AAUW ambassadors on their campuses

State Student Advisory Council: a state-organized and state-managed leadership program. State student advisory councils are similar in structure to the National Student Advisory Council but have a greater focus on local AAUW activity. Learn more about starting your own State SAC.

Student affiliate: an undergraduate on any C/U campus that is not an AAUW partner member. The student may choose to be affiliated with the national organization or local branch. Annual dues are $17. After joining, students gain access to all AAUW information online and in print.

Student org(anization): a group of students at a college or university who want to form an official AAUW-affiliated group (formerly known as a student affiliate satellite). AAUW student organizations need not be located on an AAUW partner member campus.

Go to the C/U membership page