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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a student group?

Student groups are clubs, organizations, discussion groups, book clubs or any other gathering of students on campus who enjoy the privileges, and who follow the responsibilities, listed in the Student Club Handbook. All students at Caltech are eligible to be in any of the student groups recognized by the Institute.  Only student groups who comply with membership guidelines can apply for club funding from funding sources such as Student Affairs, ASCIT, GSC, Caltech Y, and any outside funding sought in the name of Caltech.  No club may be established to carry on a trade or business (sale of product or service).

Undergraduate and graduate houses are not student groups, nor are academic Division or Department-sponsored programs for students, even though the make-up of these groups is mostly, or entirely, students.  National chapters on campus which operate under the auspices of academic Divisions have their own membership guidelines and are not covered by the Student Club Handbook.  Such national chapters are not eligible for funding or resources associated with the Student Clubs program.

Who oversees the student groups?

The oversight of all student groups is the responsibility of the Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs, and the Clubs and Organizations Steering Committee (COSC).  The COSC is chaired by the Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs who manages their meetings and their scheduling.  The COSC consists of students and staff appointed by the Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs.  The COSC makes recognition decisions and offers advice and support for the application, recognition, training and disciplinary procedures for student groups.

Who can be members of a club?

All Clubs are open to all currently-registered undergraduate and graduate students ("students").  Other members of the Caltech community, such as staff, faculty, spouses and JPL staff, may participate in Club activities as affiliates.  As such, they may not assume officer or other leadership positions.  Clubs must maintain at least a 60/40% ratio of student members to affiliate members.  If the Club falls below this threshold, it may lose recognition as a club during the academic year.

Why do we need a club advisor?

All student clubs are required to have an advisor who must be a Caltech faculty or staff member.  The role of the advisor is to act as a mentor to the group.  Students are expected to access their advisors for ideas and input as well as for information about how best to pursue their club's mission.  The advisor will help the student leaders fulfill the group's purpose, make decisions and comply with Institute policies and procedures and will meet with the club regularly as initiated by the club's leadership.