How to Run a Club

Read on to find more information about:

Clubs Portfolio Contacts University Centre SSMU Policies for Club
Maintaining Club Status Advertising and Recruiting Online Presence
Resources in the SSMU Building Activities Night Club Webspace
Mailbox Space Postering Club Emails
Locker Space Table Bookings Social Media
Room Bookings in the SSMU Building Listserv Submissions Financial Management
Room Bookings with Alcohol Club Listing Bank Accounts
Booking Gerts Volunteer Listings Audits
Booking Outside of SSMU Funding and Fundraising Finance Tips
Insurance and Liability SSMU Funding Planning Events
Frequently Asked Questions Sponsorship Environmental Sustainability

Before reading this step-by-step guide on how to run a club, consult the Internal Regulations of Student Groups (most recently updated in April of 2016) in order to understand the rights and responsibilities of clubs.

Clubs Portfolio Contacts

Both the Student Life Team and the permanent staff at the SSMU are dedicated to facilitating the day to operation of clubs and ensuring that clubs are able to continue engaging students.  Any of the following SSMU employees can be contacted with questions and concerns that are relevant to their portfolios.

  • Vice President (Student Life): As the head of the Student Life team, the Vice President (Student Life) is responsible for the coordination of Activities Night, the management of the SSMU Building, the allocation of club resources, and overall club policy. The VP (Student Life) can be reached at studentlife@ssmu.mcgill.ca.
  • Club Administrative Officer: The Club Administrative Officer is responsible for day-to-day clubs administration. For inquiries about bank accounts, signing officers, club forms, or general questions about club administration and management, contact the Club Administrative Officer at clubadmin@ssmu.mcgill.ca
  • Club Commissioner: The Club Commissioner chairs the Club Committee. For inquiries about how to start a club, interim status applications, full status applications, or constitutional amendments, contact the Club Committee Coordinator at clubcom@ssmu.mcgill.ca.
  • Front Desk: The SSMU front desk staff can assist clubs with general inquiries about the SSMU, provide assistance booking rooms in the SSMU Building, provide approval to poster in the SSMU building, or grant clubs mailboxes. The front desk staff can be reached at (514) 398-6800 or at frontctr@ssmu.mcgill.ca and are available in the SSMU Office from 9am-5pm on weekdays.
  • Events Manager: The Events Manager manages the SSMU Room Booking System and all of the scheduling and booking for club events in the SSMU Building, as well as table bookings in the SSMU lobby.  The Events Manager can be reached at tcanales@ssmu.mcgill.ca
  • Funding Coordinator: The Funding Coordinator is responsible for collecting funding applications from clubs and managing the disbursement of funds to student groups. For inquiries about the application process or about one of the many funds available to clubs, contact fundcom@ssmu.mcgill.ca.
  • Security Manager: SSMU’s Security Manager handles security for club events, lost and found, events with alcohol in the SSMU Building, and after-hours access to the SSMU building.  The Security Manager can be reached at secsup@ssmu.mcgill.ca.
  • Club Representatives: SSMU’s 230+ clubs are represented on SSMU Council by two Club Representatives, who are responsible for representing the interests of clubs and voting in favour of clubs at Council.  To voice concerns about how SSMU policies will affect clubs, the Club Representatives can be reached at csrep1@ssmu.mcgill.ca and csrep2@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

University Centre

With status as either an Interim or Full Status Club, student groups can book rooms for free in the SSMU building for up to 10 hours per week in the University Centre, also known as the Shatner Building or the SSMU Building.

Access to the building for clubs is limited to the building’s hours of operation. The building doors are closed 15 minutes prior to the building’s closing time.  Please note that these hours of operation are subject to change without notice.

These regular building hours do not apply to holidays.  The SSMU Building is closed on all of the following holidays:

Labour Day September 7, 2015
Thanksgiving October 12, 2015
Christmas December 25, 2015
New Years Day January 1, 2016
Good Friday March 25, 2016
Easter Monday March 28, 2016
Victoria Day May 23, 2016
Fête de la Saint-Jean June 24, 2016
Canada Day July 1, 2016

No room bookings can be made on holidays or outside of the building’s hours of operation.  SSMU also reserves the right to restrict access to the building on other days not listed above or to close the building early in preparation for special events, including but not limited to Activities Night and 4Floors.

The SSMU Office is also located within the Shatner Building, and can be found on the first floor next to the entrance to the Brown Building.  To find the SSMU Office, follow the path of SSMU stickers leading from the main doors on the first floor to the office.  The SSMU office is open from 9am-5pm on weekdays.

SSMU Policies for Clubs

After becoming a SSMU club, groups are subject to a number of policies adopted by the SSMU, many of which are outlined in your club’s constitution.

 Equity and Inclusivity:

  • All SSMU clubs are required to execute their mandate from an anti-oppressive and equitable standpoint.  This requires that equal respect be given to all members of the club, including those of disadvantaged backgrounds, and regardless of but not limited to gender, age, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexuality or sexual orientation, mental or physical abilities, language, or social class.

Collaboration and Inter-Group Relations

  • As one of over 250 clubs registered with the SSMU, all clubs are required to maintain cordial and respectful relations with all other clubs, services and independent student groups.  This means that clubs are not permitted to use SSMU resources or their Club Status to prevent other clubs, services, or independent student groups from fulfilling their mandate.  Additionally, in the case of a dispute between groups, all issues must be resolved in a collegial fashion.  In the case of a dispute, a member of the club’s executive team is responsible for contacting the Vice President (Clubs and Services) regarding the issue.

Environmental Sustainability

  •  All clubs are expected to make attempts to regularly monitor the environmental impact of all their events and operations and to make an effort to make their events and initiatives more sustainable.  Clubs should attempt to utilize the services and resources available at SSMU in order to maximize capacities for equitable decision-making and environmental stewardship. These include but are but are not limited the use of resources like the Plate Club,  the Green Events Guide, applications for the SSMU Green Fund, assistance from the SSMU Environment Commissioners, Environment Committee and Green Events Coordinators.
  • Clubs should also attempt to find sustainable alternatives to the non-recyclable #6 plastic, work on effective waste management, provide vegan and vegetarian options, purchase clothing which is ethically sourced and environmentally-friendly, purchase local and sustainable alcohol, fair trade coffee and tea, and local and/or organic foods.

Fiscal Responsibility:

  • No member of a club may make personal profit from a SSMU Club.  Additionally, clubs are required to demonstrate their financial solvency through the submission of a bi-annual audit to the SSMU.

 The violation of any of these policies could result in the revocation of Club Status.

If any of these policies are not outlined in your constitution, it may be time to update your binding document and submit a constitutional amendment!

Administration and Maintaining Club Status

In order to retain SSMU affiliation status, clubs are expected to complete a number of mandatory administrative tasks at the beginning of every year.

To retain Club Status, club must:

  1. Complete the Student Group Information Form: The Student Group Information Form is the only form required by all SSMU affiliated groups. This form provides contact information for each of the executive members of every SSMU club. The completion of the Student Group Information Form is required in order to take advantage of club privileges, and only the individuals listed on this form with complete contact information will be able to book rooms on behalf of the club, be eligible for signing officer rights on the club bank account, register for Activities night, obtain club office information and door codes, or make pick-ups for the club at the SSMU front desk. This form is also used to update the club’s information in the Club Listing, so make sure to complete the form all the way through to the website blurb at the very end!

  2. Attend a Club Workshop: Club Workshops, held annually at the end of September, are mandatory for clubs registered with the SSMU. These workshops cover a wide variety of topics in club administration management, including finance and audit procedures, club policies, and how to use SSMU resources effectively.  Each club must send one representative from their executive council or collective to the mandatory workshop every year to maintain their club status.  If you missed the club workshop in September, contact the Club Administrative Officer to schedule a one-on-one make up meeting.

  3. Complete Club Audits: Clubs are required to submit an audit of their spending for the semester previous at the end of every semester. These audits are due in January and in May, and require the submission of a list of the club’s transactions and all receipts from the semester. The submission of these audits are required in order to receive funding out of the club fund and in order to maintain club status.

If a club fails to complete any of these three tasks, they risk being deemed inactive and losing Club Status, as per the Clubs and Services Portfolio By-Laws.

Advertising and Recruiting

One of the biggest challenges new clubs face is finding strategies to attract students to their club. Clubs have a variety of available resources, both from SSMU and otherwise, to help them grow their club’s member base.

Activities Night

Activities Night, held twice annually, is one of the best opportunities for clubs to showcase what they do.  SSMU clubs are able to table for free at both Fall and Winter Activities Night, which is attended by thousands of students every year.

Activities Night gives students a chance to speak to club executives one-on-one, ask questions about club activities, and learn how they can get more involved with your organization.

Tale registration for Activities Night becomes available in the weeks leading up to the event and the registration link will be sent out through the VP Clubs and Services Listserv.

Postering

Clubs that want to advertise in the SSMU building are able to do so through postering, so long as the posters are approved by SSMU before being hung in the building.  Posters must be brought to the SSMU Front Desk for approval in order to hang them in the Shatner Building.  If your poster does not bear an approval stamp from the SSMU, the poster will be taken down.

align=”justify”If your club wants to hang a single poster in the SSMU Building, it cannot exceed 11 x 17”.  Your club can hang a maximum of two posters in the building at a time, and if hanging two posters, they cannot exceed 8 ½ x 11”.

All posters for club events must include both the name of your club as well as recognition that your club is “a student group of the Students Society of McGill University.”

By law, posters cannot advertise alcohol or the prices of alcohol. This means that in order to advertise for an event that may include an alcoholic drink with the ticket price, you are required to advertise a free “beverage” with the ticket, instead of identifying the free drink as alcoholic on the poster.  If your club has an event where you are working in conjunction with a bar, any poster with that bar’s name on it cannot be approved for hanging in the SSMU building because no bar or pub other than Gerts may be advertised in the building.

You cannot hang posters for any commercial group external to McGill in the SSMU building, including any commercial group that may be sponsoring your club.

SSMU clubs wanting to poster in other buildings will need to follow the rules and regulations set out by each individual building.  For example, posters in Leacock must be approved at the Arts Undergraduate Society office and posters in Bronfman must be approved by the Vice President Communications of the Management Undergraduate Society.  For details about postering outside of the SSMU building, contact the building you are interested in postering in directly.

Please note that while you can poster on campus with permission, clubs cannot post flyers on property owned by the City of Montreal, which includes telephone poles and street signs.  Postering on city property could result in fines or legal action being taken against your club!

Table Bookings

SSMU Clubs are also able to request table bookings in the Shatner Building through the online room booking system.

Tables in the lobby of the SSMU Building cannot be booked more than 3 weeks in advance, and groups are not able to request tabling dates more than 8 times in any given month. A table booking in the SSMU Building grants clubs the table from 9am to 12am on the date of their booking.

Groups tabling in the SSMU Building are not permitted to sell or give away food or drinks under any circumstances. While SSMU can not permit the selling of food while tabling in the building, tabling for the purpose of samosa or bake sales is available in other McGill buildings.

SSMU clubs are also able to book tables for promotion or sales in other buildings, including Leacock, Burnside, Bronfman, and McConnell.

Listserv Submissions

Aside from advertising on your club’s own email list, clubs can also consider submitting information about their club or their events to one of the many other listservs that reach groups of students outside of their club membership.

SSMU Listservs:

  • The SSMU Listserv sent out weekly by the Vice President Internal of SSMU reaches all undergraduate students at McGill. Submissions can be made via an online form and must be submitted by Thursday at 5pm for inclusion in Monday’s listserv.

  • The Vice President Clubs and Services listserv, while targeted to clubs and other student groups, can also include information about upcoming events for your club.  All SSMU clubs are required to receive the Clubs and Services Listserv, and including information about your club in this listserv will allow other clubs to see it and potentially advertise it themselves if they think it may appeal to their members. Submissions to this listserv can be sent directly to the Vice President of Clubs and Services at cs@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

External Listservs:

  • The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) listserv is sent out on Monday evenings, and submissions are due by 5pm on Fridays in order to allow time for translation. Submissions can be made via an online submission form, which also adds your club’s event information to the AUS Community Board and the AUS Calendar.

  • The Science Undergraduate Society listserv is sent out to all undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science weekly. Submissions can be sent via the online submission form and are due by noon on Sunday for inclusion in the listserv.

  • Submissions to the Management Undergraduate Society’s listserv can be made by email to comm.mus@mail.mcgill.ca.  The MUS requests that blurbs be fewer than 140 words and that social media links be included with the submission.

  • The Engineering Undergraduate Society listserv also takes submissions from non-EUS groups via an online submission form, but only includes blurbs that would be deemed to be relevant and beneficial to engineering undergraduates.

  • All of the smaller faculties have their own listservs as well, and submitting to these listservs generally requires emailing the Vice President Communications or the Vice President Internal of the faculty association.

Clubs Listing

SSMU hosts a Clubs Listing on the SSMU Website that includes all currently registered SSMU Clubs, which allows students who are interested in getting involved on campus to browse the list of available clubs by category.

The Clubs Listing not only includes a short summary of the mandate and activities of your club, but also includes links to your club’s website, email, and social media accounts to ensure that students are able to easily get in contact with you if interested!

The club blurb and links to your contact information come from the information submitted by each club in the Student Group Information Form, so groups who do not complete this form will not be included in the listing.

If you already have submitted an updated Student Group Information Form and want to update the club information on your listing without re-submitting the entire form, contact the Club Administrative Officer at clubadmin@ssmu.mcgill.ca with the new blurb and social media links.

Volunteer Service Listings

For groups that focus on community outreach, volunteering, or fundraising for charity, events and opportunities can also be advertised by the SSMU Volunteer Service.

The SSMU Volunteer Service maintains an extensive database of organizations in Montreal, including SSMU clubs, that offer both long and short term volunteer opportunities to students.  The volunteer listings include information about the objective and goals of the organization or club as well as the requirements for volunteers. Volunteering and community outreach clubs can add their information to the Volunteer Service listings via an online submission form.

Online Presence

Part of the advertising and promotion of clubs often involves cultivating an online presence, both through a website and social media as well as making your club accessible online.

Club Webspace

Clubs who are interested in creating a web presence can request a site in the SSMU domain, with a www.ssmu.mcgill.ca/yourclub address.

To request a website, clubs are required to fill out the Student Group Resource Request Form.

For clubs that need assistance with the development of their website, all clubs are entitled to 10 hours of website design and website management training from the SSMU Club Website Designer. To arrange for a meeting or to make a request for website design, contact the Clubs Website Designer at clubweb@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

Please note that all club websites must identify the club as “a student group of the Students’ Society of McGill University.”

Club Emails

When a club is granted Interim Status, their first responsibility is the creation of an official group email address.

While clubs can use any domain for this email address, SSMU clubs are able to request an email with the SSMU domain name (yourclub@ssmu.mcgill.ca).  Requests for an email address can be made through the Website Request form above.

Social Media

Many SSMU clubs use social media, most notably Facebook and Twitter, to advertise for their events and to increase their member base.

SSMU will include club social media accounts in the online Club Listings, which allows for students interested in learning more about each club to easily find out more about your club events.

Charity, Volunteering, and Community Outreach clubs can also benefit from the services of NetRoots, a Full Status SSMU Club with a mandate to provide free social media consultation services to nonprofits.  Nonprofit clubs can request a consultation from NetRoots, who will help clubs to create websites, create social media profiles, and develop social media strategies for specific events.

Club Resources in the SSMU Building

As a SSMU club, groups are also able to take advantages of the resources in the SSMU Building, including mailbox space, and storage lockers.  

Mailbox Space

Clubs are also able to request mailbox space.  All club mailboxes are housed on the fourth floor of the Shatner Building, directly across from the Queer McGill office.

For clubs who have been granted a SSMU mailbox, their mailing address is:

Mailbox #_____

3600 rue McTavish, Suite 1200

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

H3A 0G3

When clubs have a package sent to their mailbox, it will be accepted by the SSMU front desk and the club will receive a notice via email to pick up the package. Only an executive member recognized in the Executive Contact Sheet is eligible to pick up a package on behalf of the club.

To request a mailbox, please contact the Club Administrative Officer at clubadmin@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

Lockers

For clubs that require storage space for club materials, locker space in the SSMU building is available. Please note that lockers are typically used to store low value promotional material and club supplies. For inquires about storage of valuable equipment, please contact the Vice-President Operations. When locker space for clubs becomes available, an application for club lockers will be sent out via the Clubs and Services listserv. This application form can also be found on the Locker Applications page.

Room Bookings

One of the many benefits of being a SSMU club is access to free room bookings in the SSMU Building for events, meetings, parties, rehearsals or other club initiatives!

The rooms available for booking by clubs include:

Room

Capacity

Booking

Notes

Blue Room (403-A)

15 people

Clubs can book the Blue Room up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

The Blue Room is located on the 4th floor. The Blue Room overlooks the Ballroom and loud events in the Ballroom may interrupt meetings in the Blue Room.

Green Room (433-A)

15 people

Clubs can book the Green Room up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

The Green room is located on the 4th floor. The Green Room overlooks the Ballroom and loud events in the Ballroom may interrupt meetings in the Green Room.

Purple Room (434)

12 people

Clubs can book the Purple Room up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

The Purple Room is a meeting room located on the 4th floor.  There is a built in chalkboard.

Yellow Room (436)

12 people

Clubs can book the Yellow Room up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS. The Purple Room is a meeting room located on the 4th floor.  There is a built in chalkboard.

Clubs Lounge (401)

75 people

Clubs can book the Clubs Lounge up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

The Clubs Lounge is located on the 4th floor.

Room 302

60 people

Clubs can book the Clubs Lounge up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

Room 302 is located on the third floor.  Room 302 is connected to the Ballroom and is separated by a room separator. The Ballroom and 302 can be booked together and opened into one room.  This also means that loud events in the Ballroom may interrupt events in 302.  Booking this room may also require a security meeting with the Events Administrator

Ballroom

450 people

Clubs can book the Ballroom up to 3 months in advance.

The Ballroom is located on the third floor.  The Ballroom is connected to Room 302 and is separated by a room separator. The Ballroom and 302 can be booked together and opened into one room.  If you require the Ballroom stage to be removed for an event this will result in extra costs.

Kitchen
(Room 304)

20 people

The kitchen can be booked by clubs up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

The kitchen is located on the third floor.  The kitchen is a nut free space and peanuts or other nuts cannot be brought into the kitchen. Clubs cannot use Midnight Kitchen’s supplies and equipment if they plan to cook with meat, dairy, or other animal products.

Madeleine Parent
(Room 203)

90 people

Clubs can book Madeleine Parent up to 3 months in advance.

The Madeleine Parent Room is located on the second floor.  Madeleine Parent is connected to Lev Bukhman by a room separator, so the two rooms can be booked together and expanded into one large room for events.

Lev Bukhman (Room 201)

60 people

Clubs can book the Lev Bukhman up to 3 months in advance.

The Lev Bukhman Room is located on the second floor. Lev Bukhman is connected to Madeleine Parent by a room separator, so the two rooms can be booked together and expanded into one large room for events. No food is allowed in this room.

Room 108

60 people

Room 108 can be booked by clubs up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

Room 108 is located on the main floor of the building, next to the Legal Information Clinic and Student Advocacy.

Room B-29

25 people

B-29 can be booked by clubs up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

Room B-29 is located in the basement. The room is also located next to an office, so ensure that your event will not have excessive noise.

Room B-30

50 people

B-30 can be booked by clubs up to 6 weeks in advance through SSMURBS.

Room B-30 is located in the basement. Gerts uses this room for coat check so it may be unavailable some evenings.

A booking for one or more of these rooms can be made online, through the SSMU Room Booking System. The more details you can provide about your request, the easier it becomes for the Events Manager to process your request. If your event involves alcohol or will require security, you also must indicate this on the room booking request!

When making a request through the SSMU Room Booking System (SSMURBS), keep the following rules and regulations in mind:

  • If your club has not submitted an Student Information Form for this year, you may not be included in the Room Booking System. Only after completing the Student Information Form and after that form has been approved by the Club Administrative Officer will the executives listed on your Student Group Information Form be given access to SSMURBS.

  • Due to limited space in the SSMU Building, the bookings of SSMU Clubs for any given week cannot exceed 15 hours. If you make a request that will exceed your fifteen hour limit for a week, your request will not be granted. Three of those fifteen hours can be used as recurring booking hours.

  • Room bookings include tables and chairs and A/V Rental if you request them in advance, but SSMU cannot provide you with an A/V technician to set up the technology.

  • Clubs are responsible for cleaning up the room and leaving it the way they found it after their event. Failure to clean up your event room will result in extra charges to your club.  The club is also responsible for the costs associated with replacement or repairs to the room if the room or the A/V equipment is damaged during an event. Any charges incurred will be sent to your club via invoice after the event and payment must be made within 30 days. Failure to pay will result in the revocation of room booking privileges.

  • Respect the capacity of the room you are renting. If an event goes over capacity, SSMU Security will need to intervene to stop your event or to ask event attendees to leave in order to meet the room capacity. If this happens, the club may be responsible for security fees.

Please take into consideration the volume of room booking requests received by the Events Manager and respect that processing a booking in the SSMU building will likely take at least three business days. Do not email the Events Manager to inquire about the status of your request before three days have passed.

Room Bookings with Alcohol

For room bookings with alcohol, which must be indicated on the initial room booking request, clubs need to comply with all SSMU regulations as well as all municipal, provincial and federal regulations related to alcohol in the building. All events with alcohol require a meeting with the Events Administrator to plan the event.

All events with alcohol also require the presence of SSMU security and SSMU servers, which will result in additional event costs. Clubs will also be required to pay a booking fee that is decided based on the alcohol sales expected from the event.  The booking fees are as follows:

Alcohol Sales

Booking Fee

$0 to $199

$50

$200 to $299

$100

$300 to $399

$150

$400 to $499

$200

$500 and over

$0

When hosting an event with alcohol, all alcohol must be purchased from the SSMU and must be ordered at least two weeks in advance. Clubs cannot under any circumstances bring in or serve alcohol purchased outside (including from the SAQ) at their events. If SSMU Security finds outside alcohol at an event in the building, the alcohol will be confiscated and your group may lose their room booking privileges.

The alcohol that clubs can order from the SSMU range in price, and clubs can decide the quantities they require for their event. Prices are as follows:

Product

Price

Red House Wine or White House Wine

$3.25/5oz

Domestic Bottled Beer (Sleemans, Mooseheads, St. Ambroise) or Unibroue

$3.50/bottle

Vodka, Rum, Gin, Rye Whisky, Tequila, Scotch, Amaretto, Peach Schnapps

$4.00/drink

Grey Goose, Bombay, Johnnie Walker Black

$5.00/drink

SSMU clubs hosting events with alcohol in the SSMU building are also required to promote a culture of responsible drinking at all events, and groups that are caught promoting heavy drinking or drinking games could lead to the loss of room booking privileges. Your club will also need to sign a contract containing all of this information.

Booking Gerts

For special events, clubs are also able to book Gerts Bar. Gerts bookings cannot be made through the SSMU Room Booking System and must be directed to the Manager of Gerts.  For a Gerts booking to be approved, the club will be required to sign an event agreement with Gerts.

There are fees associated with booking Gerts, but these fees can be waived if bar sales exceed a certain amount.  Fees for booking events at Gerts are as follows:

Bookings Monday through Friday:

Bar Rental

Fee for Clubs

Table Reservation

Free

Section Booking

$100, waived if sales exceed $1,000

Entire Bar Booking

$200, waived if sales exceed $2,000

Bookings on Saturday or Sunday:

Bar Rental

Fee for Clubs

Entire Bar Booking

$350, waived if sales exceed $1,500.

If an event is cancelled with notice of less than 5 business days, the booking fee is forfeited.

Please note these fees may be subject to change without notice.

While Gerts will retain all bar sales for these events, clubs can earn revenue by operating coat check or charging cover for the event.  Club volunteers will be expected to collect fees at the door, as Gerts Security will not be available to assist with the collection of cover fees or to staff coat check.

When hosting an event at Gerts, clubs should note that club members under the age of 18 will not be permitted to enter any events at Gerts. When planning these events, the 250 person capacity of Gerts should also be considered.

Groups that book Gerts for an event may also be eligible to apply for the Gerts Student Life Fund to assist with the costs associated with their event. See the funding section for details.

Booking Outside of SSMU Building

While SSMU Clubs receive up to 15 hours of free room bookings per week in the SSMU building, they do not receive free room bookings in any other building on campus.

Clubs are able to book rooms in other McGill buildings, but there may be a cost associated with these bookings.  SSMU cannot provide support for booking these events. Booking for rooms outside of the SSMU Building, as well as the Y-intersection, can be made through the McGill Events Booking System.

Clubs are also able to request room bookings in the McGill Sports Complex.  Athletics offers a $10 rental rate for the rental of gyms, activity rooms, or fieldhouse courts for SSMU accredited groups.  Note that the Sports Complex will contact the SSMU to verify that you are a SSMU accredited group prior to approving your requests.  Contact the Administrative Coordinator at the Sports Complex for more information!

Financial Management

Bank Accounts

Both Interim Status and Full Status clubs are able to create a bank account with Scotiabank through the SSMU.

All SSMU bank accounts require at least two but no more than three Executive Members to be listed as Signing Officers on the account.  Signing Officers have the power to represent your club to the bank, as well as the ability to sign cheques and make withdrawals for the club.

The two or three Signing Officers on the account must be individuals whose name and contact information are listed in the club’s Student Group Information Form. If persons are listed on the Back Account Form who are not recognized in the Executive Contact Sheet, the form will not be processed. Similarly, the positions of the Signing Officers must be recognized as valid positions in the club constitution. For example, if a club constitution only allows for one President and the club is in contravention of their constitution by currently using Co-Presidents, the Co-Presidents will not be permitted access to the bank account.  To obtain a copy of your club constitution and to verify executive positions you constitution allows, contact the Club Administrative Officer at clubadmin@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

Please note that due to the volume of Bank Account Forms received by SSMU and the intensive processing procedures required for the forms, these forms could be in processing for several weeks during peak periods.

After the form has been processed and returned to the club via email, the executive members listed as Signing Officers on the form will be required to visit the bank with a copy of the completed completed Bank Account Form and with two pieces of ID each in order to officially change the Signing Officers on the account.

In order to create a club bank account or to change the signing officers on your club bank account, complete the Club Bank Account Form.

SSMU clubs are not permitted to have a bank account that is hosted by any bank other than Scotiabank.  All club bank accounts must be created through the submission of forms to SSMU to ensure that the accounts are created as a branch of the SSMU account.

Audits

All SSMU clubs are required to submit an audit at the end of each semester, which allows SSMU to ensure that club funds are being used appropriately.

The audits require clubs to outline all of their expenses and revenues for that semester, with receipts, which SSMU will then cross reference with the club’s bank account summary to ensure that there are no discrepancies.

Clubs will earn a score between 0 and 5 for the quality of their audit, and low audit scores will affect the club’s ability to receive funding from the SSMU.

All receipts must be retained in order to submit them with the bi-annual audit.  Physical receipts are required and scanned copies of receipts will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Finance Tips and Best Practices

SSMU Clubs should keep all of the following tips in mind to ensure that they are managing their club resources efficiently:

  • Clubs should maintain a running budget throughout the entire year in order to keep track of their available funds and to facilitate the VP Finance or Treasurer’s completion of the bi-annual audit.

  • All money exchange should operate through cheque requisition and clubs should not be keeping petty cash on hand.  Anytime the club requires that something be purchased, an executive member should make the purchase out of pocket, retain the receipt, and the executive member should be reimbursed in the exact amount by cheque.

  • All revenue in cash should be deposited immediately and not used to fund other club initiatives. In order to ensure that your club is being transparent in your financial transactions, petty cash should not be used to fund other purchases. For example, revenue from a previous samosa sale cannot be used to purchase samosas for a future sale. All cash on hand should be deposited into the bank as soon as possible.  Failing to do this could result in discrepancies on the club audit and impact your ability to be granted funding.

Funding and Fundraising

As clubs are not guaranteed any funding from the SSMU, clubs are responsible for their own fundraising in order to support their events and initiatives.  There are a wide variety of funds and resources available to clubs that can be drawn upon as resources.

SSMU Funding

SSMU offers a variety of funding opportunities for student groups.  All of the following funds, allocated by the Funding Committee, are available to Full Status Clubs. Interim Status Clubs are eligible for every fund but the Club Fund.

  • Club Fund: The Club Fund aims to provide funding for long term club activities throughout the semester, instead of on a per-event basis. Only Full Status Clubs are eligible to apply to this fund. Clubs must include events and their corresponding budgets for the semester they are applying in their application.
  • Campus Life Fund: The Campus Life Fund, available to both Interim and Full Status Clubs, funds student groups on a per-event basis.  Clubs can apply to this fund for assistance funding a specific project, production, event, conference, or publication. Only on-campus events that contribute to the betterment of student life will be considered.
  • Ambassador Fund: The Ambassador Fund is a funding source for groups that are hosting or participating in academic conferences. Please note that the Ambassador Fund will not support the funding of travel to a conference for an individual student.
  • Green Fund: The Green Fund funds students groups who are taking on sustainable initiatives on campus. The fund contributes to reduce the environmental impact of club events. The Green Fund can also subsidize the cost difference between biodegradable materials and the regular materials that the club would otherwise buy. To receive funding from this fund, the club must demonstrate a commitment to one of SSMU’s sustainability goals.
  • Space Fund: The Space Fund supports physical improvements in the Shatner Building and on campus, including renovations and furniture replacement.
  • Charity Fund: The Charity Fund supports projects and initiatives that foster community building between McGill and external communities or organizations.  The Funding Committee favours applications that fund projects contributing to the achievement of equal opportunity, promote inclusion, strive for the avoidance of deprivation, and foster community building. Please note that the Charity Fund is intended to provide funding for clubs to host charity events that also benefit student life while acting as a fundraiser, not just to provide money for clubs to donate directly to charities.
  • Equity Fund: The Equity Fund supports initiatives that make observable or measurable differences in the representation of historically or currently disadvantaged groups.  Projects that promote accessibility, inclusivity and non-discrimination are most appropriate for the Equity Fund.

Please note SSMU funding will not subsidize food and drink for events.

When completing a funding application, ensure that your application is clear and provides thorough explanations. Explain your clubs goals and your mandate and explain how your activities benefit the SSMU community. Be sure to provide budgets with specific notes for different expenses and revenue to aid the Funding Committee in making their decision.

Misrepresenting your operating budget or inflating numbers is easily identifiable by the funding committee (keep in mind that SSMU has access to your bank statements and current account balance) and will result in the denial of funding.

When granting funding to student groups, the Funding Committee allocates funds based on the club’s audit score, the quality of their events, the expected benefit to students of the events, the club’s fundraising capabilities, the club members, and the club’s history with funding and finances.

For questions or concerns about club funding, contact the Funding Coordinator at fundcom@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

External Funding and Sponsorship

While many clubs are interested in pursuing sponsorship agreements with external commercial groups, SSMU clubs are not legal entities and any contract signed by a club is not legally binding.

Because the clubs executives who sign a sponsorship agreement are not legal representatives of the club or of SSMU, this means that any person listed on a club contract is personally liable for the contents of that contract and could be subject to legal action against them as an individual if the contract is breached.

If you are interested in pursuing a sponsorship agreement with an external organization, contact the Vice President Clubs and Services, who may legally sign a contract on behalf of your club.

If a sponsorship agreement specifies that the club is expected to book tables in the SSMU building or rooms in the SSMU building for the external sponsor, this is grounds for revocation of club room and table book privileges.

SSMU clubs are able to take donations, but please note that the SSMU is not a charitable organization and as a result is unable to issue tax receipts to donors.

Events

For most SSMU clubs, hosting events is the most common way to engage students and attract new members to their club.  SSMU offers a number of resources, including funding, room bookings, and other services, to aid clubs in the planning of their events.

Event Services

As a club, you are also able to take advantage of one of SSMU’s many student-run services in order to ensure the success and safety of your event.  When planning events, clubs should consider working with:

  • MSERT: The McGill Student Emergency Response Team is a team comprised of over 50 volunteers who all hold certification at the Canadian Red Cross Emergency First Responder Level and carry a wide range of first aid materials for emergency situations.  In addition to providing first aid services to McGill Residences and major SSMU events, clubs are also able to request MSERT’s services for their own club events.  To request MSERT be present at your event to provide first aid services if necessary, complete the request form available on the MSERT website.
  • Walksafe: SSMU Walksafe are a group of volunteers who provide accompaniment to those are uncomfortable travelling by themselves in the evenings. Walksafe volunteers will walk, metro, or taxi with students to and from any destination on the island of Montreal.  Walksafe also provides their services at special events, and Walksafe volunteer coverage for club events can be requested on Walksafe’s website.
  • DriveSafe: DriveSafe is a service that will provide safe and free rides home to anywhere on the island of Montreal on weeknight evenings.  Clubs can also request that DriveSafe volunteers be available to take event attendees home after their events through the form on DriveSafe’s website.
  • Midnight Kitchen: The Midnight Kitchen Collective also provides vegan catering services for political and community based initiatives that keep with their political mandate.  To have the Midnight Kitchen cater your event, complete the Request Form found on the Midnight Kitchen’s website.
  • Plate Club: For clubs that are serving food at their events and want to ensure their event is environmentally sustainable, the Plate Club provides free reusable dishware rentals for special events.  The Plate Club inventory includes plates, utensils, cups, platters, and more, all of which can be requested by any student group by contacting theplateclub@gmail.com.

Insurance and Liability

Before planning any major events, club should keep in mind issues of risk and liability and ensure that they have the proper insurance coverage for their event.

All clubs are entitled to free insurance coverage for their events through the SSMU, but in order to provide this coverage clubs are required to provide SSMU with up-to-date information about all of their activities and events.

In order to obtain insurance for these club events, clubs will need to fill out the Insurance Section of the Student Group Resource Request Form with detailed descriptions of each of their events.  SSMU needs updated information about the club’s weekly, monthly, and yearly activities in order to provide insurance coverage, and all club events in any given year should be noted on this form. Full disclosure is always preferable, so be sure to list all activities your club participates in, although executive meetings inside the SSMU building do not need to be listed.

If your club event involves alcohol or travel outside of the city of Montreal be sure to note that on the form for each event to which it applies to ensure you have the correct insurance coverage for the particular event.  Activities that involve athletics or recreation may require additional insurance coverage, so after indicating that your event involves athletics on the Insurance Form it may be best to contact the VP Clubs and Services for details on how to obtain the correct insurance for these activities.

For additional questions about how to obtain insurance for your club events, contact the VP Clubs and Services at cs@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

Environmental Sustainability

The SSMU is committed to sustainability and encourages all SSMU clubs to work towards ensuring that their events are sustainable.

The full SSMU Sustainability Policy is available online and contains details on SSMU’s understanding of economic, social and environmental sustainability and the practices that will help to achieve that vision of sustainability.

SSMU clubs are also bound by SSMU’s environmental and sustainability policy as well, and many clubs have the following clauses outlined in their club constitution:

The club shall make attempts to regularly monitor the environmental impact of all its events and operations. Clubs must attempt to utilize the services and resources available at SSMU in order to maximize capacities for equitable decision-making and environmental stewardship. These include but are but are not limited the use of the plate club, green events guide, applications for the SSMU Green fund, assistance of the SSMU environment commissioners, environment committee and green events coordinators. The club must attempt to find sustainable alternatives to the non-recyclable #6 plastic, effective waste management, providing vegan and vegetarian options, purchasing clothing which is ethically sourced and environmentally-friendly, purchasing local and sustainable alcohol, fair trade coffee and tea, and local and/or organic foods.”

In environmentally friendly event planning, clubs should consider things like providing vegetarian and vegan food options, buying in bulk to reduce packaging waster, using recyclable materials and avoiding #6 plastic, and the availability of clearly marked recycling and compost bins at events.

There are a number of resources made available to clubs to help them plan events that are carried out in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable fashion:

  • Whether clubs are actively planning an event or not, it is useful to consult the Green Events Guide for information about how groups can reduce waste, ensure their food and beverage purchases are sustainable, and educate their executives and events staff on environmental sustainability.
  • For clubs planning major events, the Green Events Checklist is available online to guide clubs through the event planning process.  The Checklist also provides resources for local, fair trade and sustainable sources for purchases like wine, coffee and tea, and food.
  • For events where food is being served, clubs should also take advantage of the resources offered by the Plate Club, who will lend out plates, glasses, cutlery and other reusable dishware free of charge to avoid purchasing disposable or styrofoam options.

The SSMU Sustainable Events Coordinator is also available to work with groups to ensure that club events are sustainable.  The Green Events Coordinator can be reached at greenevents@ssmu.mcgill.ca.

Clubs that are working to make their events for sustainable can also apply to the Green Fund for funding each semester.  The Green Fund can be used to pay for the additional costs that clubs might incur purchasing more environmentally friendly options.

Frequently Asked Questions

 How does a club lose their SSMU affiliation status?

Clubs lose their SSMU status after two years of inactivity.  In order to be considered active in any given year, clubs must complete the Student Group Information Form, submit a Fall and Winter audit, and send one representative of their executive team to a Club Workshop, held at the beginning of September and January.  Failure to complete any of these three tasks will lead to a club being considered inactive for the year, and being inactive for two consecutive years will cause a club to lose their SSMU status.  This means that failing to attend a Club Workshop two years in a row can lead to the loss of Club Status.

What happens if a club loses their SSMU affiliation status?

If a club loses their SSMU affiliation status, they cease to be a SSMU club and lose all privileges associated with being a SSMU club.  This means that the club will no longer be included in the SSMU Club Listings, will no longer be able to access the the SSMU Club Fund, and will not be able to book rooms in the SSMU building or table at Activities Night for free, among other things.

How can I ensure the longevity of my club?

In order to ensure your club is successful in the long terms, clubs should make an effort to fundraise and spend money responsibly and ensure that institutional memory remains intact with executive turnover each year.  Most importantly, clubs should keep records of their events, meeting minutes, and communications with SSMU for future executives and pass on all records from year to year.  Club executives should also make an effort to write exit reports at the end of each year to be added to club records.  In addition to each club’s own records, SSMU keeps records on each of the 250+ clubs which can be requested by new executives who would like more information about the club.  You can also submit exit reports, event information, or anything else to the Club Administrative Officer to be added to your club’s records to ensure all of that information is available to future executives.

When do applications for lockers open each semester?

As soon as the applications for club office space or locker storage are available, the forms will be disseminated through the VP Clubs and Services Listserv.

How do I get ahold of my club constitution?

SSMU keeps a digital and physical copy of the constitution of each club with SSMU status in our club records, which can be requested by any member of the SSMU at any time.  To request a copy of the constitution of any club, contact the Club Administrative Officer at clubadmin@ssmu.mcgill.ca with the request.