AAUW Student Organizations: Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in empowering women in your campus and community? Do you want a great leadership experience for your résumé? Then you should start an AAUW student organization to take advantage of all the resources and connections that AAUW has to offer. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about AAUW student organizations. Have more questions? E-mail us at coll-univ@aauw.org.


Starting Your Org

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What do I name my student organization?

Your student organization name must contain AAUW’s name. Traditionally, organizations have used the format “AAUW at (university name)” — for example, AAUW at Penn State. Student organizations cannot use “branch,” “club,” or “chapter” in their names.

My school is an AAUW college/university partner member. Does that mean we already have a student organization?

No, C/U partner membership does not automatically guarantee that a school has an AAUW student organization. In order for a student organization to be recognized, students must follow university guidelines for forming clubs and then submit a form to the AAUW national office for approval.

How do I know if my school is an AAUW college/university partner member?

Head over to our C/U partner member directory and see if your school is on the list. If it is, congrats! You and your undergraduate members can join AAUW for free as e-student affiliates.

What if my school isn’t an AAUW college/university partner member?

C/U partner membership is not a requirement for student organizations. You can still form your club, but you won’t be eligible for free e-student affiliate membership, and you won’t have the same benefits that students at our C/U partner member institutions receive. You can still join AAUW as a student affiliate member for $17. Since all student organization members must be AAUW national members, it’s in your best interest for your school to join as a C/U partner member so that you can join for free. Want to recruit your school? We can help! Your campus may be eligible to join at the introductory rate of $125. E-mail us at coll-univ@aauw.org for more information.

What are the membership requirements for forming and joining an AAUW student org?

All student organization members need to also be members of AAUW. If your school is an AAUW college/university partner member, you can join for free as an e-student affiliate. If your school is not a C/U partner member, you can join as a student affiliate for $17.

What’s the difference between an AAUW branch and a student organization?

Student organizations are hosted on a college campus. Membership is composed entirely of students. Branches are groups of local AAUW members, who already have at least an associate degree, working together in their communities to empower women and girls.University branches, which are different from student organizations, are also an option for C/U partner members. University branches follow the same policies as any other branch but generally consist of faculty, staff, and some students. For more information about this type of organization, e-mail connect@aauw.org.

There is already a women’s organization on campus. Is there a way to affiliate it with AAUW?

Existing women’s student organizations are free to use the resources provided on the AAUW website. An AAUW student organization, however, will give your student organization special recognition and additional leadership support from national staff.In order to be recognized by AAUW, you will need to complete the official student organization registration form and submit it to coll-univ@aauw.org. We ask that your activities relate and contribute to the AAUW mission.

Who can be our student organization adviser?

First and foremost, follow any university guidelines. If you’re unsure whom to approach, consider campus faculty or staff who are interested in gender issues and student leadership. Use this FAQ to better understand your adviser’s role. You can also work with the AAUW national office for support by e-mailing coll-univ@aauw.org.


Building Your Org

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How many members do I need in my organization?

All organizations must be registered with their universities. Make sure you are following the policies of your institution. For AAUW, you need to fill four positions: president, treasurer, liaison to AAUW, and an additional student member.

Can graduate students join an AAUW student organization?

Graduate students may be involved with student organizations, but they cannot be student affiliate members. After earning an undergraduate degree, you must become a member at the branch, state, or national level. Therefore, a graduate student’s AAUW membership would not be the same as that of an undergraduate member in the group.Graduate students can join AAUW at a special introductory rate of $18.81.

Can there be men in my group?

Yes! There are no barriers to participation with AAUW on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

How does my student organization benefit from partnering with a local AAUW branch?

Branches can help you by

If your school is already an AAUW college/university partner member, the branch can be helpful in linking your student organization to your C/U representative on campus. If your school is not a member, communication from a local branch may be the push your school needs to become an AAUW member.

In addition, many branches provide scholarships to send students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

Search online to find a branch near you. If you need assistance, please e-mail connect@aauw.org.

Can my student organization charge dues?

Your student org may charge dues if your institution allows it. Every university has different policies and procedures, so please check your school’s policies first. We understand it is difficult to fundraise, and charging dues can help financially support your organization. We encourage you to consider having a sliding scale to allow members who are unable to pay to join. We have additional resources on budgeting and fundraising for your student org.

Can my organization have a social media account?

Social media is a great way for the public to get information, interact with your student organization outside of your events and tabling, and allow you to advocate on a larger scale. When creating your social media accounts, please make sure you are following the branding guidelines and using the correct AAUW logos. Need help creating your accounts? Read tips on the social media guidebook, and contact us at coll-univ@aauw.org for additional support.


What You Can Do

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How can my student organization take action?

One of the most exciting parts of being in an AAUW student organization is creating events on your campus that make a difference for women and girls. We encourage students to sign up for our Two-Minute Activist, an online tool that sends you alerts on women’s issues so you can send targeted messages to Congress and the president quickly.

Are the programs my organization puts on solely for our members or for the community at large?

Both! Creating programs for your organization can be the toughest yet most rewarding process. Our programming resource can help you zero in on programs that work for your student org.

Can we volunteer in the community?

Yes! Look for organizations that align with AAUW’s and your student organization’s goals.


Working with AAUW

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What is the purpose of an AAUW student organization?

AAUW student organizations give you the resources and support to engage in your community on gender equity issues. Members gain leadership skills, create change on campus, address discrimination, and connect with a national community.

Do I have to register my organization with AAUW?

AAUW requires that you register your organization with us at the national office. Regardless of whether you are working with a local AAUW branch, you must fill out the national form. These forms are reviewed by the national board of directors on a monthly basis. When you register, your organization joins our extensive community of students, community leaders, and thousands of members. Additionally, you get access to our resources and member benefits.

Do I have to join the local or state AAUW branch?

Your organization can partner with a local or state branch, but you are not required to become members.

How can we build a relationship with local AAUW branches?

Working with a local branch can help you extend the reach of your organization, get you access to volunteers and resources, and allow you to make a bigger impact in your community. To start a relationship, attend a branch meeting, and schedule a time to meet with members and discuss your student org’s goals. Find the common ground, and brainstorm ways you can help each other.

There isn’t a local branch nearby. How can I get AAUW support?

With 170,000 members and supporters, we can help you connect to AAUW members in your community to help you and your organization. Contact us at coll-univ@aauw.org so we can help.

What resources are available to student organizations?

Student organizations receive guidance, leadership training, and support from AAUW’s national staff. Undergraduate students at C/U partner member schools are eligible to join AAUW as e-student affiliates for free. This free membership gives you access to discounts, updated information on leadership opportunities, a free digital subscription to AAUW Outlook magazine, and keeps you connected with the AAUW community.Student organizations are also encouraged to take advantage of AAUW’s campus leadership programs, many of which are free to you.

Does AAUW national offer funds to student organizations?

The national office does not offer funding for student orgs, though we do have campus grants you can apply for. If you need help applying for other grants or for funds at your university, we can help you make your application the best it can possibly be.

We ran out of materials for tabling. How can I get more?

Many of the AAUW brochures are free and available on ShopAAUW. You just pay a small fee for shipping. Additionally, on ShopAAUW you can purchase pens, highlighters, and other fun giveaway goodies.

How frequently does my organization need to communicate with the national office?

Your organization needs to choose an AAUW liaison; usually, it’s the president of your org. This person communicates with the national office once a month. If you’re hosting an event, your liaison should let us know and follow up afterward about how it went and send photos. We want to know about your great events so we can share with other orgs and with the AAUW community.

What if I have more questions?

Feel free to contact coll-univ@aauw.org for additional resources and support.

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