Practicalities for the USI community

Student associations: foundation, rights, duties

This is a summarised version, in case of a dispute, the detailed version in Italian applies


The meaning of “student association”

A student is an organization that is operated by students currently enrolled at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), with non-profit purposes, to promote common interests, with a membership that mainly consists of students but may include other members of the academic community such as alumni, faculty, and staff as well as students enrolled in a Swiss institute or academic institutions linked to USI.


Relationship between student associations and the university

USI encourages cultural, social, recreational and sports-related initiatives proposed by students. To this end, it supports the establishment of non-profit student associations, giving credit to their activities and their role, and also providing them with space and resources. USI is aware of the vital contribution that student associations provide to education and academic life: however, from a formal point of view, an officially acknowledged student association, should not be considered an emanation of USI and its academic activities.


Foundation of a student association

In the following section, it is described how to start a new student association and how to get USI’s formal acknowledgment, and relevant rights and duties.

For any further information, please contact [email protected].


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  • Steps to becoming a student association acknowledged by USI

    Steps to becoming a student association acknowledged by USI

    1. Formulate the association’s purpose and mission.
    2. Check whether an association with similar purposes already exists (List of acknowledged student associations). If yes, consider first cooperating.
    3. Will your association last through time? Will it attract new members every year, and guarantee a future for its activities?
    4. How will the activities of the association fit in with those of USI? Is it possible to develop programmes and events aimed at promoting USI’s identity?
    5. Set the Executive Board of at least 3 persons: a President, a vice president and a treasurer. The president should be a USI student (Bachelor, Master or PhD), while the vice president and treasurer may also be other members of the academic community such as alumni, faculty, and staff as well as students enrolled in a Swiss institute or academic institutions linked to USI.
    6. Make sure there is a minimum of other 10 people interested in being members. At least 7 members should be USI students (Bachelor, Master or PhD), the others can be part of the academic community such as alumni, faculty, and staff as well as students enrolled in a Swiss institute or academic institutions linked to USI. Members’ names and e-mail addresses should be listed in the form Modulo per la DOMANDA dello status di associazione studentesca riconosciuta available in the attachments.
    7. Draw up the statute of the new association, according to the template Modello di statuto per associazioni studentesche available in the attachments, or use as a template the other student associations’ statutes.
    8. Submit the signed letter of commitment confirming the non-profit purpose Impegnativa circa l'assenza di finalità di lucro (available as an attachment)
    9. Read carefully the sections benefits and duties and obligations
    10. Submit the form and attachments duly completed and signed.


    What’s next?


    • After checking the requirements, the student associations coordinators report to the USI’s Pro-Rector for Education and Students’ life;
    • Pro-Rector for Education and Students’ life decides whether to assign the acknowledgement.


    How long does the acknowledgement last?

    • Decisions taken during the fall term (September-January): until December 31 or the following year.
    • Decisions taken during the Spring Term (February-August): until December 31 of the year.

    The acknowledgement has to be renewed each year.


    Useful links:

    Official documents and legal texts USI
    Art. 60 -79 of the Swiss Civil Code

  • Benefits

    In case of divergences in the translations, the Italian version prevails.


    With the status “acknowledged student association”, the association is listed on the website List of acknowledged student associations and gives them the right to the following benefit.

    The student associations have read and accepted the contents of the duties and obligations and the right of USI to verify compliance with the obligations defined.


    Access to the student associations room (room 129 main building)

    Students are required to leave the classrooms clean and tidy at all times, as it is meant for activities related to the association only. In case of misbehaviour, the University reserves the right to discontinue its use.

    To book the room, please use the outlook Calendar Aula 129. Please indicate the association, name and phone number of the person in charge.


    Submit a project and a request for financial support to the Student Council

    Submit a proposal of a student association to the Corporation


    Classrooms/venues reservation

    Student associations can request the possibility of organising events of interest to students or the public in the USI spaces, subject to prior authorisation from the University (please refer to the document: Prenotare o affittare spazi sui campus come associazione studentesca riconosciuta, which is available at the moment only in Italian, please contact [email protected] if you have any questions on that). 


    Free reservation of classrooms

    All reservations on the Lugano campus can be made by writing to [email protected], stating the size of the room needed, the date, the time, and the purpose of the reservation. All reservations shall be sent by the USI association email address at least 7 days in advance. Students are asked to be flexible in case of a lack of available spaces and the limited availability of classrooms, particularly from 8 am to 5.30p m. Students are not allowed to occupy the rooms without confirmation.

    Classroom booking requests on the West Campus Lugano (main building, red building and black building) must be sent directly from the association’s email to [email protected] (in copy [email protected] ), indicating capacity, date, time and purpose. The booking shall be submitted at least 7 days in advance (the availability of classrooms during lesson hours, especially between 8 am and 5.30 am, is extremely limited).


    Auditorium and Aula magna

    Auditorium and Aula magna are not granted free of charge to student associations. Associations must follow the standard application procedure.

    For information: For student associations, the administration may provide facilitated conditions (exceptions are possible with prior notice, contact [email protected]).

    External venues (this list is not exhaustive), and useful links:

    Random: a project of the City of Lugano
    Random aims at making the Studio FOCE available on weekends, free of charge, to young people wishing to organize events. For years, the FOCE has been an appreciated artistic and cultural centre in Lugano, completely dedicated to the theatrical arts, music and culture.
    Studio Foce:

    Città di Lugano, venues, terms and pricing are to be defined with:



    To place a stand on the Lugano campus, it is necessary to previously book the desired space (atrium of the main building, outdoor space under the canteen).

    To book, please write to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]), stating the date, time and purpose. Reservations must be made at least 7 days in advance.

    Booking confirmation shall be forwarded to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]), asking for the needed material (stand, chairs). The Logistics Service will organise the material on the agreed date, time and place.

    We remind you that the associations are not authorised to occupy spaces without relative confirmation from [email protected] and are not allowed to use materials (desks, chairs) other than those provided by the Logistics service.



    Booking is also required for roll-ups around the campuses (atrium of the main building, atrium of the red building).

    The associations must independently provide for both the printing and the roll-up display, which must, therefore, already be equipped with relative support.

    For booking, please write to [email protected] (copying [email protected]), and mention the roll-up’s purpose, content, and period you plan to exhibit it (from… to…). Reservations must be made at least 7 days in advance.

    Once you have received the confirmation of your space reservation, you can proceed.


    Concession and right to benefit of an email

    Once the recognition has been obtained, an address name for the association will be agreed upon with the President of the association, following the directives of the University. Successively, the mailbox will be created, and the IT service administrators of the computer system will provide the login credentials. The mailbox will be accessible via webmail ( with the right to send emails to students (but not at the collective addresses Bachelor students, Master students, PhD students, please see the section "USI Newsletter activation"). The possibility of sending emails to other groups of the USI community can be granted exceptionally only by Pro-Rector for Education and Students’ experience.

    Student associations are required to make appropriate use of the mailbox (in particular in concern with the frequency and content of messages).

    Student associations are required to use the mailbox appropriately (particularly concerning the frequency and content of messages).


    USI Newsletter activation

    A USI Newsletter is activated to communicate with your target audience at the collective addresses available in Outlook (Bachelor students, Master students, PhD students).

    The use of other collective addresses is not allowed. Student associations are required to make appropriate use of the newsletter, particularly concerning the frequency and content of messages.

    Request new newsletter: Request new newsletter account | USI Desk.
    IMPORTANT: Field "tipo di entità" select "Student association".


    Website - domain

    Student associations wishing to host a website on a domain are invited to report it to [email protected], indicating:

    • An “administrative manager” of the website (name, surname, email) chosen from among the members of the association's
    • A “technical manager” / webmaster of the website (name, surname, email);
    • Specify if a database is required

    The Institutional Communication Service will then contact the association to agree on a URL address compliant with the University directives. Once the domain has been created, the IT services will provide the credentials to access it. The space made available is a UNIX space. We remind you that USI only makes the domain available. The website must be created independently by the association. The website must host a disclaimer that identifies it as a student association website, which is not the responsibility of USI. A model disclaimer is shown in the Duties and obligations section.



    For Student associations, a voucher of 100 CHF is available at the CopyCenter to be used for prints - flyers, posters, etc. - to promote their activities. Printing projects must be produced independently. (1 voucher per academic year 1 September - 31 August).

    The print request must be sent at least 7 days in advance by writing an email to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]).

    The materials must be sent in PDF version, specifying the desired quantities. The main print formats available for flyers and posters are A3, A4, A5 and roll-up (84.1cm x 200cm). Business cards must be 5.5cm x 8.5cm, laid out on an A4. We remind you that it is not allowed to use the USI logo on printed material and business cards of student associations (see also section Duties and obligations).


    Events promotion

    It is possible to request the publication of student association events on the USI website and in the USIFlash newsletter (internal communication). The Institutional Communication Service will select the most relevant events for the community.

    Write to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]).



    It is possible to ask for brief advice from the Institutional Communication Service concerning any press releases (however, the contents must be created independently) on the use of social media for the promotion of activities and on visual identity planning/design.

    Write to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]).



    It is possible to ask the Study Advisory Service for USI merchandising for particular events. The Service will evaluate the request, depending on the activity’s nature and the merchandising’s availability.

    Write to [email protected] (in copy [email protected]).


    Useful links

  • Duties and obligations

    Acknowledged Student Associations: duties and obligations (this is a summarised version, in case of a dispute, the detailed version in Italian applies)


    General Duties

    The Student Associations acknowledged by USI shall carry out cultural, educational, and recreational activities and, for non-profit purposes, support education and represent the students. They do not replace nor clash with USI’s institutional activities.

    The associations take full responsibility for their actions and for the activities they organise.

    The associations are invited to actively participate in the initiatives promoted by USI and the Student Association management in the interest of the associations.



    Associations are required to submit income and expenses. USI reserves the right to conduct audits to ensure compliance with institutional non-profit purposes.

    Associations may enter into agreements of sponsorship and/or collaboration of a commercial nature with third parties, provided that such agreements are non-profit and, more generally, are intended solely to foster activities in the interest of the members and the student community. Any income must be accounted for.



    Associations are not allowed to promote their activities, suggesting that they are organised directly by USI and use the USI logo.

    A USI Newsletter is activated to reach the USI students community at group addresses (Bachelor students, Master’s students, PhD students).

    The use of other groups is not allowed. Student associations are required to use the USI newsletter appropriately, particularly regarding the number and content of messages.

    For e-mail messages with @usi mailbox, or in any case, addressed to @ recipients, the associations are required to:

    • use only the addresses available in Outlook. The use of group addresses is not allowed.
    • always enter the addresses in the field (Bcc / Bcc) to prevent them from being used by third parties.
    • always copy the Pro-Rector for Education and Student’s Experience ([email protected]) and the Student Associations Management ([email protected]) in their communications.
    • we recommend not to exceed 1-2 MB;
    • always state clearly that the sender is an association, e.g.: “[name of the association] is a student association that aims to ...”;

    Use of the associations are required to comply with USI guidelines on the use of IT and infrastructures and General regulations on processing and protection of personal data. USI can carry out checks on the appropriate use of the mailbox.

    Use of social media, indicate in the description and/or information (“about”, “bio”, “disclaimer”...) that the profile, group or page is not officially linked to Università della Svizzera italiana (USI); therefore, USI is responsible for its contents, e.g.: “[name of the association] is a student association that aims to .... Student associations are autonomous entities and do not represent USI “.


    In general, associations are required to use appropriate content. In particular, the following are not permitted:

    • content that is defamatory, libellous, offensive, sexist, racist, discriminatory, inciting violence, harassing or damaging to people’s dignity, integrity or reputation;
    • personal attacks and threats;
    • pornographic or obscene content;
    • content in a foul language or a language other than Italian, English, French, German or Romansh;
    • advertising, propaganda or commercial content;
    • misleading content, spam;
    • files that contain viruses, Trojans, worms, time bombs, cancelbots, etc., corrupted files or any other similar software or programs that may damage the operation of your computer or the property of other users;
    • content that violates intellectual property, privacy, the rights of third parties, or the law.


    Associations are required to ensure the accuracy of the information related to USI (ex: names of institutes, titles and affiliations of professors and lecturers, ...).

    Associations must state their purposes, the fields of interest, the language of their activities (it is recommended if possible to include both Italian and English) and the name of their legal representatives.

    Associations manage and are fully responsible for websites and social media content. For content on the domain, refer to the USI mailbox or address to @ recipients guidelines.


    Use of USI infrastructure

    Student associations are required to return spaces and equipment clean and tidy. The legal representatives of the association are responsible for any damage or problems. In carrying out all their activities, they must comply with USI guidelines, particularly concerning safety and public nuisance. 

    Associations may use spaces and equipment only with the USI confirmation.


    USI rights of scrutiny

    The associations accept the right of USI to verify compliance with the obligations defined in these pages and to suspend or remove the status of “recognised association” and/or the related benefits, in whole or in part.

    USI reserves the right to withdraw its support to an association if the following occurs:

    • failure to respect the association’s institutional goals
    • harmful acts and behaviour directly attributable to the association that may lead to severe damage to USI’s image and interest, to the academic community or the image, interests and dignity of a third party in general
    • failure to comply with other obligations included in these guidelines.


    Renewal of the acknowledgement

    The acknowledgement has to be renewed each year. Therefore, the associations must complete the form for renewal, which is available only in Italian (see attachments).

    The form must include

    • an updated list of the board members:

    At least one of the members of the association’s board must be a USI student; the other two may be USI alumni, collaborators or students enrolled in a Swiss institute or academic institutions linked to USI. PhD students are also included.

    • an updated list of members:

    The associations must count at least 7 other students regularly enrolled at USI. More generally, most of the members must be students enrolled at USI. Students include here PhD students.

    • a report of the activities carried out during the previous year.
    • a programme of activities planned for the following year.

    Along with the renewal form, associations must also submit:

    • a signed letter of commitment confirming non-profit purpose (see attachments).

    Documents must be submitted between 1 November and 15 December each year. The Pro-Rector for Education and Students’ Experience will rule on the renewal.




Updated on: 26 October 2022