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Clubs thrive at Notre Dame

Emily Schrank | Tuesday, April 19, 2011

With more than 250 clubs on campus to choose from, Notre Dame offers students plenty of outlets for their interests. However, most students don’t realize how much “behind the scenes” work it takes to start these clubs and keep them running.

Student Programs Coordinator Mary Kate Havlik said the Student Activities Office (SAO) and the Club Coordination Council (CCC) are responsible for the approval and recognition of all 242 undergraduate and 58 graduate clubs at Notre Dame.

“These groups review the prospective club’s mission and determine whether a similar group already exists,” she said. “The CCC in particular reviews the club for its organization and sustainability as a club in the future.”

Havlik said prospective clubs are only reviewed twice a year by SAO, at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

“The approval process can take a while,” she said. “Many groups may not be approved the same semester they were proposed.”

Havlik said prospective clubs should have a constitution with the group’s purpose, a list of officers and a faculty advisor, a tentative list of events with a budget and, if necessary, departmental consent.

“For instance, if you wanted to start an athletic club, you might need the approval of RecSports,” she said.

If an undergraduate group is approved through the prospective club approval process, their first year is probationary, Havlik said.

“During that year, the club must meet certain CCC guidelines in order to receive full recognition by SAO,” she said. “They set a minimum number of events for an undergraduate club to accomplish in the probationary year.”

Every year, several groups decide they do not have enough interest and choose to become inactive and disband, Havlik said.

Prospective clubs must have at least four officers, but there is no minimum number of members they need to have, Havlik said.

Havlik added that student groups work best when they maintain a strong presence at Notre Dame.

“After that first year, there is no minimum number of events, but all clubs are encouraged to remain active and visible on campus,” she said.