Managing Your Student Organization



Date Auctions

Risk Management and Insurance


University Vehicle Rental

International Travel


A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. As such, student organizations should be aware of the gravity of a contract, should act with care, and should always get a contract in writing.

No student may sign a contract on behalf of the University of Michigan.

  • SSOs should ask their sponsoring unit to sign a contract (the unit should follow its standard process for contract vetting and authorization).
  • VSOs must sign contracts on their own behalf and cannot legally bind the University.

Student organization leaders and advisors who sign contracts for student organizations make themselves personally liable for the contractual obligations.  The University will not, and can not, pursue any recourse against an outside party if the contract is not signed by an official representative of the University.

Performance Contracting

According to the University of Michigan Standard Practice Guide (SPG), Student Life has authorization to sign entertainment contracts for Student Life Departments and their Sponsored Student Organizations. The Center for Campus Involvement is responsible for determining if the contract falls under Student Life's signatory authority, advising the contracting unit on the terms of the agreement, and processing these agreements. Units within Student Life and Student Life Sponsored Student Organizations should use the Student Life Performance Entertainment Agreement when entering into contractual agreements for performances.     

To enter into a performance agreement, Student Life requires that a student organization be able to financially cover the cost of the contract without relying on ticket sales. If a student organization is unable to do so it is recommended that the student organization enter into a co-sponsorship agreement with one or more student organizations to increase their financial resources and audience base.

Although Student Life does not sign performance contracts for Voluntary Student Organizations, the Center for Campus Involvement can provide contracting advice and advisement to Voluntary Student Organizations wishing to enter into a contractual agreement.

For more information about performance contracting, or to obtain the current contract template, please contact the Center for Campus Involvement. 

Date Auctions

At U-M, equality, openness, and sensitivity are strongly held values. CCI encourages student organizations to consider these values when planning events and activities. Sometimes organizations hold “Date” auction events as a way to raise money. CCI understands that groups who hold these events, or have held them in the past usually do so with good intentions. We would like to challenge student organizations to think more deeply about these events, the potential unintended effects of these events, and to consider holding alternative events that could accomplish the same objectives.

“Date” auctions involve the process of “bidding” on a human being for the services or the ability to spend time with a certain person. This process devalues a human being to the level of merchandise and involves a comparison of the relative “value” of each person being auctioned. 

Furthermore, we would like organizations to consider the safety concerns that arise as a result of “Date” auctions. When a person “wins” the ability to spend time with another person, there is no way to telling what their true motives are. Given the prevalence of sexual assault in our culture, safety concerns exist if you allow a member of your organization to be compelled to spend time alone with someone that she/he may not know.

For all of these reasons, and because of the many imaginative and feasible alternatives to these activities, Center for Campus Involvement feels that date auctions should be avoided by student organizations at U-M. Remember, Center for Campus Involvement staff is always available to help organizations brainstorm alternative fund raising events.

-Adapted from UT-Austin Student Organization Manual

Risk Management & Insurance

There are many resources on campus that can help you assess the risk and determine appropriate responses. The University has dedicated personnel with expertise in risk management in the Risk Management Department and the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel. Access to these resouces may vary based on an organization's status as either an SSO or VSO.

 Go To- Risk Assessment Table and Information

Insurance by Classification

Sponsored Student Organizations

SSOs are covered under the University’s self-insurance, as the sponsoring department would be, for all sanctioned events that are consistent with both the University’s and the organization’s missions. SSOs should work with their sponsoring unit to contact the Risk Management Department to obtain a certificate of insurance, if one is needed.

Voluntary Student Organizations

VSOs are not covered under the University’s self-insurance.

  • VSOs that have an active Event Sponsorship Agreement with a University Unit, should be aware that only the event is insured under the University’s insurance coverage.
  • For any events that are not sponsored and that require insurance, VSOs must secure their own policies, or verify that the vendor/venue is carrying a policy that applies to the specific event.
  • For any events that a VSO undertakes in collaboration with a SSO, if the need for insurance arises, the SSO and the event will be covered under the University’s insurance. The VSO, if necessary, should obtain coverage from an outside vendor and should explicitly list the SSO and the University of Michigan as separately insured.
  • VSOs are required to have insurance coverage for any event held in a U-M major venue. VSOs should contact CCI or Risk Management for more information.

Buying Insurance

VSOs that seek to purchase an insurance policy from an outside vendor should use the following guidelines as a place to start.

What to Buy

Organizations should first determine the potential exposure to risk and level of risk they are willing to assume. In general, organizations will want to focus primarily on risks associated with property damage and general liability.  

Property Damage coverage protects the organization’s physical properties in the event of sudden and accidental damage due to a variety of conditions such as weather, explosions, theft or other unforeseen events. If the organization has little property at risk, foregoing coverage may be appropriate.

General Liability coverage extends to protect the organization and its members from claims for damages and/or injuries resulting from negligence. Purchasers should ensure that policies extend coverage to provide protection of an organization’s representatives.

For Voluntary events utilizing university space, insurance is required. Insurance can be independently purchased or coverage my be available through the Tenants and Users Liability Insurance Policy (TULIP)

How to Buy

Insurance coverage may be purchased in separate policies, each of which addresses special needs and risks. For example, an organization might choose to buy property coverage from one company and general liability coverage from another, either because it is more economical or because the policies better fit the organization’s needs. In some cases, organizations also have the option of purchasing special package policies that combine different sorts of commercial coverage.  

Who should I contact?

Inquiries may be made directly to insurance companies.  It may be helpful to contact a local insurance agent or broker, however, as they are often able to assist in analyzing risk and provide advice, direction and suggestions for appropriate and cost effective coverage.

Is there a form?

Insurance companies typically utilize their own forms for application for coverage and issue certificates of insurance on an insurance industry standardized form.

What information do insurance companies need?

Required information will vary by the type of coverage and events for which coverage is solicited. Typically, companies will require information with respect to the nature, location and size of events, safety and loss prevention measures being implemented, and the number of participants.


Chartering UM Busses 

Open - Charter Bus Request Form (PDF)

University departments and authorized student organizations may charter University buses with drivers. Please note the following:

  • Transit Services grants charter requests on a first-come, first-served basis as the availability of University buses allows.
  • Wheelchair-accessible buses are available upon request.
  • Charters are limited to a 100-mile radius of Ann Arbor.
  • University buses and drivers are not available to remain with charter groups for overnight trips.
  • Charters may be arranged up to one year in advance.
  • Chartering groups are required to have at least one contact person who either will be present or will be contactable by telephone during the operation of the charter.


University Vehicle Rental

University vehicles are available to student organizations. Review the Fleet Services Policies and Procedures. Student organizations are able to reserve vehicles directly if the following criteria are met:

  • The vehicle is being used to transport group members on official organization business (as outlined in the group’s mission).
  • All participants traveling are current U-M students, faculty or staff.
  • There are sufficient funds in the organization’s SOAS account to cover the estimated vehicle rental and fuel charges.
  • The use is in compliance with all University policies and procedures especially those pertaining to renting University vehicles including the prohibition of smoking and alcoholic beverages in the vehicles.
  • All designated drivers must have a valid driver’s license. (Valid operator’s licenses are those issued from any of the United States, Canada, and international licenses with the endorsement for driving in the U.S.).
  • Only the designated, approved drivers may drive the vehicle.

Planning and how to Reserve a Vehicle

It is highly recommended that you reserve vehicles at least ten days in advance. Please note, reservations must be submitted at least 48 hours before the date of travel. CCI and SOAS does not process requests on weekends or when the University is closed.  The shorter the reservation time frame, the more likely it is that larger vehicles (i.e. vans) will not be available.

The process for Student Organizations to reserve University vehicles is online. Organizations wishing to reserve University vehicles should complete the Online Vehicle Reservation Form.  Authorized Signers for organizations are able to login to the webform and submit the request online.  All reservations need the following information to be processed:

  • Event Information
    • Name of event
    • Destination
    • Number of people attending
    • Description of event or activity
    • Purpose for attending
  • Event Date
  • Departure and Return Date
  • Type and Number of Vehicles Needed
  • Unique Names of Drivers
  • Trip Leader Contact Information

Depending on your organization status, you need some specific information to complete the reservation process.  Continue reading below for the requirements for Voluntary Student Organizations and Sponsored Student Organizations respectively.

Voluntary Student Organizations need:

  • Attendee Excel List Including
    • First and last name of all UM Student Attendees traveling in the vehicles
    • Cell phone or contact number for all individuals traveling
    • Emergency contact name
    • Emergency contact phone number
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Overnight lodging information (if applicable)

For VSOs, your submission is reviewed by CCI and SOAS to ensure we have the necessary information and there are enough funds in your account.  Once approved by SOAS, the reservation will be sent to Logistics, Parking, and Transportation Services.

Sponsored Student Organizations need:

  • Unique Name for Advisor on Record
    • Your Advisor on record can be found in the "About" section of your organization's Maize Page

For SSOs, your Advisor receives an email to approve the request.  SSOs are expected to comply with any Department or Unit requirements for travel.  Following your Advisor's approval, CCI and SOAS reviews your submission to ensure we have the necessary information and there are enough funds in your account.  Once approved by SOAS, the reservation is sent to Logistics, Parking, and Transportation Services.

Please note, reservations must be submitted at least 48 hours before the date of travel.  CCI does not process requests on weekends or when the University is closed. 


Logistics, Transportation and Parking Services will bill all charges to the organization’s SOAS account.  This includes rental charges, fuel charges, security deposits, damages, parking citations, etc.

For more information on rental rates please visit the Daily Rates structure.

International Travel:

For more information on the International Travel Policy, please visit the Policies page of the Guidebook for Student Organizations.