This Society Handbook is a resource for society leaders and specifically contains information on how to create a society and how to apply for funding. The handbook also contains the SMUSA Society policies.
Society Treasurers’ Handbook
The Society Treasurers’ Handbook is a resource for Society Treasurer’s to aid them in understanding their responsibilities when managing the finances of their society
Student Event Risk Management Pre-Event Planning Checklist
This checklist is designed to assist Primary Event Organizers in planning effectively for an upcoming event
The society policy was last updated on January 19th, 2014.
SMUSA Society Policy
SMUSA Societies exist on campus to enrich the student experience of its membership.
Societies provide personal and professional development opportunities within cultural, social, and vocational levels and beyond. The overall goal of providing these services to our students is to expand their mindset and knowledge-base in order for them to develop a broader view of the world and their place within it.
This policy clearly outlines all Society regulations, in order to allow societies to achieve their goals, maintain their resources, and remain in good standing with SMUSA and the larger SMU community.
1. No student society, club or student organization (herein called “Society” or
“Societies,” as the context requires) shall, except in conformance with these by-laws:
a) operate on campus;
b) use the name of the University or SMUSA;
c) solicit funds, membership or clientele, from among the members of SMUSA; or
d) use any of the facilities of the University or SMUSA.
2. The structure of Societies shall be layered and Societies may be categorized by SMUSA as a member of one of the following groups:
A – Faculty, B – Social, and
C – Levied Societies.
3. Any Society that gives funds to a member for personal use of the amount of five hundred dollars or more will need to inform said member that they are required to submit it on taxes and the society must submit the student a T4 if it is a working position.
4. For the purposes of classification, “A” Societies shall be:
a) those Societies that have a membership made up of the Association’s members
who are current students of a particular faculty, major or certificate offered by the University, and are:
b) entitled to apply for SMUSA
i. funding, and
ii. office space, provided that the faculty or academic department has refused to provide the Society with office space.
5. For the purpose of classification, “B” Societies shall be
a) those Societies that have membership open to all members of SMUSA and membership is made up of the Association’s members who are students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s.
b) entitled to apply for SMUSA;
i. funding; and
ii. office space.
6. For the purpose of classification, “C” Societies shall
a) be those Societies who collect funds from the student body via levy;
b) those Societies that have membership open to all members of SMUSA and membership made up of the Association’s members who are students currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s.
c) include those Societies that provide SMUSA’s members with a form of media coverage;
d) Be required to submit a report for every use of monetary funds, that shall
i. be accompanied by proof of funds used in form of receipts or other similar and acceptable sources for any spending over $150
ii. be reviewed by Society Coordinator and/or Society Committee or any other needed people.
e) Be required to create a Board of Directors, that shall
i. have a representation of no less than twenty-five percent (25%) of SMUSA President-appointed voting members,
ii. consist of only Saint Mary’s students that are currently enrolled.
iii. meet at least once per semester.
f) Be entitled to apply for SMUSA
i. funding, should the Society not already have a form of student funding
ii. office space.
7. Society summits will be held on the third Friday of each semester during the academic year, unless otherwise indicated (due to scheduling conflicts or other interruptions). The purpose of the Summit is to outline by-laws, rules and regulations for conducting Society business on campus. Primary Event Organizer (PEO) training will be administered at this time. Any other issues will be dealt with directly by the Society Coordinator at their discretion. At least one Executive from a society must be present at the Summit in order to complete the ratification process. A second Society Summit will be held on third Friday of January as a refresher. This is also mandatory for one executive from each society to attend
Society Executive Meetings
Twice a year on the Third Friday of November and March there will be a meeting between all society’s and the Society Coordinator that is mandatory for one executive from each society to attend this will be to help societies better network with others on campus come up with co-op events and help new society’s get some ideas on how to do things as well. This will also be used by the Society Coordinator as a way to get feedback and ideas for changes to the current society system and what the society’s feel would work better
8. The Society Committee shall oversee the actions of Societies and hold them accountable to this policy.
The Society Committee will consist of two members of SMUSA’s Board of Directions and SMUSA’s Society Coordinator. They will meet for Society issues that arise and to approve ratification requests.
The Society Committee may, in its sole discretion, recognize (ratify) and classify any Society that;
a) already has been ratified by the Board of Directors. Once the Board of Directors approves a new Society to operate on campus, the Society can be re-ratified each year under the Society Coordinator;
b) has its executive formed of members of SMUSA;
c) accepts as members persons holding current membership in SMUSA;
d) presents to the Society Committee a constitution consistent with the Constitution
and the by-laws of SMUSA;
e) has a minimum of twenty (20) members unless proper written authorization is
given by SMUSA’s Society Coordinator;
f) is of a classification of either A or B or C as defined in the by-law;
g) collects a minimum $5 membership fee per society member;
h) has its own bank account;
i) ratifies by completing the appropriate ratification forms (found on www.smusa.ca);
j) is in good standing with both SMUSA and SMU from prior years’ operations, and has not violated any SMUSA policies.
k) provides SMUSA with the following reports:
i. A First Semester report which is due by the third Friday in January each year and contains;
- a list of the events held in the first semester of the academic year,
- a list of the events expected to be held in the second semester of the
- proof of the existence of the society’s bank account and its current balance and cash flow statement,
- recommendations for next years’ executive of that society on best practices.
ii. An annual report that is due by the third Monday of April each year and contains;
- a list of the society’s incoming executive,
- a list of the society’s outgoing executive,
- a list of all events held in the past year including each event’s revenues,
expenses, venues, dates, and the events nature,
- a current cash flow statement,
- proof of the existence of the society’s bank account and its current balance, and
- recommendations for next years’ executive of that society on best practices.
- a member involvement record with time contributed kept by the president of the society or delegated for use in Co-curricular record approval.
iii. Student Event Risk Management (SERM) forms for any events that are to take place on campus, to ensure the Societies are still covered under the insurance of the Association and to advertise the event to students through SMUSA.
h) has, for all Societies, an executive committee consisting of registered Saint Mary’s students occupying the following positions:
i. President, who is ultimately responsible for the executives in the Society and will work with the Society Coordinator if problems arise. The President is responsible for the ratification, constitution and a members list. The members list will include the students’ A numbers, email addresses, names and positions within the society;
ii. Vice-President, who is responsible for the following: Society Event Risk Management (SERM) Form, Post Event forms (which must be submitted to the Society Coordinator);
iii. Treasurer, who is responsible for Grant applications, which must include formal documentation of a remaining bank account balance and a budget for the event. The Treasurer is also responsible for the year-end financial report and making sure the cash box and bank account card is handed into the Society Coordinator at the end of the year; and
iv. Secretary, who is responsible for the semester reports and year-end reports, organizing meetings (which includes booking event space) and taking meeting minutes.
9. If the Society has been penalized then the Society Committee may:
a) grant Society Ratification as is applicable upon a 2/3 affirmative vote provided that:
i. Society recognition was not withdrawn within the previous administrative year from said Society, and
ii. said Society does not have the same mandate as a Society that had its recognition withdrawn within the previous administrative year;
b) withdraw Society recognition upon a 2/3 affirmative vote;
c) suspend Society recognition upon a 2/3 affirmative vote;
d) require Society information and access to the affairs of the Society as it, or those acting upon its behalf according to the Constitution and the By-Laws of SMUSA, deemed to be necessary.
10. The members of SMUSA’s staff can take any executive or signing position in any society (excluding those staff who have a direct responsibility for societies), with the exception of members of the SMUSA Board of Directors, who may take an executive role that is not a signing authority in any society on campus. They will be required to abstain from any board motions involving societies and must make their position within a society known to the Society Coordinator, Chair of the Board and the SMUSA President.
11. The Society Coordinator may permit Societies to book space on campus prior to being ratified, for the purpose of planning upcoming Society events and rallying support for their cause/purpose(s). A Society may only be granted this permission if they have submitted an application for ratification, and the permission is temporarily granted until 24 hours after the next scheduled Board Meeting or Society Committee meeting; whichever is applicable to the Society in question.
12. All Societies have the ability to open a business bank account under the SMUSA umbrella with the RBC on Spring Garden Rd. and Summer St. Each Society has the ability to deposit money into the account at the Branch and the ability to withdraw money through cheque.
13. As a general principle, a minimum bank account balance of $200.00 must remain in each of the Societies’ bank accounts at the end of each semester. It is the responsibility of the current Society executive to ensure there are sufficient funds remaining for the incoming Executive for the year following, and that there are no outstanding debts.
14. As a general principle, funding shall only be made available to further the goals of
SMUSA as outlined in the constitution and the goals of the particular Societies as outlined in their individual constitutions.
Funding is available to societies on a first-come, first-served basis, whereby the funds will be granted in order of application (granted that the application(s) is/are approved) until society budget funds are exhausted. In other words, not all ratified societies can be funded – there is simply not enough funding.
15. All funds received from a recognized Society are the property of the
SMUSA and shall be remitted forthwith upon demand to the Society Coordinator of SMUSA.
16. All Societies may apply for a Branding Grant ($250) in their first year of operation, or if they have never received this grant before. No other start-up funds are provided on a start-up or regular basis. This funding is only available until society funds for the year are exhausted.
17. All Societies requiring funding may make an application for a special event grant on an event-by-event basis to the Society Coordinator no later than (2) weeks before the event. All Societies requiring a special event grant must submit a detailed event budget a
minimum of two (2) weeks prior to the event to SMUSA’s Society Coordinator,
a) the Society Coordinator will not grant more than $2000.00 in Special Event Grant funding to any society per administrative year. Any additional funding must be approved by the President to an absolute ceiling of $3000.00
b) the Society Coordinator will not grant more than half of the costs of a single event.
c) preference will be given to funding applications that involve higher-profile events, i.e. those that improve the image of SMU in the community and contribute to student events, achievements and interests.
d) the Society Cordinator will not support costs that will solely benefit any person that is not a student of the University;
e) the Society Coordinator will not consider requests for a Special Event Grant after
the event has taken place;
f) the Society Coordinator will only consider applications for funding from student
Societies recognized by SMUSA under this by-law;
g) the Society Coordinator will not consider funding for capital equipment purchases
or maintenance; and
h) the Society Coordinator will only consider funding requests that benefit the
membership of SMUSA and make the Society more active in the campus lives of the University’s students.
18. The Gorsebrook is one of the many services/businesses that SMUSA provides for students and welcomes the opportunities to host any Society events. SMUSA and this by-law requires that:
a) A Society Event Risk Management Form (SERM) must be filled out through the Society Coordinator no later than two weeks before the event;
b) The Gorsebrook booking must be confirmed with the Operations Manager at least one week prior to the event;
c) A complete description of the event must be given to the Society Coordinator
d) The society must provide a $200 deposit to cover outstanding costs incurred by the Gorsebrook for keeping the facility open for the Society’s event without recouping the costs of doing so through beverage or food sales. If the Gorsebrook does recoup costs, they will reimburse the society the amount of the deposit.
19. In the case of an overdue bill payment with SMUSA or outside parties, a Society may be subject to one or more of the following charges or penalties, to be decided at the discretion of the Society Committee:
a) The charging of interest on the remaining balance of the unpaid loan at a rate of
the prime lending rate plus three percent (3%) on all amounts, less or more than $500;
b) prohibition from receiving future grants or loans for a period to be determined by
the Society Committee, if the amount owed is $500 or more;
c) loss of SMUSA assigned office space, if the amount owed is $750 or more;
d) loss of status as a recognized Society of SMUSA, if the amount owed is $2,500 or more; and
e) permanent notation of the overdue loan in the Society’s records held by the
Society Coordinator, and is subject to review by the Society Committee.
f) All above penalties are subject to review by the Society Committee and SMUSA’s President.
20. For any event funded by SMUSA by means of a grant, the Society must submit a post-event summary containing information on how the event transpired and all actual financials. This report will be submitted to the Society Coordinator no later than (2) weeks after the completion of the event. Failure to submit post-event summaries with receipts for SMUSA sponsored events will result in loss of future grants.
21. The Society Coordinator will not consider a special event grants for:
a) capital expenditures;
b) illegal uses;
c) salaries, honorariums, or gifts for Society members; and/or
d) the purchase of alcoholic beverages.
e) the months of May-August.
f) unnecessary food purchases
Offices and Meeting Spaces
22. When assigning SMUSA office space the following criteria shall be considered:
a) the financial and programming success of the Society in the previous year;
b) the Society’s compliance with these policies, and, in particular:
i. Whether the Society reports, as required by these policies, have been submitted to SMUSA on time; and
ii. Whether the constitution of the Society is up-to-date and in the possession of SMUSA, and;
iii. Whether the Society has complied with all SMUSA rules and regulations
c) If office space is granted to a society, they must fallow and are subject to the following: or they will lose the space
i. No Alcohol or its consumption is permitted in the office space
ii. Smoking is not permitted within the building.
iii. The office space may not be used as living arrangements
iv. The room is not to be damaged or untidy
v. Random inspections of the room can be done during the year and any violation of the above rules can result in loss of office space or monetary penalties
vi. The Society must maintain an active schedule of events that non society members from Saint Mary’s can attend, average of 2 events of this type a month, exceptions can be made with Society Coordinator approval
d) When it comes time for the society to move out of the office space,
i. the society shall have one week to remove their belonging from the office space
ii. Any objects left behind that have a value less than fifty dollars will be thrown out or donated
iii. Any object above the value of fifty dollars will be stored for the time of four months, after that time they will be considered donated to SMUSA
e) In the case of a Faculty Society, they will be required to provide a letter from said faculty stating that the society will not be getting office space from them before they can receive SMUSA society office space.
23. Society Common Space is a room located on the fifth floor of the Student Centre that is provided for all societies within SMUSA to use. The following rules apply for all users:
a) Society meeting space can be reserved in the Student Centre. To do so, the Society executive must contact the SMUSA Front Desk (on the fifth floor or 496-8700) and sign it out;
b) there will be designated times throughout the week where space cannot be booked to allow the space to be freely occupied by all who wish to use it;
c) the Society space must be respected: clean up after your Society. Leave the space as was found;
d) your Society can be held fully responsible for the damages incurred in the Society Common Space during times for which the space was booked or occupied by your Society. Consequences of damaging SMUSA property could result in monetary fines and/or the de-ratification of your Society;
e) rooms can only be booked by the Secretary of your society (or another member designated to book rooms on campus, as approved by the Society Coordinator), and the person who books the space is responsible for it;
f) computers must be taken care of; log off when you are done using them.
24. Other spaces on campus are available to be booked:
a) by one designated member of the Society, usually the Secretary (unless otherwise determined by the Society and the Society Coordinator).
b) by first identifying the individual in your society who is designated to book space by emailing the Society Coordinator to identify the designated individual (with name, position title, phone number and email address).
c) by contacting Conference Services ([email protected]) or 420-5486 (phone calls are preferred) for all bookings in the University, except for the Student Centre. Room bookings in the Student Centre are administered by the SMUSA Administrative Assistant, who can be found on the 5th Floor of the Student Centre.
d) after 7pm during the weekdays and anytime on the weekends. Special arrangements for day-time week-day events can be made on request for larger events.
e) after September 1 for Societies Ratifying for the Fall Semester, and after the first day of classes for Societies starting at any other time.
f) in person, through email, or over the phone at/with Conference Services.
g) at least one business day in advance and for weekends (or Monday by 12:00pm), on Friday.
h) on the condition that all adhere to Conference Services’ “Room Use Regulations”.
Set-up and clean-up of the room booked is the Society’s responsibility.
Societies are not permitted to cater their own food or liquor. All food must be provided by the University caterer, Aramark Campus Services, at 420-5599 and liquor/bar service by SMUSA at 496-8703. Our beverage/food service agreements do not permit the serving of items supplied by external sources, including donations.
Campus security is required at all functions with liquor and at large public gatherings. Conference Services will assign security, at the Society’s expense, where deemed necessary.
If there is a plan to have alcohol at an event, a Liquor Functions Form (available at Conference Services) must be completed. This form requires signatures/approvals from the President, delegated or SMUSA Operations Manager and the Manager of University Security. The completed form must be returned to Conference Services by Thursday of the week prior to the event. To avoid cancellation, payment for services must be paid in full three days prior to an event.
Should a Society have an outstanding account resulting from charges levied for damages, security, cleaning, liquor or food service, etc. future use of university facilities will be denied until the account is settled.
Failure to adhere to any of the regulations could result in a function being terminated or suspension in the use of facilities.
Important Contact Information
Campus Security – Security, MM Room 016
Food Service – Aramark, Loyola Residence, 2nd Floor
Bar Service – SMUSA, Student Centre, Room 509
Societies are not permitted to book spaces through a faculty department or other staff contact; in order for SMUSA to keep track of all Society operations on campus, they must be kept aware of these events through Conference Services; this can only be done if Societies book under their own names.
25. If a society breaks any of the rules stated or neglects their duty to submit forms they are able to be placed on Society Probation by the Society Coordinator. While a society is in this state, Society’s will:
a) Be unable to receive funding from SMUSA
b) Must have the Society Coordinator approve any room booking a week in advance before they can then book with Conference Services
c) Possible loss of Office Space if your society holds it currently
26. If well in the probation state a Society continues to break the rules state, or neglects paper work, the Society Executives will go before the Board of Directors and could have the right to be revoked from all Society’s as well as the Society itself being suspended.
27. Societies experiencing internal conflict are encouraged to first attempt conflict resolution independently by utilizing Conflict Resolution strategies. The basic steps are listed below, but more info on Conflict Resolution can be found online or at the University Library.
If your situation escalates, we recommend contacting the Society Coordinator for assistance in mediation. Should a problem persist, or become serious in nature, you may contact the Conflict Resolution Advisor for Saint Mary’s University. You can also visit them in the SMU Student Centre, room 416, or you can call them at: (902) 420-5113.
The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution by Dudley Weeks, Ph.D., Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. 1992
Overview of the “Conflict Partnership Process”
Conflict Partnership is a process that empowers people to build mutually beneficial relationships and to resolve conflict effectively. Try following its eight steps:
1. Create an Effective Atmosphere – Focus on the problem, not the people
2. Clarify Perceptions – Allow everyone to use “I” statements to report how they feel
3. Focus on Individual and Shared Needs – Listen for needs, allow others to speak
4. Build Shared Positive Power
5. Look to the Future, then Learn from the Past
6. Generate Options – Discuss possible solutions and their outcomes
7. Develop “Doables” – Set goals for resolution
8. Make Mutual Benefit Agreements – Make sure the resolution(s) benefits all parties
The “partnership process” is based on the following five principles. Keep them in mind whenever you are involved in a conflict:
1. Think “we,” rather than “I versus you” – working together helps solve conflicts.
2. Try to keep in mind the long term relationship.
3. Good conflict resolution will improve the relationship.
4. Good conflict resolution benefits both parties.
5. Conflict resolution and relationship building go hand in hand.
28. Societies operating on campus are required to adhere to any and all contracts or agreements held by SMUSA and/or the University. All societies shall;
a) consult with the General Manager of SMUSA before actively endorsing any company, product or services on or off campus;
b) not authorize any company to advertise or distribute products or services on
c) not enter into any contracts or agreements without the expressed written consent
of the General Manager of SMUSA.
d) adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in SMUSA’s Poster Policy.
- All society event posters must be in advance approved by one of the following SMUSA staff before they can be circulated:
i. Society Coordinator
ii. Events and Marketing Manager
iii. General Manager
iv. Administrative Assistant
29. All further and impermanent Society information can be found on www.smusa.ca under the “Societies” tab. This site will list all available resources and upcoming events for Societies, including contact info for the Society Coordinator.
30. With respect to Societies, the President may make such further rules and regulations
that he/she deems necessary, provided they are consistent with the Constitution and these policies.
- August 1st will be the beginning of Ratification of Societies for the Fall and Winter Periods no earlier and no request before that will be accepted
- May 1st will be the beginning of Ratification of Societies for the spring and summer period and will not be accepted any earlier then this date.
- The end date of ratification for Fall Winter term will be the last day of February.
- The end date of ratification for the Spring and Summer term will be the 1st of July.
- Society Expo will be held on the Thursday of Orientation Week.
- Society Summit will be held 3rd Friday of September and will be same day as Society Social.
- The second Society Summit will be 3rd Third Friday of January.
- First Semester Reports are due January 15th
- Second Semester Reports are due April 30th
- Monthly Society Executive Meets will be held on 3rd Friday November and March.