Registered student organizations guidance

Registered student organizations are an important part of what makes the University of Iowa a great place to learn, grow, and thrive. As part of the university’s commitment to returning to face-to-face experiences and instruction this fall, we are sure that each of you are eager to better understand how your organization can thrive and contribute during this academic year.

Our team in Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement are here to help guide you and your organizations to success. We hope to be able to provide communication, guidelines, and support to you as you work to navigate what this semester and academic year will look like. We also understand that for many student organizations the realities of the pandemic have impacted and will continue to impact the goals and visions you may have had for this year.

Below is one of our collective first steps in communication and support for student organizations. As things continue to evolve this summer and into the fall semester we plan on consistent communication and updates. We are also committed to being available for individual and small group consultations as student organizations work to understand the applications of these guidelines.

We appreciate your patience and commitment to creating a vision for what student engagement and student organization operations will look like this fall. We look forward to working with you collaboratively to make this a safe, productive, and impactful semester. Thank you for all that you do to make your student organizations strong members of the University of Iowa campus community.

Ian Van Anden
Associate Director
Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement


Registered Student Organizations: Event Experiences

Guidance for Student Engagement Efforts and Registered Student Organization Activities

To preserve the critical university mission of student success, all student engagement efforts and registered student organization activities are strongly encouraged to be held in a virtual format. We have a shared responsibility to the communities in which we live, learn, work, and serve. By limiting the number of students, employees, and community members involved with in-person activities we will reduce the potential exposure to and spread of the virus – not only through our student population but many of the vulnerable community members living in the greater Iowa City area.  

Virtual engagement is a demonstration that we are centering student (and community) health and well-being. Being a Hawkeye means we are accountable to each other, and we take responsibility for our own health, our choices, and the protection of others. Our collective work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 ensures that we all can continue our time on campus and receive all the benefits and resources that it has to offer. 

We encourage students to connect within their own “pod or family units”, as described below, or attend services, trainings, worship, or other university-sponsored courses or departmental events. It is an effort to align with changing guidance, reduce density, mitigate risk, and limit the spread of the virus within our community and Hawkeye family.  

All student organization events must be submitted through the Engage platform using the Event Information Form. You can learn more about how to do this through our Manage Your Organization resource page

All events are subject to additional review and questions related to health and safety guidelines with attention towards social distancing and the use of protective equipment. Virtual events need to be submitted through this process as well. This includes drives, collections, etc.

The event staff in the Iowa Memorial Union is currently reviewing capacities and room designs that will allow for social distancing and adherence to health and safety protocols. Set-ups for meeting rooms and most large programming spaces have been re-designed to allow for six feet of social distancing. Additional information about these rooms designs and potential costs will be available during the planning in partnership with the IMU event staff

Governor’s Proclamation / Compliance with Guidance

To align with the Governor’s most recent proclamation we are committed to supporting student success both on and off-campus. The proclamation changes earlier student organization guidance regarding in-person events. Participation in any in-person event or social gathering on or off campus that includes 15 or more individuals indoors or 30 or more individuals outdoors and does not follow the requirements set forth in the governor's Nov. 16 proclamation will be considered a violation of the Code of Student Life and may result in disciplinary action by the Office of Student Accountability.

As a result of this proclamation and current guidance for registered student organizations (RSO), including sports clubs, fraternities, and sororities, the Office of Student Accountability will provide swift discipline regarding reports of organizations and students out of compliance with this guidance. The Office of Student Accountability may immediately impose an interim suspension on reported RSOs. The interim suspension will remain in place for the duration of the investigation into the allegations and will involve a suspension of all activities and operations of the registered student organization. This includes all student organization meetings (in-person and virtual), programs, or social events of any nature. 

Updated Guidance for Student Gatherings 

This guidance applies to behavior occurring both on and off campus. The university strongly encourages students to limit their participation in gatherings involving groups of students, beyond housemates, roommates, pods, or your small campus “family unit” (such as floormates in the residence hall) in light of their potential impact on the health and safety of members of the University community. Pods or “family units” are defined as those small groups of people who have limited interactions, social or otherwise, with one another. As such groups that have been living together in social spaces up to this point, to include residence hall roommates and potentially floormates, off-campus apartment roommates and housemates, and fraternity and sorority house residents are able to engage physically within a quarantine pod while social distancing and wearing a face covering. Because the aforementioned groups of students are already within close proximity to each other, socializing while taking necessary precaution is something that is supported.   

Off-Campus Activities

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 within the Iowa City community, it has become imperative to set stricter guidelines for social distancing for public health. Therefore, participation in any in-person event, program, or social gathering at an off-campus location that includes ten or more people and does not follow the requirements set forth in the Governor’s 08/21 proclamation will be considered a violation of the Code of Student Life. These gatherings, when reported to the university, may result in disciplinary action consistent with the risky nature of the behavior. Additional questions or clarification can be provided by the Office of Student Accountability. 

We understand that you may own or rent the space in which you live; however, as students, you are subject to the guidelines of the University regardless of your proximity to the University of Iowa campus per the Code of Student Life.  While your residence may be off campus, your actions off campus impact the ability for the University to continue in-person operations as well as the health and safety of the University of Iowa and Iowa City communities. 

These guidelines come after consultation with officials from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the Governor of Iowa.  We expect that students will adhere to this guidance in order to continue in-person operations. 

We truly want each Hawkeye to have the best experience possible. We know that this may not be the experience you all wanted, but we know in order to provide you the best experience, we need to work together.

Student Organization Business Office (SOBO)

Effective Fall 2020, the Student Organization Business Office (IMU room 132) will re-open on an appointment only basis (limited to 1 member per visit) to accommodate social distancing recommendations.  Appointments can be requested by contacting sobo@uiowa.edu for student organization deposits and credit card (p-card) checkouts.  All other business should be conducted through email and/or virtual conference meetings. 

Student Organization Expenses

It is highly recommended to spend personal funds and seek reimbursement from your student organization whenever possible.  Keep in mind University Purchasing rules still apply (i.e. printing/copying, personal supplies, hazardous materials, etc.).  Find out more by reviewing Policies Affecting Student Organizations.  Credit card checkouts are available on an appointment-only basis.  Email sobo@uiowa.edu with an attached credit card request form to schedule an appointment with a staff member at least 1 business day prior to your desired appointment day.  Please ensure your Outlook calendar is up to date. Reimbursement, credit card request, and more forms can be found on our SOBO Forms page. Email approval from an account signer in lieu of a signature is sufficient.  We are not using paper forms until further notice (with the exception of deposit forms)

Please contact us for advice prior to service agreements/purchases, purchases over $5000, or any unique purchase request.

Student Organization Deposits:

Collecting money:  We are encouraging student organizations to collect money safely with proper social distancing. This may include collecting money by electronic means, mail, or meetings that comply with recommended health and safety guidelines. 

Statement on collecting money by electronic means:

Currently, the only approved 3rd party vendor for student organizations to have money directly deposited with the University is Signmeup.com. The University has a contract with Signmeup.com to allow a student organization to set up an account with reduced fees. If a student organization is interested in creating a Signmeup page, the organization must first contact paul-braem@uiowa.edu for instructions on how to set up a Signmeup page that will link to their SOBO (Student Organization Business Office) account.

Presidents, Treasurers, or other organization leaders may use 3rd party electronic money collection services such as Venmo, PayPal, etc. provided the account is set up under their own personal name.  Accounts may not be created using the name of a student organization or the University of Iowa and will not be linked to a University account.  There could be a potential for tax liability for the individual collecting the money.  As such, individuals should proceed at their own risk. The University does not offer tax advice to individuals.  Money received using these services should be treated no differently than receiving cash.  The funds should be withdrawn and deposited as soon as possible into the organization’s SOBO account located at 132 IMU.

Deposit by appointment:

Contact sobo@uiowa.edu to schedule an appointment with a staff member.  Please ensure your Outlook calendar is up to date and describe your planned deposit.  It is recommended that you count the cash and endorse the back of each check with your student organization’s name and “for deposit only” prior to your appointment.  Please contact your scheduler if you need to reschedule. 

Deposit by mail (checks only; do not mail cash):

Checks made payable to your student organization should be mailed to:

Student Organization Business Office

Attn: Lisa

132 Iowa Memorial Union

Iowa City, IA 52242

We will continue to provide updates as recommended health guidelines and office procedures change. Please e-mail sobo@uiowa.edu with all questions and requests.

Accountability and Community Response

As part of our community commitment to health and safety, we are relying on the leadership from all our student organizations and community members. We each have a responsibility to one another, and our larger surrounding area to observe and follow the guidance provided as part of our response to COVID-19. As part of that, we are hoping each of you takes seriously your support of each other and our community. As you plan and execute events it is expected that organizations, their leaders, and members adhere to the provided guidance. In cases where the guidance is not being followed, future opportunities to host events, meetings, and activities may be denied. We encourage you to keep yourself and your peers accountable when you notice guidance is not being followed. In cases where this is not possible you can also submit a concern regarding the actions of an individual or organization through the Dean of Students Office: https://dos.uiowa.edu/report-concern. You can also contact Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement regarding questions you have about the guidance or student organizations.

Health and safety

The university has been developing and implementing new policies and procedures to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread (University COVID-19). The university will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) in consultation with UI experts.

To protect employee health and safety, students, faculty, and staff must:

  • Wear applicable face coverings (cloth covering, disposable or cloth mask, face shield) in
    all university buildings, including classrooms, unless alone in a private office. The university will provide each student, faculty, and staff member:
    • two cloth masks
    • two disposable masks
    • one face shield
  • Follow social distancing guidelines of maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from others on campus when feasible.
  • Stay home (and report) if you develop any symptom(s) consistent with COVID-19 (cough, difficulty breathing, fever or chills, sore throat, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea).

Cleaning and disinfecting

Facilities Management will continue to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, including the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces. Hand sanitizing stations (distributed and restocked by Facilities Management) will be available at the entrances of each university building. See UI Facilities Management's COVID-19 response page for more information. In some cases, these additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols may result in longer than normal turnover windows between meetings and events.

What comes next

We will continue to monitor and evolve our policies, guidelines, and supports as things develop within and outside the university. This is a fluid and at times unpredictable situation where we are left with no easy answers. We encourage you to reach out with questions, to provide feedback, and I know we are committed to the success of your leadership experiences and student organizations. We are confident in your commitment in your investment in helping make this is a safe and successful fall semester.

Fall 2020 re-opening practices

The Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement staff will return to limited in-person staff presence beginning August 24, 2020. 

  • The Community Space opens August 24, 2020, with no desk staffing.
  • The Student Organization Office Suite (SOOS) opens on August 24, 2020.
  • The Student Activities Center (SAC) opens on August 24, 2020.

Contact Us

Phone: 319-335-3059

Email: DSL-leadandserve@uiowa.edu

To find updated information about our offerings, events, workshops, and other future programming, please continue to check the Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement website and Campus Labs Engage.