A-Z Index

2022-23 Student Organization & Advisor Handbook

Updated: Aug. 2022

Download Printable Handbook View PDF

Table of Contents

  1. BEARCAT LINK – Page 3
    1. Essential Features (3)
    1. What Newbies Can Do (4)
    2. What Newbies Can’t Do (4)
    3. How to Apply (5)
    4. Recognition from Student Senate (5)
    1. Responsibilities of Recognized Student Orgs (5-6)
    2. Rights of Recognized Student Orgs (6)
    1. Anti-Hazing Policy (7)
    2. Title IX Policy (7)
    3. Student Code of Conduct (7-8)
    4. Student Travel Policy (8)
    1. Purchase Cards/Visa (8)
    2. Accounts (8)
    3. Cash Withdrawal/Requesting Check (8)
    4. Account Balance (9)
  10. CLOSING PROCEDURES – Page 9-10
    1. Closing (9)
    2. Delayed Opening (9)
    3. Early Closure/Evenings & Weekends (10)
  11. PROMOTIONS – Page 10-11
    1. Posting Policy (10)
    2. Sidewalk Chalk (10)
    3. Bulletin Boards (10)
    4. Movie Policy (10-11)
    5. Marketing (11)
  12. ORGANIZATION EVENTS – Page 11-15
    1. Student Organization Policy (11-14)
    2. Astra Scheduling (14)
    3. Catering/Sodexo (14-15)


Bearcat Link is our student organization system. There are various features within Bearcat Link to assist student organizations be successful, and also Bearcat Link serves as a “website” for student orgs.

Access Bearcat Link through the Connect tab on the University Website or at the following link: Bearcat Link

  • Login information is your Northwest email and password
  • Once logged in, you can use the Resources tab on the main menu (between Forms and Profile) to learn how to use all the features of Bearcat Link.

Essential Features of Bearcat Link

  • Organization Webpage
    • Each organization will have their own Bearcat Link page. This page will display the org's purpose, roster, upcoming events, forms and/or constitution/bylaws.
    • A main contact is listed for other organizations or students to contact your organization.
  • Roster
    • This feature allows organizations to display what students are in their organization.
    • Once a student is listed on a roster for a student organization, it will be displayed on that student’s co-curricular transcript (discussed below).
    • Advisors and a primary contact are required to be listed on each organization’s page.
    • A minimum of ten members is required for each organization.
  • Events
    • Organizations can create event posts to promote upcoming events or meetings.
    • Through the event submission form, orgs can upload their poster/flyer to get the OSI approve to promote their event.
  • Attendance
    • Once an event is created and approved by the OSI, you can track attendance several ways:
    • You can track attendance by scanning student’s Digital ID apps or inputting their 919#/email manually with your Checkpoint app.
    • You can also track attendance through the Bearcat Link/Presence event itself (with 919#/email).
  • Forms
    • Bearcat Link has a form builder feature that orgs can use to create forms for just their members or anyone on Bearcat Link. This can be for event ideas, applications to apply to be in the org, or etc. Forms are built however you would like!
  • Elections
    • Bearcat Link features an election feature that allows you to conduct elections through your organization’s page. This is all confidential.
  • Service Hours
    • All Northwest students should submit their service hours through Bearcat Link. This can be done through the Apply for Opportunity form on the Forms page.
  • Co-Curricular Transcript
    • A Co-Curricular Transcript is a document that students can download that displays all involvement in student organizations and service hours performed. Great for students to attach to a resume as an official Northwest document that confirms their involvement.


Student Organizations are governed by Student Senate. The following sections will discuss student organization categories, the new organization recognition process, the re-registration process, student organization responsibilities and rights, and the resources provided to organizations via the Student Senate Organizational Affairs Committee and Lead Green.

Student Organization Categories

  • Academic/Departmental
  • Events & Event Planning
  • Governing
  • Greek Social Fraternities and Sororities
  • Honor Society
  • Identity-Based
  • Multicultural
  • Performing
  • Political
  • Religious
  • Residential Life Hall Councils
  • Service/Volunteer
  • Special Interest
  • Sport Clubs
  • Student Media


If you are wanting to start a new student organization on campus, please consider the following:

  • Is there an existing organization, club or group already meeting the purpose of your new organization?
  • Are there others who are interested in this endeavor and ready to take leadership positions?
  • What experiences or opportunities will come from the creation of a new organization?

What can new organizations do?

  • Reserve information tables in the J.W. Jones Student Union (2 per semester)
  • Reserve rooms for meetings across campus (2 per semester)
  • Post fliers across campus (2 per semester, with OSI approval) for general recognition and informational meetings only

What can’t new organizations do?

  • No dues may be collected.
  • No fundraisers/philanthropy events may be held.
  • No events may be held on or off campus.

How to Apply

  1. New Orgs must have a name, student leadership (president & treasurer), an on-campus advisor, interested members (at least 10), and a complete constitution/bylaws.
  2. Complete the “New Organization Application” form on the Office of Student Involvement’s Bearcat Link page (Office of Student Involvement Bearcat Link Page).

Recognition from Student Senate

  1. The Internal Relations Committee of Student Senate will review your application. The committee will review the application and determine eligibility to receive full recognition from Student Senate.
  2. If deemed eligible, Internal Relations Committee will facilitate meeting times and dates with the person(s) organizing the new organization.
  3. Following recognition, new organizations must meet the following criteria before final approval by the Office of Student Involvement.
    1. The student organization’s President and Treasurer must complete the Recognized Student Organization (RSO) Training located on NW Online.
    2. The student organization’s faculty/staff advisor must complete the RSO Training located on NW Online one time. If there are updates to RSO Training, we will notify the advisor which modules contain new information for their review.
  4. Following completion of the above steps, your organization will be fully recognized. Once approved, this recognition is good from the date of approval through October 1 of the following academic year.


Each academic year student organizations are asked to re-register their organization through Bearcat Link. This re-registration process takes place in the Fall semester and is required by the Office of Student Involvement and Student Senate’s Organizational Affairs Committee. Emails will be sent the primary contact/president and the advisor listed on the organization’s Bearcat Link page.

There is instructions how to re-register your organization on the Resources tab on the main menu under
Re-registering Organizations.

If organizations fail to complete re-registration by the designated deadline they will be placed on a probationary period. If student organizations fail to complete re-registration during that period or respond to communication via Senate, their recognition status will be revoked.


Student Organizations are expected to adhere to all applicable institutional regulations. The University reserves the right to determine the appropriate time, place, content, and manner for conducting activities, and posting and distribution of materials on any of its campuses. Consequently, the University may deny or restrict the activities of student organizations.

Student organizations are expected to exercise good judgment in planning and promoting their activities. Failure to do so may result in conduct action being initiated against the organization; consequently, policies, procedures and sanctions set forth within the Code of Conduct apply to student organizations collectively as well as to individual students. The Office of Student Involvement will work in conjunction with the Assistant Vice President of Students Affairs and the Conduct Coordinator in any conduct action.

Responsibilities of Recognized Student Organizations

  1. Must be registered on Bearcat Link.
  2. Must have an Advisor that is a Northwest Missouri State University faculty or staff member.
  3. Must maintain current roster on Bearcat Link.
  4. Must maintain a current constitution/bylaws on Bearcat Link.
  5. Responsible for all finances related to the student organization.
  6. Responsible for the safety and well-being of its members and guests while participating in the activities of the student organization, including but not limited to meetings and events.
  7. Responsible for the safe operation of their programs and events.
  8. Must abide by the Anti-Hazing policy (see below).
  9. Must abide by the Title IX policy (see below).
  10. Must abide by all rules and policies of Northwest Missouri State University and the laws of the local, state and federal government.

Rights of Registered Student Organizations

  1. Recruit Northwest Missouri State University students as members.
  2. Use of digital signage, bulletin boards and sidewalk chalking according to University policies.
  3. Apply for Student Senate appropriations for events/endeavors as appropriate based on Student Senate By-Laws.
  4. Be placed on official lists of recognized student organizations
  5. Participate in services or events in university facilities that are announced as open to all recognized student organizations, including the Homecoming.
  6. Be eligible for awards or honors presented to student organizations and members.
  7. Use of facilities in accordance with University policy and with proper reservations.
  8. The opportunity to sponsor activities on campus in accordance with University policy.
  9. Right to request an organizational FOAP aka banking on-campus.


Student Senate’s Organizational Affairs Committee is responsible for the following according to Student Senate’s By-Laws:

  1. Recommend new student organizations for approval by Student Senate.
  2. Maintain a database of student organizations including current and archival information.
  3. Work with the Office of Student Involvement regarding student organizations placed on probationary status.
  4. Maintain organizational mailboxes.
  5. Recommend the appropriation of funds to student organizations.
  6. Consider all other issues relating to student organizations not otherwise assigned by Student Senate or enumerated in these bylaws.

Org Affairs is a resource for students when needing recognition, appropriated funds, organizational issues, or etc. This committee is there as a resource to all recognized student organizations. Please see the Senate By-Laws on their Bearcat Link page for more information on these processes: Student Senate's Bearcat Link Page


Lead Green is non-credit, co-curricular based program that is designed to develop leaders who will impact the greater campus community. Student Organizations are recommended to contact Lead Green if they need assistance with the following:

  • Navigating Bearcat Link & any related issues with an organization’s page
  • Advisor Training
  • Officer Transitions
  • Leadership Workshops
  • Organizational Trainings
  • Any Organization Related Topics (except constitution/bylaws, changing of name/purpose, impeachment, & appropriations which would all fall to Senate Org Affairs Committee)


Student Organizations should adhere by the policies under the Student Life Policies established by Northwest Missouri State University. All of these policies are available on the Northwest Website: Student Life Policies. Specifically, this handbook will cover the Anti-Hazing Policy, Title IX Policy and the Code of Conduct.

Anti-Hazing Policy

The act of hazing is a violation of Northwest Missouri State University’s Student Conduct Code and Missouri State Law. Northwest Missouri State University does not condone nor tolerate hazing of any type by any organization, or by an individual against another individual. The following Missouri State statues define hazing in an educational institution and the penalties associated with individuals caught in the act of hazing. Missouri State Law/Statutes on Hazing 578.360. As used in sections 578.360 to 578.365, unless the context clearly requires otherwise… policy can be found on the Northwest Website Anti-Hazing Policy

Title IX Policy

It is the policy of the University to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and it’s implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination based on sex in the University’s educational programs and activities… policy can be found on the Northwest Website Title IX Policy

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct at Northwest has been approved by the Board of Regents and functions on the premise that every student should adhere to various rules and regulations of the University and should receive a fair and impartial, closed hearing before a Student Conduct Board that includes students when charged with a violation of these rules and regulations. The Student Code of Conduct outlines all procedures in the conduct process as it pertains to violations, making a complaint, investigations, pre-hearing procedures, committee hearing procedures, sanctions, and appeals… policy can be found on the Northwest Website Student Code of Conduct

Student Organization Conduct Policy

A formally recognized student organization acts through its members, but the University understands that an individual can violate a University policy independent of the individual’s affiliation with the student organization. Therefore, if a charge is filed against a student organization pursuant to this Policy, the University will, as explained in more detail throughout this Policy, review the underlying allegations and make a threshold determination as to whether the charge, if proven true, should proceed against the student organization or whether the underlying conduct is independent of the individual(s)’ affiliation with the student organization. A charge that is based on conduct that is independent of the individual(s)’ affiliation with the student organization will not be pursued against the student organization but may still be pursued against the individual(s) through other University policies. The threshold determination will be viewed on the totality of the circumstances. Student-Organization-Conduct Policy

Student Travel Policy

This policy provides information to assist University Faculty and Staff members in planning and conducting classroom and/or co-curricular trips. If an org is needing to reserve a University Vehicle, the advisor will need to contact University Transportation. Student Travel Policy, Transportation - Vehicle Rental


Purchase Cards (VISA)

  • Purchase Cards are no longer available for checkout to organizations (please see below under account information on how to request cash advances/check request)
  • Or another option is to open an account with a debit card at US Bank
    • For this to happen the advisor of your organization would be responsible for the account and debit card along with any transactions related to it
    • The advisor would be responsible for additions and removal of replacement advisors


  • Advisors and/or Executive board members will be responsible for the organization’s accounts and the necessary paperwork needed to do the following:
    • Deposits
      • Slips are provided through the cashiering department and may be picked up at the cashiering desk
      • Deposit slips must be signed by your acting advisor prior to deposit
      • Deposit slips must include your account number and 919# for your organization
      • Advisors/and or President of the organization must keep all necessary copies of paperwork pertaining to the account
    • Cash Withdrawals or Request for Check
      • Request for Cash or check may be done by using a Direct Pay Voucher (located on the controller website)
      • Request for Cash or check Direct Pay Voucher deadline is on Monday’s at 4:00 pm turned into the accounting department
      • Cash and checks will be disbursed the same week on Thursday if submitted by Monday
      • Please submit Cash Advance and Check Requests 3-4 weeks prior to your event if you are purchasing supplies, food, giveaways, etc.
      • Make sure a contact name, email and phone number is on the Direct Pay Voucher if picking up check
      • For picking up the cash advance or check, please make sure to make note of this on the Direct Pay Voucher and highlight to alert the accounting department so they will not mail it to the vendor
      • Request for Cash or check must be filled out and signed by your organization’s advisor
    • Direct Pay Cash Withdrawals up to $250
      • Request for Cash Withdrawal must be filled out using a Direct pay Voucher signed by two executive members (includes yourself) and your organization’s advisor
      • Cash Withdrawal limit is $250 and may be submitted to Cashiering located in the Administration Building
      • Please refer to the Advisor Training Module on Canvas or review the RSO training video located on the OSI website.
    • Purchase Requisitions
      • Purchasing Info/Forms
      • Used to pay contract vendors
      • Please see the detailed tutorial for directions available on the Purchasing website
      • Purchasing- 660.562.1177
    • Account Balance
      • Advisors and Executive Board members may request the account balance at the Office of Student Involvement front desk if the organization has an account on campus. The office staff will be able to retrieve the information for the advisor and the Executive Board (a 24 hour notice is appreciated)
      • The organization Advisor and Executive Board may ask the Accounting Department (located on the first floor of the Administration building) and receive any information that pertains to your account on campus.


Procedure for Student Organizations and Clubs during University Closure:


  • When the University is closed, it is expected that only designated essential employees will come to the University to fulfill their responsibilities. When a closing or cancellation occurs, essential employees will report to work as usual. Essential staff provides services that relate directly to the health, safety, and welfare of the University, ensure continuity of key operations, and maintain and protect University properties. There are some individuals who may be required to perform essential services remotely. Those individuals will be identified in advance and notified by their supervisor. All other members of the Office of Student Involvement community – including students, staff, student organizations, and clubs– are expected not to come to the University, which will not be staffed to support anything other than essential functions.
  • When the University announces a closure, all non-academic activities and services (i.e., student organizations, clubs, Greek Life meetings and special events, programs and/or conferences), will also be canceled. All administrative offices will be closed.

Delayed Opening

  • When Northwest Missouri State University announces a delayed opening, the University will announce the time at which it will open which will include the Office of Student Involvement. Special events and programs scheduled to start before opening time will be canceled or delayed, until a later date and/or time.

Early Closure/Evenings and Weekends

  • When the University announces an early closure, or a closure on a Saturday or Sunday, all affected special events or programs will be canceled or rescheduled. An announcement will be sent by email and text message. All efforts will be made to post the announcement regarding canceling Saturday and/or Sunday special events and programs by 6:00 a.m. on the day of the closing.

Dead Week/Finals Week

  • For each Fall and Spring semester, finals week is designated as Dead Week. The intent of this policy is to establish a one-week period for substantial and predictable study time for undergraduate students. Registered Northwest Missouri State University Organizations may not hold any meetings, functions, or sponsored events during the Dead Week period. The Dead Week period will start at 11:59pm the Friday before finals week. Any exception to these restrictions must be authorized in advance by the Office of Student Involvement’s Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.
  • Students are reminded that their academic curriculum is their principal reason for being in college and they have a responsibility to study in a timely fashion throughout the entire semester. The Office of Student Involvement will publicize and monitor this policy each semester.

Nothing from within the procedure prohibits an organization from delaying or canceling any event or program if they deem the weather inclement


Posting Policy

Student Organizations are required to have their posters approve through the Office of Student Involvement. The Posting Policy is located on the Office of Student Involvement Bearcat Link Page under documents.

Postings should contain the following to get the approval stamp:

  • Who is sponsoring the event?
  • What is the event being promoted/advertised?
  • Where will the event take place? (Be specific!)
  • When is the event? (Include date and time)
  • Contact Information

Sidewalk Chalking

Organizations can reserve spaces to sidewalk chalk on the Bearcat Link Sidewalk Chalking Form (under Forms). Sidewalk chalking should be appropriate and is used to promote an event, or etc. This is typically reserved for one week at a time.

Bulletin Board Reservations

Organizations can sign-up on the Bearcat Link Bulletin Board Application (under forms) to reserve a bulletin board. Organizations can reserve bulletin boards to promote their events, or etc. These are typically reserved for two weeks at a time.

Movie Policy

Movies are a great way to reach out to other students and community members, but most are copyrighted and cannot be legally shown in a public setting without the proper permission from the copyright. It does not matter whether or not you charge attendance, collect donations or that the showing is free. The following are some brief guidelines that you should follow when considering whether or not you can show a movie as part of your planned activities.

Do I need To Obtain Public Performance Rights?

  • Yes if:
    • If the screening is open to the public, for example, if you are advertising it to the entire campus community as an event for others to attend.
    • If the screening is in a location where access is not restricted.
    • If the persons in attendance are outside the normal circle of family and acquaintances, such as showing a film to a club or organization, or showing a film for class but inviting others to attend.
  • No if:
    • If privately viewing the film in your room with your friends.
    • If an instructor is showing the film as an “integral part of a class session” and is supervised by an instructor in a classroom and attended only by students enrolled in a registered course.

More information on Copyright and Public Performing Rights is available from Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. at

Where can I get Public Performance Rights for a film?

Please contact the Office of Student Involvement with any questions about how to acquire Public Performance Rights or if you are unsure if you need Public Performance Rights for the film you are interested in showing.


Below are a few resources to market your event and/or organization

  • Contact Student Media (Missourian, Yearbook, KNWT TV, etc.) through Bearcat Link to have their services advertise for your organization.
  • Contact University Marketing and Communications or on their website select media and fill out the “submit news event” form to have them feature your organization. This office also provides university photographers at events, post events on the NW Calendar, etc.
  • Request to have your flyer posted on the TV’s in the union after it is approved through the OSI front desk.


Student Organizations are encourage to plan events throughout the Northwest Missouri State University campus and the community! Please follow the above policies and procedures established by the OSI and the University. 

Student Organization Event Registration Policy

The Office of Student Involvement is committed to ensuring successful student organization operations. As such, there are a variety of policies and processes required of student organizations when holding meetings and/or events. The purpose of this policy is to ensure student organizations are following all required policies and legal requirements when hosting meetings and/or events. Additionally, registering for these meetings and/or events will create more opportunities for organizations to connect with students across campus. All student organization events must be registered on Bearcat Link through the Event Registration Form and approved by the Office of Student Involvement. 

 Student Organization Event Registration Policy


Astra Schedule is our web-based scheduling program. Utilize this system to reserve rooms across campus including: student union meeting rooms, ballroom, PAC, classrooms, bell tower, and information tables etc. Rooms should be reserved within 48 hours of the event, Astra Scheduler Form. There is also a step-by-step process for how to use Astra. Astra Scheduler Guide

Contact the University Event Scheduling Coordinator, Mark Hendrix at 660-562-1420 or


Northwest is contracted through Sodexo for our campus dining and catering. Sodexo catering should be utilized at all events that take place on campus, especially the union. There are exceptions to this rule, for which a catering exemption form should be filled out, Catering Exemption Form

Student Organizations will need to order catering through the catering office, and/or have their advisor utilize the catering website. If there is something you cannot find, email the catering office at or walk on over to their office! They are located on the 2nd floor of the union across from the OSI.


Many student organizations complete service and philanthropy hours, but student organizations are sometimes left wondering what the difference is and how to log these hours. Find a more detailed account of Service vs. Philanthropy Hours under the Resources tab on Bearcat Link’s main menu.

Service Hours

Service Hours are when one donates their time and/or labor to a project or organization. This could be raking leaves, painting cabins, beach clean-up, etc. There should be no donations or compensation. These hours should be logged through the Bearcat Link Apply for Opportunities form. Instructions on how to do this are located under the Resources tab on the main menu of Bearcat Link.

Philanthropy Hours

Philanthropy “hours” are typically donated items that are converted into hours dependent on the amount donated. Philanthropic donations could be: money, blood, food/cans, goods, etc. Unless your organization has requested to log philanthropy hours through the OSI, philanthropy is primarily Greek. This form is currently under construction. Instructions on how to complete this form will be located under the Resources tab on the main menu of Bearcat Link.

Questions? Comments?

Contact the Office of Student Involvement ( or check out our Bearcat Link page for more information or questions! We are open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. We are located on the 2nd floor of the Student Union.