AAUW Student Organizations: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you interested in empowering the women on your campus and in your community? Do you want a great leadership experience for your résumé? Join or start an AAUW student organization to take advantage of all the resources and connections that AAUW has to offer. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about AAUW student organizations. For additional questions, email us at leadership@aauw.org.

Thinking about Bringing an AAUW Organization to Your Campus?

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What is the purpose of an AAUW student organization?

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Student organizations take your involvement with AAUW to the next level and give you the resources and support to engage your community on gender equity issues. Student organization members gain leadership skills, create change on campus, address gender discrimination, and connect with a global community.

Read about five AAUW student organizations that took a stand on their campus.

What is an AAUW C/U membership?

Colleges and universities can demonstrate their commitment to gender equity in higher education by signing up as AAUW college/university (C/U) members. C/U membership offers benefits to faculty, staff, and students through educational funding opportunities, campus leadership programs, professional development, educational resources, and advocacy tools.

See which schools currently benefit from C/U memberships.

My school is an AAUW C/U member. Does that mean we already have a student organization?

No, C/U membership does not automatically guarantee that a school has an AAUW student organization. In order for a student organization to be recognized by AAUW, students must follow university guidelines for forming student organizations and then submit a form to the AAUW national office for approval.

Learn the benefits of being an AAUW C/U member for students, faculty, and staff.

What if my school isn’t an AAUW C/U member?

C/U membership is not a requirement for student organizations. You can still form your organization, but you won’t be eligible for free associate membership or the other C/U member benefits. Since all student organization members are required to be affiliated with AAUW, you can still join AAUW as a student associate for $18.81.

Want to recruit your school? We can help! Your campus may be eligible to join at the rate of $175. Email us at leadership@aauw.org for more information.

Check out all of the benefits of becoming an AAUW C/U member.

What’s the difference between an AAUW branch and a student organization?

Student organizations are on a college campus and are composed entirely of students. Branches are groups of local AAUW members working together in their communities to empower women and girls. University branches, which are different from student organizations, are also an option for C/U members. University branches follow the same policies as any other AAUW branch but consist of school faculty and staff. For more information about AAUW branches, email connect@aauw.org.

There is already a women’s organization on campus. Is there a way to affiliate it with AAUW?

Existing student organizations that focus on gender equity are free to use the resources provided on the AAUW website. An AAUW student organization, however, will give your student organization special recognition, leadership support from AAUW national staff, and access to a global community of 170,000 AAUW members and supporters. Affiliating with AAUW will legitimize your feminist campus programming and include your organization in a legacy of activists who have been challenging the status quo since 1881.

Find out all of the steps to forming an AAUW student organization.

What kinds of events can our organization plan?

AAUW student organizations tackle gender equity issues based on AAUW policy priorities that range from pay equity to campus sexual assault to Title IX. Student organizations have the flexibility to hold meetings and plan events around the women’s issues they’re passionate about, as long as those issues fit into AAUW’s mission of empowering women and girls.

Get inspired by all of AAUW’s public policy issues.

Forming Your AAUW Student Organization

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How many members do I need in my organization?

Since all AAUW student organizations must be registered with their college or university, make sure you are following the policies of your institution. For AAUW, you only need to fill two positions: president and treasurer, but you are welcome to have as many people on your leadership board as your school allows!

Find all of the steps to forming an AAUW student organization.

Do I have to register my organization with AAUW?

AAUW requires that you register your organization with the national office by filling out this form after your organization has been approved by your school. The AAUW Board of Directors approves AAUW student organizations on a monthly basis. Once you register, AAUW will send you free promotional materials and your official student organization logo. Additionally, your organization will get access to our resources and member benefits.

Register your organization with AAUW today.

Does AAUW have sample bylaws I can use?

We encourage you to follow your campus’ policies regarding student organization bylaws. Work with your college/university’s student engagement office and use our online resources to learn more about our legacy, mission, and campus leadership programs.

Join the official AAUW student organization leader Facebook group to ask current student organization leaders about their bylaws.

What do I name my student organization?

Traditionally, organizations have used the format “AAUW at (university name)” — for example, AAUW at Penn State. Regardless of your name, you are officially an AAUW student organization, meaning you’re not a branch, club, or chapter.

What are the AAUW membership requirements for AAUW student organization members?

All student organization members are required to also be student associates of AAUW. If your school is an AAUW college/university (C/U) member, you can join for free.

If your school is not a C/U member, you can join as a student associate for only $18.81.

Can graduate students join an AAUW student organization?

Depending on your college/university’s policy, graduate students can be involved with student organizations as members or advisers. Degree-seeking graduates enrolled in full-time or part-time programs at AAUW C/U member schools may join and renew at no cost with automatic renewal through graduation. Degree-seeking graduates enrolled in full-time or part-time programs at non-C/U schools may join and renew at a rate of $18.81 through graduation.

Can there be men in my group?

Yes! There are no barriers to participation with AAUW on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.

Can my student organization charge dues?

Every university has different policies and procedures, so please check your school’s policies first. We encourage you to consider having a sliding scale to reduce barriers to joining your AAUW student organization.

Find out more about budgeting and fundraising for your student organization.

Can my organization have a social media account?

Social media is a great way for your members and supporters to interact with your student organization outside of events and tabling, and it allows your student organization to advocate on a larger scale. When creating your social media accounts, please make sure you are following the AAUW branding guidelines and using your organization’s individualized AAUW logo. If you need your student organization’s logo, contact us at leadership@aauw.org.

Visit AAUW’s social media handbook for tips on creating your accounts.

Who can be our student organization adviser?

First and foremost, follow your college/university’s guidelines. If you’re not sure whom you should ask to be an adviser, consider campus faculty or staff who are interested in gender equity issues and student leadership. You can also work with the AAUW national office for support by emailing leadership@aauw.org.

Use this FAQ to better understand your adviser’s role.

Making an Impact

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How can my student organization take action?

One of the most exciting parts of being in an AAUW student organization is creating events on your campus that make a difference for women and girls. In addition to recruiting students to become AAUW student associates, your organization can also sign people up for AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist, an online tool that sends alerts on legislative issues that affect women, so that you can quickly send targeted messages to Congress.

Sign up to receive critical AAUW Action Alerts straight to your e-mail inbox.

Can we volunteer in the community?

Yes! Look for organizations that align with AAUW’s mission and your student organization’s goals. AAUW’s fundraising guidelines allow you to donate time and goods to local organizations that align with our mission.

Remember that any money you fundraise should only go toward your student organization. Raise funds for creative campus programming or to send more students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders!

Find out more about AAUW’s fundraising guidelines here.

Can our student organization collaborate with other groups?

AAUW encourages student organizations to collaborate with other campus groups or outside organizations that are dedicated to empowering women and girls. Many AAUW student organizations work with their school’s women’s center, gender studies department, diversity office, or other social justice student groups on campus. Make sure the groups you collaborate with align with AAUW’s mission and that you follow our fundraising and budgeting guidelines.

How do I transition leadership?

AAUW student organizations put a lot of time and effort into member recruitment, campus programming, and advocacy. We want to help student leaders transition the next set of leaders to carry on the legacy of your organization!

Make sure your organization uses AAUW’s Student Organization Leader Transition Guide.

Working with AAUW

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Does AAUW have fundraising guidelines?

First and foremost, make sure that your AAUW student organization is following your college/university’s fundraising policies. We also have fundraising guidelines that we expect all student organizations to follow.

Check out AAUW’s fundraising guidelines and tips.

Does the AAUW national office offer funds to student organizations?

The national office does not offer funding for student orgs, though student organizations are eligible for AAUW Campus Action Project grants and Campus Outreach Program grants.

How does my student organization benefit from partnering with a local AAUW branch or Younger Women’s Task Force (YWTF) chapter?

AAUW branches can help your student organization by
• Identifying knowledgeable local presenters, event moderators, or mentors
• Collaborating on events, voter registration drives, and community service projects
• Working with your school to bring you AAUW programs like Campus Outreach Program grants, Campus Action Project grants, and Start Smart salary negotiation workshops
• Inviting faculty and staff to branch events to discuss other potential collaborations

Many AAUW branches and YWTF chapters also help fund campus programming and provide scholarships to send students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).

If your school is already an AAUW college/university member, your local branch can be helpful in linking your student organization to your C/U representative on campus. If your school is not a C/U member, communication from a local branch may be the push your school needs to become an AAUW member. Email leadership@aauw.org so we can connect you with your local branch.

There isn’t a local branch nearby. How can I still get AAUW support?

With 170,000 members and supporters, we can help you connect to AAUW members in your community. Contact us at leadership@aauw.org.

What AAUW resources are available to student organizations?

Student organizations receive guidance, leadership training, and support from AAUW’s national staff. Undergraduate students and degree-seeking graduates enrolled in full-time or part-time programs at C/U member schools may join and renew at no cost with automatic renewal through graduation. This gives you access to discounts, leadership opportunities, a free digital subscription to Outlook magazine, and keeps you connected with the AAUW community. Student organizations are also encouraged to take advantage of AAUW’s campus leadership programs, many of which are free to you.

Check out AAUW’s Student Organization Tool Kit for to find all of the available resources.

We ran out of materials for tabling. How can I get more?

Once you update AAUW on your new student organization leadership, you can order AAUW promotional materials from  ShopAAUW. If your school allows it, student organizations are also encouraged to create their own AAUW promotional materials, using AAUW branding guidelines.

Update your student organization leadership contact information here.

How frequently does my organization need to communicate with the national office?

If you’re hosting an event, your organization should let us know by mailing leadership@aauw.org so that we can send you free promotional materials! Make sure to let us know how your event went and send any high-quality photos to leadership@aauw.org! We want to know about your great events so that we can share the information with other orgs and the AAUW community. We often feature AAUW student organizations on our award-winning blog and in Outlook magazine.

Fill out our report back form to let us know what great events you’ve planned.

What if I have more questions?

Feel free to contact leadership@aauw.org for additional resources and support.

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