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About Student Organizations at UVA

Before you join a student organization, it is helpful to understand the different types of organizations that exist at UVA. Groups at UVA are defined based on their relationship with the University. Being involved in organizations encourages skill building in leadership, communication, conflict resolution, time and project management, budgeting, and teamwork.

Agency Organizations

Agency Organizations act on behalf of the University performing duties the University would otherwise be obligated to perform on its own (e.g. student discipline, supervision of residence halls).  Examples include University Programs Council, the Honor Committee, the University Judiciary Committee, and Residence Life. Students act as University agents and are covered by the University’s risk management plans in the performance of these duties.  Students undergo University training and maintain close working relationships with designated University administrators.       

Special Status Organizations (SSOs)

SSos act on behalf of the University performing certain delegated duties the University would likely choose to perform on its own (e.g., conducting tours of University Grounds and administering student elections).  Examples include the University Guide Service, Student Council, Class Councils, and the University Board of Elections.  Students act as University agents and are covered by the University’s risk management plans in the performance of their delegated duties.  Students are required to maintain a close working relationship with a designated University advisor.

Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs)

CIOs act independently of the University and are not covered by the University’s risk management plans. They offer educational, hobby, professional, recreational, service, and/or social opportunities to their members and are recognized by the University through an approved annual agreement.  At least 51% of a CIO’s members are University students; all of a CIO’s officers are full-time, fee-paying University students. Faculty, staff, alumni, and/or community members may comprise the remainder of a CIO’s membership.  CIOs are not required to have advisors, but are encouraged to find one. Active CIOs are eligible to request student activity fee funds, which are appropriated by Student Council, and use certain University facilities and limited resources.

Now that you know the various types of organizations at UVA, check out the “Join a Student Organization” tab to visit the student organization directory.