Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

CICS Student Organization Handbook

What is a CICS student organization?

UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) student organizations are academic clubs that have not gone through the UMass RSO process but are recognized by CICS as a student-run group. These student-led organizations, with funding accounts run by the college, are housed within CICS at UMass Amherst and listed on our Student Organizations page.

How to become a CICS student organization

  • In order to become a CICS student organization you will need:
    • A common goal for your organization. 
    • A group of four or more interested students.
    • A leadership group of three or more CICS students with defined roles.
    • A faculty or staff member within CICS as your organization’s advisor.
  • Once organizations have the above information ready, fill out the CICS Student Organization Registration/Renewal Form
  • Before filling out the form for a new organization, please check the CICS Student Organizations page to see if you can join another group with similar interests and goals.

Roles and Responsibilities of Leadership in Student Organizations

There are no right or wrong ways to organize your leadership roles, but CICS recommends having at least three members in a leadership team to help lighten the load of organizing for student-led groups. It is also best practice to make sure you have leaders at different levels of their college experience; if a group is led entirely by graduating students, important information may be lost between leadership transitions. Below are some examples of roles within a student organization and some ways you can delegate responsibilities.

President

  • Oversees the student organization’s mission, activities, and budgeting process
  • Regularly communicates with the group’s advisor regarding group needs and activities
  • Regularly communicates with members through planned meetings to keep them informed of the group’s activities, plans, and needs

Vice-President

  • Acts as the President of the organization when necessary
  • Assists in directing the organization’s mission, activities, and budgeting process

Secretary

  • Takes notes at group meetings; distributes notes to membership as needed
  • Records attendance at meetings and events
  • Assists in the oversight of the organization’s mission and activities
  • Maintains policy documents for the group

Treasurer

  • Maintains records and receipts for the organization’s spending
  • Keeps group leadership informed of balances and budget issues
  • Leads budgeting processes for the organization and its events
  • Submits requests for funding
  • Coordinates with Ed Welch and/or Brian Krusell when opportunities arise for funding from external sources.

Other Potential Roles:

  • Event Coordinator
  • Recruitment Officer
  • Example

CICS Faculty or Staff Advisors

Before filling out the CICS Student Organization Registration Form, each CICS student organization needs to have at least one faculty or staff advisor within CICS. Some advisors are more involved than others, which largely depends on the needs of the organization. Groups should discuss their needs with potential advisors, through an email, virtual meeting, or in-person meeting before officially agreeing to an advisor-advisee arrangement.

Selecting an Advisor

Try finding an advisor who is interested in the mission of your organization. An easy way to do this is to schedule a meeting, either in-person or via an online platform like Zoom, with potential advisors to talk about your organization, its goals, and your expectations of an advisor.

How can your advisor help?

Advisors may have different levels of involvement based on the needs of the student organization. Below are some of the things an advisor can do for you:

  • Advisors should be the organization’s go-to person for general information and advice. 
  • If you have events on the weekend or after hours, advisors assist groups in accessing the building.
  • When ordering food or supplies from the student organization’s funds, advisors can assist with orders and directing the process for reimbursements.
  • Assisting in university policy interpretation for the group
  • Advocating for the group within the university, department, or community
  • Assisting in connecting the group with campus resources

Meeting with Student Organization Advisors

CICS recommends that an organization’s leadership team and advisor(s) meet at least once per month to give updates and discuss the trajectory of the organization. The regularity that students and advisors should meet will vary depending on the needs and schedules of all involved parties.

Requesting Funding

Once you have your leadership members in place and have secured a faculty or staff advisor, you may request funding from CICS for your organization’s events, supplies, travel, etc. You must reapply for funding each academic year using the CICS Student Organization Registration/Renewal Form. The college has limited funds to provide to student organizations each academic year, so please submit your reasonable requests early.    

  • If your group will be funded by organizations or departments other than CICS, we can help assist you in transferring the funds from other UMass offices and soliciting gifts from external companies and alumni.  Please indicate this desire for external funding on your annual student organization registration form.
  • CICS discourages student organizations from soliciting funds from companies and alumni without first speaking with their faculty/staff advisor.  

Planning Your Events and Activities

Budgeting for Events

Use a spreadsheet or a budget template to plan your events and make sure you are spending your money wisely. Some things to consider when budgeting include:

  • Promotion: Many student organizations advertise their meetings and events through social media, but widening your advertising strategies can lead to improved event success. Consider the costs of adding flyers, posters, and other printed materials to get the word out about your offering.
  • Food and beverages: Adding food to any event can help you attract a larger audience and keep your attendees happy. 
  • Decorations: Some events require no additional decorations while others utilize decoration to add to the ambiance of the room. 
  • Speaker Booking Fees: Though some speakers may participate in your event for free, others may require a stipend for travel or have a set fee to bring them to campus.
  • Facility rental: Check with your advisor to see what charges apply for the use of campus facilities. Many rooms are free or cheap for student organizations to utilize.
  • Production: Some events require extra services or fees to set up. When utilizing a tent, for example, you have not only the cost of the tent itself but also the permits required to set up the tent. Consider these kinds of costs as you plan for your event.

Booking Campus Spaces

There are several event spaces on campus, including conference rooms in the Computer Science Building and the Lederle Graduate Research Center (LGRC), that student organizations can utilize for events. 

CICS Conference Rooms

  • CICS has several conference rooms to choose from for meetings and events. 
  • Booking the rooms
    • To book a CICS conference room, fill out the form for room bookings.
    • You should try and book the room as far in advance as possible to increase the chances of availability. CICS conference rooms book quickly during prime hours of the day.
  • All groups should review the conference room policies before requesting a room.
  • For any questions about booking CICS rooms, email room-reservations [at] cs.umass.edu

UMass Event Spaces

  • UMass event spaces are largely run by the Event Sales Office, with the exception of the Mullins Center, and Old Chapel.
  • Campus Center & Student Union
    • Contact: UMass Event Sales Office
      • ccevents [at] umass.edu
      • (413) 577-8200
  • Old Chapel
    • Contact: Old Chapel Manager (currently hiring)
      • oldchapel [at] umass.edu
      • (413) 545-0080
  • Mullins Center
    • Contact (general bookings): Erin Sweeney – General Manager
      • Erin.Sweeney [at] SpectraXP.com
      • (413) 545-3129
    • Contact (ice rink bookings): Jeffrey Morkeski
      • Jeffrey.Morkeski [at] SpectraXP.com
      • 413.577.3977

Other University Spaces

  • To view other available spaces on campus, please visit the 25Live Calendar maintained by the university.
  • Once you have a date, time, and location preference, email events [at] cs.umass.edu to secure your space with the university.
    • Please note that your location preference may not be available even if it looks available on the calendar. 
    • Requests for university space are approved by the registrar’s office and often take several weeks. Please plan accordingly.

Advertising Events

CICS Events Calendar

  • Add your event to the public calendar for CICS to inform potential attendees.
  • Submit your event using the calendar submission form
  • Please allow up to two business days for entries to be approved and put onto the calendar.
  • CICS Highlights, the college's internal e-newsletter, also pulls from the event calendar to help advertise events every Friday during the school year. If you want to be included in the newsletter, be sure to have your entry submitted by the Wednesday before your event.

CICS Highlights Newsletter

  • CICS Highlights is an internal e-newsletter for the CICS community published weekly on Fridays during the academic year. 
  • Deadlines for submitting news and announcements are the Wednesdays before publication dates.
  • Submit news or announcements about your student organizations, using the CICS Highlights submission form.

Social Media

  • Tag CICS on social media to increase the online footprint of your events.
  • CICS student organizations can also contact the marketing and communications team at communications [at] cics.umass.edu and the college may also help advertise your events on CICS social media.

Digital Signage in the CS and LGRC Buildings

  • Student organizations can utilize the digital displays to market their events by contacting their advisor.
    • Your advisor will connect you with the image template and submit the image to the CICS Marketing and Communications Office.
    • If you have any questions about digital signs, contact communications [at] cs.umass.edu.

Ordering Food and Other Items for Events

When an organization is having an event and needs to order things like food, plan ahead if requesting assistance ordering.

Food for Events

  • If your group needs food or other items for an event, contact your group’s advisor and they can put the order on their university bank card. 
  • If your advisor is unavailable, you may also contact Jeff Keedy at jkeedy [at] cs.umass.edu or the Events Office at events [at] cs.umass.edu for assistance.
  • When placing a food order, you will need to include the following:
    • The name, phone number, and email address of the person responsible for signing the receipt.
      • Please note that we will need a copy of your receipt after it is signed.
      • Return any receipts to the administrative assistant in the CS Main Office with a note to put the receipt in the mailbox of whoever ordered the food.
    • The date, time, and location for the delivery.
    • An estimate of your group size.
    • The specifics of your order
      • For example, if you want pizza, then tell us what kind of pizza you want, the sizes of the pizzas, the toppings, etc.
      • If you don’t care about the specifics of the order, we can approximate the order based on the information you provide.
  • Please note that food orders should be requested with a minimum of two business days of advance notice. We cannot always place food orders that are requested with less than 48 hours of lead time.

Plates, Napkins, Cups, and Utensils

  • When ordering from a vendor who provides plates, napkins, cups, and/or utensils, those supplies will be requested from them.
  • When ordering from a vendor who does not provide these items, student organizations can arrange a pick-up for supplies for events by sending an email to events [at] cs.umass.edu
    • Requestors are responsible for picking up their supplies at the Events Office (CS Room 101) during normal business hours (8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday).
    • Requesters should return all unused supplies to the Events Office after their event.