Your first steps as an EPFL association

"Looking back, we were the luckiest people in the world. There was no choice but to be pioneers; no time to be beginners." Margaret H. Hamilton, computer scientist

Whether your association is already existing or that you wish to start a new recognition by the EPFL is subject to conditions.

In order to foster association activities for students on campus and to optimize relations between the EPFL and student associations, EPFL may deliver a label “recognized by the EPFL” to some associations.

Recognition of an association is intended to set the terms under which the latter may be awarded certain benefits, such as financial or logistic support from EPFL.

Associations fulfilling the following cumulative criteria might be recognized by the EPFL :

  • Association established according to art 60 and ff. of the Swiss Civil Code,
  • active on the EPFL campus and primarily aimed at EPFL students,
  • managed by an Executive Committee, at least half of whose members are EPFL or Unil students,
  • whose President of the Executive Committee is registered with EPFL or Unil,
  • which ensures wide representativeness and involvement of the students in General Assembly votes, in particular when electing Executive Committee members,
  • whose missions are to liven up the campus, facilitate student integration or provide them with cultural activities,
  • devoid of political or religious objectives and refraining from any proselytism in this respect, and independent from any political party or religious organisation,
  • observing the EPFL Ethics Charter,
  • observe the Directive concerning the recognition of student associations by EPFL
  • have headquarters on the EPFL campus or nearby.

Please email [email protected] attaching:

  • A draft of your future Articles of association in French. You may follow our advices as well as our model of articles (in french)
  • A description of your future association’s goals and objectives
  • An approximate budget for the various activities foreseen
  • An explanation of why your association could benefit from EPFL acknowledgement and the advantages for the EPFL

We would be happy to help you put your application file together.  Please make an appointment  by emailing [email protected]

So that we may contact you at all times, recognized associations are kindly requested to apply for the following email addresses:

  • [email protected] (the e-mails of all Committee Members may be embedded in this generic address)
  • [email protected] (the e-mails of the Association President and Vice Presidents if applicable may be embedded in this generic address)

Once these have been defined, please contact us at [email protected] with the addresses you require and the names of the members who need access to them, so that we can create them.
These addresses can either be “aliases”, redirected to the relevant people on the committee, or a service address with an associated exchange account (so you can reply from the mailbox).

Important : Please remember to ask for the actualization of the redirections each time the Committee changes

NB: Students who are exmatriculated during their mandate must make sure they transfer all their contacts or usefull files for their associative activities before the access to their epfl mailbox first [email protected] is disabled.

If you wish to host your website for your associations you may use our CMS WordPress.

  • Please apply under: new WordPress site at EPFL
  • Associations are kindly requested to adopt a site name of the type “”

Please remember that as soon as your website goes live, it should always be kept up-to-date and visibly feature the following: 

  • Articles of Association
  • List of Committee Members – Important: After the application of recognition as an EPFL Association, please remember to upload both of these documents on your website.

Even when recognised by the EPFL, associations may not have an “internal” mailing address as they are legally independent of our institution.

You can either apply for a P.O. box in your association’s name by bringing the following documents to the Post office: Articles of Association, List of Committee Members and persons with signature rights. For joint signature rights, at least one of the two persons entitled to sign should submit the application.
Please update details at the Post office whenever your association’s Committee changes.

Moreover, the Post office offers an alternative service which seems useful and affordable:

Or, you could choose a private  postal address “at” (for example your president’s postal address if appropriate).

Registration in the EPFL Directory
Please send us your postal address and the link to your website.

The student associations recognized by EPFL maintain administrative and financial management with care, in particular by respecting the following points:

Accounts : Any association recognized by the EPFL shall keep accounts in accordance with the law and its Articles of Association.

Commercial Register : If the association’s annual turnover is over CHF 100,000 and/or if the Articles of the association foresee auditing of its accounts by an external accountant, the association shall register under the Commercial Register.

Accounting : If its annual turnover and/or income exceed CHF 70,000, the EPFL may require the association to entrust its bookkeeping to an external accountant recognized and approved by the EPFL.

Auditing : The EPFL may require an association to submit its accounts to an external accountant for auditing if the turnover exceeds CHF 250,000. The external accountant should be recognized by the Federal Audit Oversight Authority.

Administration of Wages and Social Costs : If the association pays wages, it shall do so based on an employment contract and pay social costs in accordance with the law. The association shall also submit all statements required by law, in particular to the competent social security bodies.

Taxes : The association shall submit to all legal tax requirements (direct and indirect taxes (VAT)). If applicable, this duty shall be performed by the accountant acknowledged and approved by the EPFL.

Communication to the EPFL : The association’s accounts, statement by the (internal or external) auditors as well as the activity report shall be submitted to the EPFL latest 6 months further to the closing of the accounting year.

Reserves (association’s equity capital) : If its own capital further to allocation of profit to provisions and reserves exceeds the double of the annual expenditure budget, the association shall redistribute the surplus to projects related to student activities or to the EPFL Student Foundation.

Relations with Third Parties : The EPFL shall not be responsible for any consequence of relations or agreements between associations and third parties.

EPFL associations shall take out insurance with a private insurance company for any claims for which it might be held liable in general as well as for any events it organises.

Respect and disputes : Each EPFL association shall respect the activities of other interest groups and endeavour to deploy its own activities in harmonious cooperation in particular with other student associations on the EPFL and Lausanne University campuses as well as with all EPFL departments.

The EPFL is a smoke-free campus since May 2006 and has adopted a strict policy regarding sponsoring by and the presence of the tobacco industry in the framework of events organised on campus. Please find here below a summary of the provisions concerning the sale and distribution of cigarettes and sponsoring by cigarette companies within the framework of association activities.

Sponsoring by cigarette distributors during events:

Sponsoring by cigarette makers is prohibited in the framework of events organised in particular by EPFL associations.

  • No advertising (logo) relating to cigarette producers/distributors on the event’s promotional material (posters, leaflets, flyers).
  • No mention of cigarette producers/distributors during the event, in any form whatsoever (staff T-shirts, logo on tickets…)
  • No distribution of advertising material and no solicitation by cigarette makers during the event
  • No banners, posters or projection of images on screens or against the walls on the event site.

Sale/distribution of cigarettes:
The sale of cigarettes may be authorised during certain events subject to approval of an application file submitted to the Direction of Education, provided that:

  • Cigarette stands may not be located at key event locations. They should be discreet and not display any distinctive marks.
    No communication, sale or distribution of gadgets to minors.
  • No by-products may be sold or distributed at these stands.
  • No cigarettes may be sold outside these stands.

Failure to observe these directives may lead to the event being prohibited !

The EPFL may authorize the consumption and sale of alcoholic drinks in the framework of events organized by its students on campus under certain circumstances described in provisions concerning the sale and distribution of alcohol on campus within the framework of association activities. The EPFL takes measures to prevent and mitigate the risks inherent to the consumption of alcohol

With regards to its prevention measures, EPFL follows the recommendations of Addiction Suisse (Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems).

It is requested that the student organizers of events follow the guidelines issued on the website

Sale/distribution of alcohol:

The sale of alcohol products during events must be announced by the organisers and authorised by the competent authority. A prior request must be submitted three months in advance to the MEDIACOM Service, which will provide a response after consultation with the relevant bodies (DAF, Safety services, etc.). If authorization is given, a licence application will be submitted to the Ecublens Police.

Generally speaking, the distribution of alcohol onsite and within the framework of activities organized by students is prohibited between 6.00am and 5.00pm.

Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis by AVP SAO, in collaboration with the MEDIACOM Service and upon justified request submitted at least one month in advance.

For the legal provisions relating to the above, see LEX 8.3.1, Event Organization.

Sponsoring by distributors of alcoholic products during events organized by students:

The sponsoring of events by alcohol distributors is subject to prior authorization from AVP SAO.

In addition:

  • As far as possible, alcohol distributors should not be the main sponsor of an event;
  • Likewise, no banners or advertising posters for alcohol products are to be displayed;
  • As with tobacco products, soliciting potential customers (a kin to merchandising) for alcohol products is prohibited, as is the free distribution of alcohol products for promotional purposes.

It is also requested that organizers:

  • Implement preventative measures during the event (stands, posters, etc.);
  • Actively promote public transport options and car-pooling;
  • Offer the public a choice of at least three non-alcoholic drinks at a lower price than the cheapest alcoholic drink, for the same volume

Failure to comply with these directives may lead to the event being prohibited !

In order to keep their status as an association recognized by the EPFL, those associations which have not applied for subsidies have to email the following documents to [email protected] as soon as possible but at the latest by December, 1st each year.

  • Articles of association (as published on the Association’s website. Modifications to current articles must be presented to AVP SAOprior to General Assembly’s validation.)
  • Minutes of the latest General Assembly (example of minutes)
  • List of committee members (as published on the Association’s Web site)
  • Updated website and email addresses (of the association ([email protected]) and its president ([email protected] )
  • Annual accounts – balance sheet & profit and loss account for the last financial
    year (you can find the Template File to use on the page “Applying for subsidies”)
  • Annual activity report

Your student association probably collects and stores personal data about its members. This may include their names, addresses, email addresses, and other details, such as the specific events that members attend (through registration forms or meeting minutes, for example). That means your association is subject to Swiss and possibly EU data-protection regulations.

These regulations are intended to protect the identities and fundamental rights of the individuals whose personal data are collected. The regulations set forth a series of rules to make sure that the data are handled in a legal, faithful, and transparent manner, are used for narrowly defined purposes, are accurate and limited to necessary data, are stored for the shortest time necessary, and are kept confidential and uncorrupted, and that the persons responsible for compliance with data-protection regulations are clearly identified. The regulations also specify the rights of individuals whose data are collected, such as the right to access their personal data, to know how their personal data will be used, and to correct or delete their personal data.

We strongly suggest you consult an expert if you have any questions related to the handling of personal data. More specifically, you should get the advice of a professional if your association plans to outsource the collection and/or storage of personal data (particularly if the service provider is located outside Switzerland); conduct profiling (the analysis of personal data to determine certain personal characteristics); collect sensitive data such as information about members’ ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, health, or sexuality; collect genetic or biometric data for identification purposes; or collect information about any debt-collection proceedings under way or any criminal or administrative sanctions in force.

Here are some websites with useful information about personal data protection:

Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner:
Site Think Data
Data-protection quiz by the French-speaking-Switzerland business association (in French only)
Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)