Eleven clubs – from the recently reinstated men’s club lacrosse to the new Saudi Students Association – have joined more than 200 existing clubs recognized by the Council of Advisory Boards at Georgetown this fall.
Other new clubs include education charity One World Youth Project, visual arts group bodoni creative, bipartisan political group No Labels and activist group Georgetown Student Farmworker Alliance.
The process to become an active club takes approximately one semester. All the recently CAB-affiliated clubs applied for recognition in January of last year. CAB started the process to launch new clubs this year on Sept. 15 and expects to confirm all new university-recognized student organizations on campus by Oct. 2. These clubs will be able to participate in the spring semester CAB fair.
CAB contains the six advisory boards on campus — the Student Activities Commission, the Advisory Board for Club Sports, the Performing Arts Advisory Council, the Media Board, the Campus Ministry Student Forum and the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board for Student Organizations — that decide which organizations will be accepted. Organizations are given access to university benefits, ranging from funding to rights to reserve on-campus space.
Two key criteria for assessing potential student organizations are sustained interest and originality, according to Advisory Board for Club Sports Chair Daniel Fain (COL ’18).
“CAB wants to ensure that each club we accept into New Club Development will have sustained, significant interest, and will serve a mission that is both in line with our university’s values and is not currently served by another group on campus,” Fain wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Council of Advisory Boards Chair Janhvi Bhojwani (SFS ’17) said CAB is committed to addressing student interests, as long as the club is not duplicative of any other organization on campus.
“We want to continue to improve student life on campus and we want to make sure that if there is an interest, then we want to be able to provide an outlet for it,” Bhojwani said. “We have a lot of meaningful discussions as to if [clubs] will overlap with any clubs in existence right now or if it’s something that Georgetown really needs and has an audience for but no outlet for.”
According to Bhojwani, another criteria is ensuring that new clubs attract a varied and committed group of students.
“Part of the concern with the new club development process is making sure there are people in varieties of different years to ensure members aren’t all seniors who graduate and the club dies out,” Bhojwani said.
In addition to verifying that a potential organization serves a unique purpose and will have at least 12 members to sustain it, the advisory boards have also engaged in a dialogue asking clubs to re-evaluate their level of exclusivity, according to Fain.
Several clubs at Georgetown are known for exclusivity. Students of Georgetown, Inc. had an 18 percent acceptance rate last fall, while the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union had a nine percent acceptance rate.
“CAB places particular focus on ensuring that new organizations are as inclusive as possible by actively discouraging unnecessarily competitive application structures,” Fain wrote in an email to The Hoya.
No Labels, led by Musa Bassey (COL ’18), was established under the Student Activities Commission. No Labels seeks to write about, discuss and organize programming around domestic political issues through a lens of bipartisan cooperation and consensus.
No Labels was launched last year, but only gained CAB affiliation this semester.
Bassey said that nonpartisan dialogue on campus is important, particularly during the current presidential election cycle.
“What we’re trying to do with No Labels is create a space where everyone can express their views, so that we can get past the toxic process of 2016, acknowledging the divisions that have come up, while also moving past them,” Bassey said.
Film group Hoyawood founder Chad Davis (SFS ’19) said he helped found Hoyawood when he realized there was no a longer a creative outlet for his passion in film.
“When I came to Georgetown I really wanted to get involved in Hoyawood because I am really passionate about film as an art form. But once I found out that it no longer existed at Georgetown, one of my friends, J.J. Woronoff (MSB ’19), and I decided to reboot it because we knew that there were definitely other people who have that same interest,” Davis said.
Newly established organizations are assigned to the advisory board best suited to their club’s subject and purpose.
Bhojwani said she was optimistic for the future of the Council of Advisory Boards and hopes to establish a larger volume of clubs on campus.
“I would definitely love to see more clubs out there. I’m a transfer student so I came from a school that had over 600 clubs, and now coming to Georgetown I feel like there are a lot more clubs that can be here, so I’m really excited to be a part of the process,” Bhojwani said. “Personally, I want the advisory boards to be as efficient and transparent as possible and help student activities further.”
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