Start a New Student Organization

IST student organizations are those whose mission, programs, and membership are intended primarily to enhance the co-curricular experiences of IST students. All IST student organizations must work with IST’s Office of Student Engagement to first be recognized through Penn State's Office of Student Activities.

Once recognized, students interested in starting a new student organization should take the following steps:

1. Develop an Organization Concept

A new student organization should fill a gap in IST's student engagement community rather than compete with existing organizations. Before pursuing your idea for a new group, review the list of current IST student organizations. If there is an opportunity for a new student organization, prepare a concept to share with a staff or faculty member who may serve as your adviser.

2. Submit Organization Proposal

Upon submitting an entry to the New IST Student Organization form, you will be contacted by IST's Office of Student Engagement to schedule a meeting. This meeting will provide you more instruction and direction in creating your student organization, and provide you with both the Penn State and IST requirements. While you are waiting to meet, you should continue preparing the student organization requirements.

3. Secure a Faculty/Staff Adviser

Your adviser should be a Penn State faculty or staff member who is knowledgeable about the subject matter of your student organization. Ask IST faculty and staff who they think may be a suitable candidate for your adviser. Approach a potential adviser with your ideas about your organization and its purpose before you ask them if they would be willing to take on the responsibility.

4. Recruit Student Members

Every student organization requires a minimum of 10 student members who are enrolled at University Park, including the required officers. It is to your strategic benefit to recruit students of all class years and with a variety of skills. More experienced members can pass down their knowledge to newer members, and members who are early in their academic careers can take on leadership roles when officers graduate.

5. Appoint or Elect Officers

Every student organization requires a minimum of three officers: a president, vice president, and treasurer. You are welcome to establish additional officer positions. Convening officers may be appointed, but elections of inaugural members are recommended.

6. Complete Recognition Process

Penn State’s Office of Student Activities recognizes all Penn State student organizations. The College of IST’s assistant director of student engagement will support the student’s submission of recognition to the Office of Student Activities. The requirements from the Office of Student Activities will be reviewed during the consultation meeting.


Office of Student Engagement

E103 Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802

Make an Appointment
(814) 865-8947