everything you need to know
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Whether this is your first time, or you are a returning club executive, welcome! It’s great that you’re getting involved in leading student life here at Lakehead University! Clubs are the backbone of the student experience, and we very much look forward to seeing what you and your members are going to do this year.
One of our jobs at LUSU is overseeing clubs and their many diverse and exciting activities, so if you have any questions about anything pertaining to your club, please don’t hesitate to contact your executive organizer.
Whatever your activities you have planned, we are sure they will be a blast and we look forward to helping you achieve your goals!
~ Your Executive Club Organizers
Club status gives you a number of benefits:
Recognition by the student union (LUSU) and the university that you’re a legitimate group working together and taking part in student life.
There are tons more benefits you get from being a club that we wouldn’t be able to list here, but we encourage you to contact us and let us know how we can support you.
How do clubs work?
Starting a Club is Awesome!
Clubs are the cornerstones to student life at the university, and your student union is proud to support each and every one. Clubs can be started by any group of LUSU members and can focus on almost anything you can imagine, whether you want to run trivia competitions about eastern European art history, talk about philosophy or politics with like-minded folks, or improve your hockey skills with a friendly weekly game. Starting a club can help you do it.
Ratify your club to access LUSU resources
To be ratified, all clubs must meet the following requirements before the October 15th deadline:
Club funding is not automatic. Ratified clubs may apply for LUSU funding if their club meets our club funding requirements and they submit a Club Funding Request from to the Finance & Operations Committee.
*Ratified clubs that have at least 20 LUSU members who joined using their Lakehead University email address are eligible for $200 in initial funding.
Please note that there is no guarantee of club funding
The online club application will ask you a number of questions about your club, you may want to consider these prior to the application process:
1. Club Name:
Probably the most obvious question, but also the most important. Make sure you pick a name that best illustrates your activities. Please note that you can’t pick a name that would confuse people into thinking that you’re an official LUSU or university department, nor can you pick a name that would violate university regulations or the LUSU governing documents.
2. Club Acronym:
We hate writing things out because it takes too long. That’s why you get to pick a club acronym that allows people to refer to your club without saying or writing the whole thing.
3. Club Purpose:
You probably already know what your club will be doing, but boiling it down to a couple of sentences is a bit of a challenge.
Your club’s purpose statement is an official outline of what you’re going to be doing and how. Try to be broad and illustrate the essence of what you will be taking on.
4. Membership Exclusivity:
For the majority of clubs, you’ll want to let any interested student join and take part in your activities. In some instances, however, you may want to place restrictions on who can become a member. The LUSU by-laws only allow restrictions under three distinct categories: politics, religion, and area-of-study.
If your club’s purpose is to engage in activities related to a particular political ideology, you can restrict your membership to only those who identify with that ideology. Similarly, if you want to start a religious club, you may restrict your membership to only those who identify with your religion. Lastly, if you’d like to start a club for only those in a particular faculty, major, or discipline, you may restrict your membership to only those who are registered in a particular program.
Please note that the LUSU by-laws do not allow for political clubs (such as a club affiliated with an official political party) to qualify for the $200 club grant.
5. Membership Dues:
Sometimes you may want to mandate a fee that people must pay before they can become members of your club. This may be important for clubs that plan a lot of events in which the majority of club members participate (such as a sports club renting equipment and practice space).
If you want to charge dues, you must get special approval before your club is ratified. In order to assist LUSU in approving your ability to charge dues, please make sure that your fee is reasonable and that you demonstrate your need to charge dues.
6. Club Officers:
Your club must have at least three officers. Club officers must be current LUSU members and cannot hold any other paid position within LUSU. Three traditional roles officers play are that of president, treasurer, and secretary. If you choose to use the model constitution, these roles will be predefined for you and you have to do nothing further.
President: The president is your club’s chief executive and primary decision maker. They set the direction of the club and are ultimately responsible for running its operations.
Treasurer: The treasurer is your club’s financial officer, who is in charge of the money flowing in and out of your club. They are also typically in charge of helping your club's budget, its events and raising money to fund your activities.
Secretary: The secretary is your club’s record keeper. Because a club is an official (albeit relatively informal) organization, it needs to keep records of its activities. The secretary is in charge of chronicling all of what your club does, as well as keeping minutes at official club meetings.
7. Public Contact Information:
We will need the name of a contact person (usually the club president) and an email address we can make public so that we can put potential and current members in contact with someone within your club’s leadership.
We know most clubs just want to have fun and not bother with formalities. Regardless, these formalities are vital to your club’s continued existence. We ask that you do your very best to work through these requirements.
Due Diligence and Officers’ Responsibility
Because officers run the club, they are responsible for making decisions in the best interests of the club’s members and in the furtherance of the club’s stated purpose.
Officers: are responsible for the actions of their members at events or meetings that are hosted or attended by their members. This means that officers need to follow:
They will be held responsible for everything they do in the name of their club, so it’s important to practice “due diligence”, or a standard of care over your club and its activities. By signing on, they agree to take on the debts and obligations of the club, so don’t make any agreement with any organization (including LUSU or the university) that you are unable to honour, either financial or otherwise. Likewise, if you are becoming an officer of an existing club, you will inherit those obligations, so make sure you take care of any outstanding agreements as soon as possible.
If your members don’t like what’s going on with your club, they can call a Special General Meeting and take a vote on changing your club’s constitution or replace any or all of your officers. It’s important to listen to your members and don't let problems lead to this point. Thankfully, the majority of clubs don’t experience this level of difficulty.
Elections & General Meetings
Elections allow your club to continue long after you leave the university. This means that every year your members must vote on who will lead the club in the following year.
*Please make sure you call your general meeting. If you don’t do that, your club will face serious difficulty receiving a renewal next year. If you can’t get enough members together for a general meeting, the model constitution allows officers to appoint their successors after two attempts.
Amending your Club Constitution
If you need to make changes to your club’s constitution after you create your club, you must get your members to approve the changes at a general meeting. Once the changes are approved, you must upload the documents to the online club application.
Regular meetings with your members are encouraged in order to facilitate the business of your club. Consider booking space on campus to hold meetings and talk about what activities you are planning. Meetings should encourage participation amongst your members. If your club regularly sees a large turnout at its meetings, you may consider creating a formal agenda and timeline for the meeting.
Unless you are holding your Annual General Meeting, it’s not necessary for your meetings to be formal, follow “rules of order”, or include the formal taking of minutes. Remember, you don’t want to create needless work for yourself or participate in activities that probably wouldn’t be very fun for your members.
All of your income and expenses must be managed through LUSU and your club account. You can submit club deposits or have cheques issued in payment at the LUSU office.
Before spending any money, always check your club account balance. Any club officer can check the club account balance or access other club officer resources by visiting: lusu.ca/[Your Club Acronym]/Officers
If you don’t have enough in your club account, you are encouraged to participate in club fundraising. You can also submit a LUSU funding request to the finance and operations committee. Depending on how much you're requesting, it can take up to 5 weeks to be processed. Note that submitting a funding request does not guarantee approval.
It’s vital that you keep your personal funds and your club’s money separate. Any money collected from your members, donors, or third parties that is intended for your club must be deposited into your club account. Likewise, any expenses should be drawn from your club account by way of a requisition form with signatures of your President and Treasurer. It is very important that you keep all of your club finances within LUSU to ensure financial accuracy and transparency.
When requesting a cheque, you must include original, paid, itemized receipts and other relevant documentation to authorize the payment. Please note that cheque requisitions require at least five working days to process; we cannot rush any payment under any circumstances.
To complete a cheque requisition form:
The Deadline to submit all eligible club cheque requisitions for the school year is March 31st.
*Please Note: You will be notified once the reimbursement is approved and the cheque is ready. At this point the funds will be deducted from your club account. If you need any help with your club finances, you can contact your club executive organizer.
Overdrawing Your Club Account
If you have expenses that are greater than the available funds in your club account, you will overdraw your account and go into a negative balance. This is not permitted and you must replenish your club account as soon as possible. Accounts that are overdrawn for longer than thirty (30) days may lead to club suspension until you have brought your account back into balance. If this occurs at the end of the academic year, your club will not be approved for renewal for the next year and club officers will be held personally liable for the money they owe LUSU. If your club is having financial difficulties, please contact you Executive Organizer as soon as possible so we can figure out ways to help.
This constitution is your club’s “rule book”, which sets out what your club does, who can be a member, who’s in charge, and how new club officers get chosen. This document is important because it ensures continuity within your club (e.g., it can exist long after the founders leave) and it creates an environment of fairness for your club members. You are free to edit this model constitution if you wish by adding new officers (if you have them), expanding your purpose, or making any other change that you feel is appropriate. If you make significant edits to the model constitution, approval may be required to make sure they do not violate LUSU’s Constitution & By-Laws. For most clubs, however, the model constitution is perfectly appropriate and no changes need to be made.
Ratification Deadline: October 15
Officer Term: May 1 to April 30
Club Term: October 1 to September 30
Read our By-Law on Club Governance to find out more about how your club works. Only an existing Chief Executive Officer or Secretary will be allowed to make a renewal application.
If your club has been operating for more than two (2) years, your club will automatically be ratified unless you make any changes that require approval. If your club did not exist or operate last year, you cannot qualify for renewal.
Tenured Clubs If your club has been around for two prior years (in other words, you’re going into your third or additional year), you qualify for “tenured status,” which means that as long as your officer information is renewed, you are automatically approved for another year.
Once your Constitution has been received and processed all Officers will receive an email with their log in and password details. In order to be considered for ratification by our Board of Directors in late October,
all club officers must update their profile to accept the club terms and they must include their:
Clubs that have completed the applications process before October 15 and meet the criteria of being an official club will be able to take advantage of the rights and privileges afforded to an official club. All official clubs hold this designation until September 30 of next year, at which point they must have renewed the club constitution in order to extend the club’s status for an additional year.
This process needs to be repeated every academic year. Please note that prior to notification of official club status, you cannot use the name of your club to run events or organize meetings. Contact your executive organizer if you need help with the process.