How to Form an AAUW Student Organization

Are you a college student who is passionate about women’s issues? Want to make change in your community while gaining invaluable leadership experience? Then you should start an AAUW student organization at your school. Here’s how.

 

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Step 1: Recruit interested students.

Compile a list of potential members. Seek out students who are interested in women’s health, pay equity, sexual violence prevention, reproductive freedom, civil rights, LGBTQ issues, education reform, politics, or international affairs. If you don’t personally know many interested students, you might want to host a themed event or an informational meeting about AAUW activities and benefits so that you can collect the names and e-mails of potential members.

You can also promote your group through

  • Posting flyers on billboards in student housing, class buildings, the women’s center, the student union, and administration buildings
  • Writing Listserv e-mails or social media posts
  • Making announcements at student government meetings, in the school newspaper, or in classes such as women’s studies, sociology, political science, or American studies
  • Tabling in a well-populated area with information about AAUW and sign-up sheets for your group
  • Attending the meetings of like-minded student groups (you can also pitch possible future collaborations)

Step 2: Choose student officers.

Student orgs have to appoint or elect at least two officers. Before officially registering with your school and the AAUW national office, you need to find students who are willing to be

  • President: She or he serves as the main point of contact between your student org and the AAUW national office and is responsible for following AAUW policies. The president should be committed to AAUW’s mission and have time to coordinate your group’s initiatives.
  • Treasurer: This person handles your org’s finances by keeping records and taking the lead on fundraising.

Those are the only required positions, but we recommend that you also find people to help with the following:

  • Vice president: She or he assists the president, fills in when the president is absent, and takes on the role of president the following year.
  • Secretary: This person maintains written records of meetings and sends out general correspondence with the group, including the agenda and notices for meetings.
  • Membership chair: She or he leads recruitment efforts.
  • Advocacy chair: This person takes the lead on keeping up with public policy issues that AAUW supports, such as sexual harassment or assault, Title IX, and pay equity.
  • Event planner: She or he coordinates your events, including booking rooms and marketing.
  • Social media/public relations chair: She or he takes the lead on social media strategy and helps raise the visibility of your org and your activities.

Step 3: Check if your school is an AAUW C/U partner member.

Check our list to see if your school is an AAUW partner member. If it is, all of your undergrad classmates can join AAUW for free as e-student affiliates, and you’ll have automatic allies in your AAUW C/U representatives on campus. (E-mail connect@aauw.org to find out who your representatives are.)

If your school is not a partner member, e-mail coll-univ@aauw.org for advice on how to get your campus to join. Your school doesn’t have to be a partner member for you to start your student org, but membership means tons of benefits to you (and your school)!

Step 4: Choose a faculty or staff adviser.

Your student org needs at least one faculty or staff member from your school to serve as an adviser and contact for AAUW. The adviser should help guide your organization’s activities and be interested in your mission. While this person doesn’t have to go to all of your events, she or he should be kept informed. Remember, if your school is an AAUW partner member, your C/U representatives are great candidates (e-mail connect@aauw.org for help contacting your C/U reps).

Your adviser helps you and AAUW staff understand the campus culture and navigate your school’s policies and procedures. She or he will play a pivotal role in helping you get access to funding, contacts, and AAUW resources.

Make sure your adviser understands your mission, what your plans are, and what you expect her or his duties and time commitment will be. Advisers are there to support and guide you, empowering you to make fair, intelligent, and reasonable decisions about leading your student org. The key is to work collaboratively with your adviser to make sure the experience is successful and rewarding for everyone.

Step 5: Register your student org with your school.

Each school has a designated system to register campus organizations. This usually requires writing a constitution, collecting contact information for students who are interested in joining, and confirming that you are complying with your school’s guidelines. Registering your student org on campus also often comes with benefits such as access to Listservs, free meeting space on campus, and funding.

Step 6: Register your student org with AAUW.

This part is simple! Fill out the online registration form. You will need to have contact information for your officers and identify an adviser. This form goes to the AAUW Board of Directors for final approval and allows AAUW staff to keep track of your group so we can show off your great work and offer help and resources whenever you need them.

Step 7: Sign up your members as AAUW e-student affiliates or student affiliates.

All student organization members need to also be members of AAUW.

If your school is an AAUW C/U partner member, you and your undergrad classmates can join for free! Tell them to sign up online to become e-student affiliates. Grad students can join for $18.81.

If your school is not a partner member, each student will need to join AAUW as a student affiliate for $17. But remember, you can always e-mail coll-univ@aauw.org for help convincing your school that they should join so you can get your free membership — and tons of other perks.

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