How to Start a Club

How to Start a Club

What Is a Club?

A SSMU Club is a student-run group, officially recognized by the Students’ Society of McGill University, that consists of 25 or more McGill University student members.

Benefits to Being a SSMU Club

As an Interim or Full Status Club you are eligible to apply for the following resources:

  • a bank account
  • funding
  • insurance coverage
  • SSMU email addresses
  • a SSMU domain for your website
  • website support
  • mailboxes
  • locker and storage space
  • room-booking privileges
  • student-run Services to assist during events
  • sponsorship support
  • event-planning support

Selection Criteria

There are a number of requirements your SSMU Club must meet to be considered for Interim Status:

  • Be unique (e.g., there can not be two chess-focused SSMU Clubs)
  • Demonstrate that there is a need and/or interest for its activities
  • Include processes by which the Club can continue to function year to year
  • Show financial sustainability in supporting its activities
  • Meet other criteria as determined by the Vice-President (Student Life) or the Club Committee

For more information on the conditions surrounding your Club’s Interim Status, please visit the Interim Status Club Approval Rubric

Interim Club Status Application

Interim Status is a probationary period for new SSMU Clubs that lasts 3–5 months, during which the new Club must meet all of the requirements and host at least 3 events or initiatives for its members.

All applications for the academic year 2019–2020 will be accepted only until March 31, 2020 at 5 p.m. Applications submitted after this date will be reviewed in the next academic year.

The Interim Club Status application process:
Step 1

Get in touch with the Club Administrative Assistant (clubadmin@ssmu.ca) to confirm whether or not any overlapping Clubs are already in existence.
You can also check the SSMU Club Directory to see if similar groups are currently listed.

Step 2

Become familiar with all the rights and responsibilities of Clubs as outlined in the Internal Regulations of Student Groups.
We recommend that you read this document before submitting your application.

Step 3

Prepare the following documentation to submit in your application:

  1. Cover letter: You will need to prepare a cover letter with an explanation of the goals, mandate, and operations of your Club, as well as how your Club will benefit students.
  2. Proposed Club’s Annual Budget: It is mandatory that your budget is formatted with Microsoft Excel or an equivalent spreadsheet program (.xlsx). You must use the Club Annual Budget template when building your budget. 
  3. Club Constitution: A Club Constitution is a Club’s primary governing document and outlines your Club’s mandate as well as its internal operations this includes a breakdown of the executive team, your membership fee (if applicable), and the procedure by which executives are elected. Clubs must use the following templates to create their proposed constitution: Executive Structure Template or Collective Structure Template
  4. Member List: In order to be considered for Interim Status, your Club must have at least 10 undergraduate or graduate students sign up as potential members should the Club be approved. Use the template membership list to submit your list.
  5. Affiliation: If your Club is a chapter of a larger organization or otherwise affiliated with a non-SSMU group, that group must write an Affiliation Letter to be included with your application. The letter should include details about the relationship between your Club and their organization, including any potential funding and other support, as well as any information you are required to submit to their organization. Ensure that this affiliation is reflected in Article 10 of your proposed constitution!

Step 5

After your application has been reviewed and your group is considered a viable candidate to become a SSMU Club, it will go to the SSMU Legislative Council and the SSMU Board of Directors for evaluation based on the criteria outlined in the Internal Regulations of Student Groups.

Step 6

The Club Administrative Assistant (clubadmin@ssmu.ca) will inform you of the final decision and the next steps to begin running your Club!

Approved Interim Club Applications

Before you start recruiting and operating as a SSMU Club, there are a number of administrative steps that you are required to take. These must be completed in order for you to retain your Interim Status. However, keep in mind that Interim Status is only temporary. If you wish to continue operating long term as a SSMU Club, you will need to apply for Full Status within 35 academic months or your status will automatically expire. 

Clubs that do not apply for Full Status by the 5-month deadline, or do not apply for an extension of their Interim Status, will lose all official status and the privileges associated with being a SSMU Club, including room bookings and access to Club funding.

In order to activate your membership and start receiving communications from the SSMU, please follow these 2 steps:

  1. Fill out the Student Group Information Form
  2. Create an official SSMU Club email. This can be done by contacting the Systems Administrator at itsupport@ssmu.ca.

Please visit the Maintaining Status page for a complete list of administrative procedures and regulations to maintain your Club’s status. 

Full Club Status Application

After 3 academic months have passed since your Club was granted Interim Status, you can begin applying for Full Status! (Note that if 5 months have passed since being granted Interim Status and you have not yet submitted an application for Full Status, you will lose Interim Status.) The application process for Full Status is the final step in starting your Club. Like the Interim Status Application, the Full Status Club Application requires the submission and completion of a number of components, all of which will be reviewed based on a standardized Full Status Club Approval Rubric.

When you have completed filling out the Full Status Application Form, please submit it electronically. When filling out this form, you will be required to provide information about how you fulfilled your mandate during the Interim Status period, how you contributed to the SSMU community, and what plans you have to ensure the longevity of your Club if you are granted Full Status. You will also be required to submit a Club budget (Club Annual Budget Template), a list of at least 25 members (Member List Template), and information about three events you have hosted.

The approval of a Full Status Application follows the same procedure as Interim Status Applications.

After your initial submission to the Club Commissioner via the online form, the application will be taken first to the Club Committee for review, then to the SSMU Legislative Council for approval, and finally to the SSMU Boards of Directors for ratification. 

In the case where your Club is not granted Full Status following the submission of the Full Status Application Form, you may submit an appeal through the Full Status Appeal Form. You will be able to provide information on circumstances that prevented the Club from meeting the standards outlined in the approval rubric. However, please keep in mind that the Club Committee is under no obligation to consider or grant appeals.

Frequently Asked Questions

SSMU Clubs, Services, and Independent Student Groups are all different designations that the SSMU gives to student groups based on their operations and their structures.

Clubs are interest groups, representing a wide variety of hobbies, interests, and causes, all of which are run entirely by other undergraduate students. While the commitment level varies, the involvement of members in any given Club can range from attending weekly meetings and volunteering on a regular basis to attending an event once or twice a semester. Clubs allow students to customize exactly how they want to be involved and how much time they want to devote to student life.

Services provide a wide range of services and resources to the entire McGill student body. Unlike Clubs, where students sign up to become members of a particular group, Services operate without formal membership lists because any McGill student is able to access the resources provided. SSMU Services offer countless opportunities to volunteer and serve the student body.

Like Clubs, Independent Student Groups (ISGs) are groups that centre around a specific interest or topic. However, they differ in that they are legally distinct, not-for-profit organizations and typically much larger than Clubs.

In order to be considered active and to remain in good standing, SSMU Clubs must fulfill the following requirements outlined in the Club Processes:

If a Club does not fulfill the criteria outlined above, or they misuse the services provided by the SSMU, sanctions may apply. Consequently, such activity may lead to the loss of Club status.

If a Club loses their Interim Status, they cease to be a SSMU Club and lose all the privileges associated with being one. Among other things, this means that the Club will no longer be included in the SSMU Club Listings, they will no longer be able to access the SSMU Club Fund, their SSMU bank account will be terminated, and they will not be able to book rooms in the University Centre or table at Activities Night for free.

In certain cases, Full Status Clubs may be moved to Interim Status where they will need to abide by all the necessary procedures in order to return to their former status.

We do our best to ensure the site is as up to date as possible, but new developments in Club processes may take time to go live. Please take note that the information listed above may not reflect the most recent changes.