Student Organization Travel Policy

This policy is effective for all UM-Dearborn student organizations (including currently registered student organizations [RSOs] and university sponsored organizations [USOs]). This policy has been developed to provide a guide and clear instructions for students and organization advisors involved in university travel.

This applies to the travel of currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student members of USOs and RSOs where the organization or other University funds are used to coordinate or funds its’ members (partial or full) attendance to an event, conference or competition. This includes reimbursable and non-reimbursable travel.

Travel must be consistent with the organization’s mission statement and constitution on file with the Office of Student Life. Travel must be planned so as not to create an undue interference with academic responsibilities. Student Organization Travel does not constitute an “excused absence” from class; each traveler is responsible for notifying their faculty members and arranging to make up any work that is missed. This policy is in effect year-round, including breaks and summers. It is encouraged that you consider early registration or fund saving opportunities in the planning of your organization’s travel (i.e. early-bird registration).

General Travel Requirements:

  1. Our primary regulation is that all student organization travel must be pre-approved. To obtain approval organizations much obtain prior authorization from their organization’s advisor and from the Director of Student Life. Please note that authorization from the Director of Student Life is required four (4) weeks prior to the conference.

  2. To obtain authorization from the Director of Student Life, you must submit a completed Student Organization Travel Authorization Request. The organization’s president and advisor are responsible for maintaining and submitting the following in the Student Organization Travel Authorization Request:

    1. Student Travel Agreement

    2. Itinerary

    3. Travel Budget (including sources of funding)

  3. Upon completion of the Student Organization Travel Authorization Request the organization president will be contacted by the Office of Student Life to schedule a meeting.

  4. This policy also serves as a mechanism to make certain that the safety and interest of our students are assured.

  5. All trip participants must comply with laws, regulations and University policies through the duration of the trip (including but not limited to Student Code of Conduct, the expectations outlined in the Student Travel Agreement, etc.).

  6. Failure to comply with this policy may result in individual or organizational discipline.

Vehicle Requirements

  1. Fleet Services Vehicles
    1. USOs and RSOs are allowed to request University vehicles through Fleet Services. You will be assisted in the reservation of Fleet Services vehicles upon receiving travel approval.
  2. Third Party Vehicles
    1. Third party vehicle rentals are only permitted for the rental of charter buses through University approved strategic vendors. You will be assisted in the reservation of a charter bus upon receiving travel approval.
    2. Third party rentals through Enterprise, Hertz, or other like companies, are not permitted for use by student organization travel.
  3. Privately Owned Vehicles
    1. When requesting travel that involves the use of personally-owned vehicles the student or advisor accepts responsibility for maintaining their own liability insurance coverage for any vehicle to be used for the proposed travel. Personal vehicles should only be used on a voluntary basis. All participants choosing to ride in a private automobile do so voluntarily and at their own risk. It is the driver’s insurance that may be used to pay for damages to the vehicle(s) involved in an accident and/or injuries to a passenger or occupant of another vehicle. This is a potentially large responsibility; if a student or advisor is not comfortable with this responsibility, other transportation arrangements should be made.
  4. Safety Requirements
    1. Safety Belts – All occupants of motor vehicles shall properly use seat belts or other approved safety restraint devices required by law or regulation when the vehicle is in operation.

    2. Capacity – The total number of passengers in any vehicle at any time it is in operation shall not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended capacity, or the number specified by University policy, or federal or state laws or regulations, or the number of working seat belts, whichever is lowest.

Advisor Supervision

  1. Intent to travel must be communicated to the advisor prior to completion of the Student Organization Travel Authorization Request and receive copies of the information provided in that request.

  2. Advisors are responsible for traveling with the organization unless:

    1. Travel is directed to the following contiguous states:

      1. Michigan (MI)

      2. Wisconsin (WI)

      3. Illinois (IL)

      4. Indiana (IN)

      5. Ohio (OH)

      6. Pennsylvania (PA)

    2. By appointing a staff/faculty proxy to travel with the organization’s advisor place

      1. Proxy must be identified in the Student Organization Travel Authorization Request

      2. Proxy must be a full time staff or faculty member

  3. Methods for notifying advisors of emergency situations must be planned by departure; emergency situations include serious illness or injury, inclement weather, automobiles accidents, etc.

Trip Leader

  1. One student who is traveling with the group should be designated the “trip leader.” The trip leader is the main university contact and is responsible for ensuring that the group follows all established policies and procedures. The trip leader should work closely with the organization’s advisor in the planning process.

  2. Student Trip Leaders act solely on behalf of their club/organizations; they do not act as agents or otherwise on behalf of, nor do they have the power or ability to bind or create liability for, the college.

  3. If the organization has been approved to travel without an advisor, the Student Trip Leader will be responsible for:

    1. Handling and communicating emergency situations, logistical issues, and other related challenges with designated Office of Student Life representative

    2. Ensuring adherence to University policies, procedures, federal and state laws and regulations, etc.


  1. Development of Travel Budget

    1. Lodging Expenses

    2. Subsistence – based upon University approved per diem policy

    3. Transportation cost – may include air fare and ground transportation

    4. Admission/Registration fees as applicable

    5. Other

  2. Pre-Payment

    1. Transportation cost – cost for air fare is able to be secured by the advisor or through the

      assistance of the Office of Student Life staff. Fleet service vehicles cannot be pre- purchased, but can be reserved through the assistance of the Office of Student Life staff or organization advisor.

    2. Admission/Registration fee – is able to be secured by the advisor or through the assistance of the Office of Student Life Staff.

  3. Sources of Funding

    1. Academic Departments/Schools

    2. Student Organization Advisory Council (SOAC)

    3. Student Organization’s Project/Grant Account (P/G Account)

    4. Any University Accounts

Procedures for Request

  1. Organization President notifies Advisor of organizations intent to travel for conference

  2. Organization President and Advisor complete the Student Organization Travel Authorization Request

  3. Office of Student Life (OSL) confirms advisor knowledge and support of travel, and intent to travel with organization (if applicable).

  4. OSL to arrange meeting with Delegation Leader (if President will not be traveling).

  5. OSL provides approval decision in writing with directions for next steps specific to the travel request.

For more information regarding this policy and the processes described within, please contact the Office of Student Life at [email protected] or 313-593-5390.

Policy owned by: Office of Student Life