Student org naming policy

5 Replies

Student org naming policy

Posted by Jessi Eaton on Oct 9, 2018 11:29 am

Hi, friends--

We are in the process of re-evaluating our naming policy for student orgs. Currently, we allow Campus Life Programs (dept sponsored) to use UMD in their name, but Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) can use it as a locator only. In other words, it's the difference between UMD Chemistry Club and Chemistry Club at UMD.

I have a memory of an ed session in Philly? Anaheim? about this topic, and I remember that the presenter's school had decided to eliminate a similar rule. If that's you, help! And even if that's not you, what's your policy on naming conventions of this variety?

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Re: Student org naming policy

Posted by Jennifer Pelletier on Oct 9, 2018 5:46 pm

Hi Jessi -
At Ohio State, student orgs are not considered legal entities of the university, and this relationship directly informs how they are able to use the university's name and other branding elements. We only allow student orgs to use the university's name at the end of their name, to indicate location. This is outlined in our Student Org Guidelines, accessible from our "Resources" webpage at
Good luck with your process!

Re: Student org naming policy

Posted by Kelli Farris on Oct 10, 2018 9:28 am

Hi Jessi-

At Kansas State we just went through a policy change that now designates our student organizations as either Departmental Student Organizations (DSOs) or Independent Student Organizations (ISOs). Those that register as DSOs are allowed to utilized the K-State name and brand as a piece of their identity as they are seen as part of the university, however those registered as ISOs are not allowed to as they are simply that, independent from the university. ISOs are, however, allowed to utilize "at Kansas State University" to identify a location.  Further, we don't allow our ISOs groups to utilize any resemblance of our university logos/wordmarks.

You can view the entire policy at We have had the policy in place now for about a year and a half and are seeing some real change on campus.


Re: Student org naming policy

Posted by Jeremy Sippel on Oct 10, 2018 9:33 am

Hi Jessi!
At Texas A&M University-Commerce, since student orgs are not considered to have a direct relationship with the university they are not allowed to use the university name; however, the Student Government and Campus Activities Board are allowed to do so because they have a direct relationship with the university. If a student organization wants to use any version of the university name (TAMUC, A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Commerce) they need to put  "organization name" at Texas A&M University-Commerce. We have it in our student organization policy handbook online here:
Good luck!

Re: Student org naming policy

Posted by Colin Spaulding on Oct 10, 2018 12:42 pm

Hi Jessi, I'm not sure if you were referencing my ed session in Anaheim or not. I addressed the topic briefly in one slide - the session was mostly about some recent changes our institution undertook with student orgs, which happened to include some items around naming and branding. At CU Boulder, all student organizations are considered third-parties and are non-departmental. We explain this to orgs as being "at CU" and not "of CU". As for naming, our Strategic Relations department made the determination about three years ago that orgs could name themselves essentially whatever they would like, using the institution's name and the name of our teams before or after the org name. The only exception was if an org's name could indicate institutional support of a political topic/candidate. However, the org "Buffs for Bernie" was deemed okay around that time, as "buffs" was viewed as being the equivalent of students at the institution. Here's a link to some info our institution provides student organizations on using the brand and other marks: 

Re: Student org naming policy

Posted by Bob Rodda on Oct 11, 2018 11:57 am

Quick question for Jessi:  Can you detail a bit about what the "real change on campus" is?  What's changed?  Is it all good?