View the Fall 2020 RSO Guidelines as a PDF (last updated November 16, 2020)
Why Engagement Matters
- Research shows that engagement is important to the overall success and retention of students
- Engaging in student organizations is one way to find that community and belonging. Involved student enrich their learning in deeper ways, are offered opportunities to practice the information and skills they are learning in the classroom, find community, have more opportunities for individual growth and identity development, and begin to build relationships and social capital.
The University of Maryland is concerned for the health and safety of the entire University community, and continues to be in compliance with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as those from state and local agencies. Even when these guidelines allow for events or gatherings, great care must be taken to limit and prevent the community transmission of COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and student wellness and safety are a priority, and student organizations are key partners in the endeavor to keep our community healthy and safe. The nature of the disease is such that actions taken by an individual affect not only the well-being of that individual, but the well-being of every person with whom that invididual has interacted with on our shared campus.
Student organizations have an important role to play in providing opportunities for students to connect and deepen friendships, deepen engagement with the University, as well as to engage in experiential learning. For these reasons, the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) has put in place the following guidelines for student organizations to help keep our community safe and reduce the opportunities for transmission of COVID-19.
SORC may modify these expectations at any time and will provide notice in the event such modifications are made. Student organizations must keep aprised of changes to the expectations, and abide by them.
Even when State and County guidance allow for events or gatherings, great care must be taken to limit and prevent the community transmission of COVID-19 within our community. With a focus on reducing the density of the campus population for fall semester, in-person events and gatherings must be limited. Student organizations are strongly encouraged to priortitize alternatives to in-person gatherings.
The following are guidelines outlined by the Student Organization Resource Center and the University of Maryland, based on guidance from the University, University System of Maryland, State, Prince George's County, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
New Requirements - TerpLink Event Approval Process
Meetings vs. Events
To help student organizations differentiate between a meeting and an event, for purposes of these guidelines, please use the following definitions:
A meeting is a gathering of organization members with the goal of addressing matters related to the business of the organization, typically occurring on some on-going and predictable schedule, e.g. weekly or monthly basis, and generally does not require additional support beyond a physical space (if in person) and/or technical support (if virtual).
An event is an activity that an organization sponsors that could serve a variety of purposes, e.g. entertainment, educational, celebratory, as it pertains to an audience, usually occurs as a special occasion and not on an on-going basis, and may require additional services or support, e.g. consultation with the Office of Risk Management, Office of Facilities Management, ticketing services, etc.
Event Approval Process
COVID-19 Safety Training
- STAMP staff will craft and execute training for registered student organization officers and advisors to provide them information about risk management, expectations for maintaining public health, and ways to enlarge impact using new technologies.
- Student organizations will be ineligible to organize events until the training is completed.
Attendance Tracking and Contact Tracing
- Student organizations must track attendance at all in-person or hybrid events and activities, and are encouraged to do so for all virtual meetings, events, or activities
- Student organizations are encouraged to track attendance through TerpLink
Virtual Meetings, Events, Activities
Virtual programming and activities should be the first option before considering in-person events and gatherings.
Student organizations are expected to create virtual programming as alternatives to in-person events, meetings and programs.
Technology to Support Virtual Meetings, Events, and Activities
- Student organizations can receive support from the Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) to brainstorm ways to conduct organizational business and activities online as a way to connect students.
- Student organizations can receive support from STAMP IT on the best technology to use for activities online as a way to connect students.
On-Campus In-Person Events (indoors and outdoors)
- As of Monday, November 16, 2020, student organizations are not able to host any in-person activities, meetings, or events.
- No off-campus events or programs are permitted. Per the recent university notification indicating that spring guidelines around travel continue to be in place, no university funds can be used for travel. This also best ensures that safe event practices are in place at only venues where university recommendations can be consistently enforced.
- This includes fundraisers at food venues that are off-campus.
Giveaways/Flyering/Distribution of Items
- Student organizations are strongly discouraged from distributing print materials and/or physical items to reduce spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Campus Advertising and Chalking Policies
- Every fall semester, a new set of student leaders tries to market their programs and organizations in unique ways. We wanted to reinforce the need to follow a few prescriptive guidelines as you reach out to the campus. Please review the complete advertising policy.