Student Organization Handbook

Official Recognition

In order to be officially recognized as a UNC-SOM student organization, you must do two things:

1. Complete the UNC Student Organizations Official Recognition paperwork at;
2. Make sure your organization's website is updated with the new officers, their contact information, and current organization activities.

If you aren't officially recognized by the University, you cannot use any University space as an organization and do not have access to campus funding sources.  If you aren't officially recognized by the SOM, you cannot use SOM University space and you do not have access to the Dean's Fund or to Medical Alumni Association grants.

Step 1: The UNC Student Organizations Official Recognition paperwork

This paperwork is required by the University for all student organizations and must be turned in to the Carolina Union. It must be updated annually for all active organizations. The due date is generally in September. For SOM organizations, (new and existing) go to

Step 2: Updating your website

The Dean of the SOM gives our organizations a big chunk of money to fund their activities, however he requires that there be some way to show off what these organizations are doing to applicants, students, faculty, and friends of the SOM. He also needs to know what organizations are doing with his money so he can continue obtaining it from its ultimate source.

The solution to these requirements is that all SOM groups are required to maintain updated websites with a list of current officers and descriptions of current organization activities. The websites are located at:

Your immediate past officers should know how to access the group's site. If you have any questions about the websites, please contact David Kinton in the Office of Information Systems, Educational Technology Group:


Applying for WMS Funding

The Whitehead Council holds a funding application processes each spring. The application forms are made available by the VP of Student Development. Groups are responsible for preparing an organization budget and filling out the application forms by the spring due date.  After groups submit their applications, the VP of Student Development drafts a budget based upon WMS funding guidelines. The VP presents the budget proposal to the voting members of the Whitehead Council who debate and approve it.  There are two sources of funding controlled or partially-controlled by the Whitehead Council: the Dean's Fund and the Medical Alumni Association Grants.

The Dean's Fund:

The Dean of the SOM gives $15,000 per year to SOM student organizations. This money is held in a University account in the University Finance Office, 440 W. Franklin Street. The WMS VP of Student Development is responsible for collecting budget proposals from student organizations each spring, creating a budget from the proposals, and submitting this budget to the Whitehead Council.

After allocations to each group are approved, the VP of Student Development is responsible for collecting receipts from student organizations and submitting these receipts to the SOM Office of Financial Aid. These checks are written to the student requiring reimbursement, and are mailed by the SOM Office of Financial Aid directly to the student. This process takes 1-4 weeks, unfortunately, due to regulations placed on all University accounts.

MAA Grants:

The UNC-SOM Medical Alumni Association grants a significant amount of money each fall to UNC-SOM student organizations for special projects requiring significant funding. The VP of Student Development earmarks projects from the spring budget applications and asks earmarked organizations to submit their projects for funding by the MAA. The VP also makes a general announcement to all SOM students about the availability of these funds. The MAA determines the recipients of these funds and makes funding arrangements with the fund recipients. Organizations are highly encouraged to contact the VP of Student Development if they are considering submitting a project for funding, as the VP has significant influence over the MAA funding process.

What do I need to be thinking about right now?

Elect Officers! Make sure you elect new officers for your organization early in the spring semester so you can be prepared to submit accurate budget information in the spring (i.e. elect new officers in January/February... it sounds crazy, but we're all gone on Community Weeks/Spring Break in March, and we're through the whole process by April).

Elect a treasurer! Be aware of all of the sources of funding and what kinds of projects could be funded by each source. Keep a good record of funding applications used year-to-year to save yourself some work.  Communicate effectively with the VP of Student Development.

Maintain your website! Get help from VPs of IT if needed.  The new School of Medicine web system is very convenient and easy to use, with some training.

How to use your Dean's Fund allocation

Official Reimbursement Form (required)

Spend money, get a receipt

This usually requires a student organization member to spend their own money, then get reimbursed. If you know you're going to have a large expenditure, a check request can be made in advance. Please contact the VP of Student Development well in advance!

Give your receipt to the VP of Student Development

They will submit your receipt to the Office of Student Affairs and to the University Finance Office (UFO), who will make a check out to the student.   The check will then be mailed to the student.  Please keep your website updated with activities so the Dean has something to show for the state's largesse.

Other funding sources for SOM organizations

Student Congress:

The UNC Chapel Hill Student Congress (SC) is the official elected legislative body representing all students. It is the legislative branch of the UNC Chapel Hill Student Government.

SC collects a fee (called the "Student Activity Fee") from all students. This fee creates an enormous source of money that the SC then allocates to student organizations. The lion's share of this money is given out during the annual SC budget process each spring (February/March). This works similarly to the WMS annual budget process, except that it is much more involved.

The other chunk of this money is given out through SC Subsequent Appropriations. This occurs throughout the school year and is a good way for student organizations to get big chunks of change for speakers and special events.

To request SC Subsequent Appropriations Funds, you must submit a request to the SC Finance Chair. There is a biweekly deadline for requests that can be found (usually) on the SC Finance Committee website. The Finance Chair then formats your request into a SC Bill. You are required to present this bill before the Finance Committee, which will debate the bill, send it to SC and alter as they see fit. One week later, you must present the amended bill to the full body of SC. They then debate your bill and amend it as they see fit. After amendments are made, the bill is voted on.

The whole process is unnerving if you've never been through it before, but it's really pretty easy if you learn the system. The key is to understand the funding priorities of SC, which are found in the UNC Student Code, Title V (available on the Finance Committee website).


The Student Code dictates that out of every dollar contributed to the Student Activity Fund by graduate and professional students, 75 cents are to be distributed by Student Congress and 25 cents are to be distributed by the Graduate and Professional Student Federation. This source of funding operates under the same general principles as the money available through Student Congress, however is geared directly at the activities of G&P student organizations. Student groups may learn more about applying for this money by going to the GPSF website or by attending a GPSF meeting.