A Major Student Organization (MSO) is a student organization which operates in a governance or representative capacity or provides a significant service to the student body of RIT.
There are two types of major student organizations: Representative Student Organizations (RSOs) and Student Service Organizations (SSOs).
Representative student organizations generally do not have members, but are responsible to the portions of the student body they are authorized by policy to represent. For example, the AALANA Collegiate Association's constituency is every AALANA student at RIT, regardless of whether he or she has been involved in the organization before. Similarly, NTID Student Congress is responsible to every NTID and cross-registered student and OUTspoken is responsible to every GLBT student.
Student service organizations do not have members, but generally consist of groups of students (referred to as staff) who work (generally for compensation) in the production of the organization's service. For example, Reporter's staff works collaboratively to produce the magazine and WITR's staff directs students to produce a radio service.
All major student organizations have a representative that sits as a member of the Student Government Senate, but the Student Service Organization's representatives are not permitted to vote on business.
Student Government is vested with the power to recognize all student organizations by the Board of Trustees. While Student Government delegates the recognition process of new clubs to the Club Review Board, the creation of a major student organization requires a vote of the Senate.
While some major student organizations are the result of continued development of an previously-existing club, many (such as OUTSpoken) are not. Generally speaking, a student organization should have sufficiently broad scope and purpose and should be well into discussions with Student Government and the Center for Campus Life (and have the support of both) before petitioning for MSO status.
Currently, there are 12 major student organizations.