The Department of Leadership, Student Engagement & First Year Experience thanks you for volunteering your time and energy to help better student organizations and lend a hand to their overall success. We are always available in LSE should you have any questions or challenges you'd like to discuss. Following are the most common advisor needs and who to contact to get answers or voice concerns. There are also a few helpful "defining" topics.
Organizational issues, concerns or general assistance - Contact Cristi Burrill, Assistant Director of LSE, 403-3954.
Organization's budget, grants, Banner account, or student activity fee allocation - Contact John Seckel, 403-4014.
Organization's checking account - Contact the Finance Department, 403-3117
Organizational policies and procedures - Consult the organization handbook or call Cristi Burrill, 403-3954
Judicial issues - Contact Corday Goddard, 403-1351
Advisor Handbook COMING SOON!
Advisor Checklist - Use this checklist to facilitate a conversation with the students in the organization you're advising about expectations you both have about your role.
Is Advising Risky?
Click here to see what our St. Norbert College attorney, Tom Olejniczak, has to say about this.
How Should You Advise?
Unfortunately, the role of advisor is never a uniform little package. Different groups require different types of advisers. A large part of being an effective advisor is finding your own style that matches well with the organization. Since advising is such an ambiguous role, it is hard to provide an all encompassing blueprint that will tell you exactly how to advise a student organization. The fact is, each group has its own unique qualities. Its strengths and areas of improvement will be different from other organizations. How you advise a group comes from your willingness to understand the organization and its students to see where help and support is needed.
However, there are a few things you can do as an adviser that will help define how you will serve as an adviser for that specific group. The following are ideas you may want to consider:
• Clarify between you and the organization what your role will be. Students will have their own ideas and they may be different from yours.
• Discuss your role as soon as possible after the election of officers. As the leadership in the organization changes, so will your role as advisor. •
• Discuss what it is you can provide the organization in terms of support and campus resources. Devise a plan to keep lines of communication open and easily accessible between you and the executive board.
• Remember that the organization is for the students, and the decisions should be made by the students. Granted, there may be times when you will need to step in and take a more directive role, but for the most part, it is the students' responsibility to run the organization and make (and be held accountable for) their decision.
• Although the students make the majority of the decisions that affect the organization, it is your responsibility to be aware of the decisions that have been made. Being aware is the only way in which you will be able to respond to questions, ensure that financial and legal issues are properly addressed, and better understand the climate and attitude of the organization and its members. Stay informed by meeting regularly with the organizational president, reading the minutes, attending the meetings, etc
Top Ten Things You Should Know!
1. An Advisor Agreement form must be completed and signed by you every year in order for the organization to maintain their recognized status.
2. The handbook for Student Organizations contains complete descriptions of all college regulations, forms, and procedures that student organizations need to be aware of. If you don't have a handbook, call the LSE office to get one.
3. All student organizations must complete their administrative requirements annually to maintain their recognition. The requirements are as follows:
• Submit an Executive Report, Membership List and Advisor Agreement by Oct. 1 every year.
• Greek and Independent Social Groups are also required to complete two service projects and two educational programs each semester.
Any changes in requirements are always announced at the Access meetings held at the beginning of each semester.
4. The advisor is notified of all correspondence from college administration to student organization officers. Please read your organizational mail and keep in touch with your organization officers in case they don’t see what you do!
5. Keep in touch with the organization you are advising. Be sure to have your group give you a list of members, particularly officers. Also, make sure you are on the organization’s mailing list. Sometimes the adviser is the only continuous member of a group.
6. Any time an organization plans an off-campus event, an Off-Campus Event Form must be completed. This form does require an advisor’s signature. If there is anything indicated on the form that you are uncomfortable with, be sure to discuss it with your organization.
7. As an advisor, you are automatically a member of the Organizational Access Listserv.
8. All recognized student organizations are eligible for funding opportunities through the Student Government Association. Yearly allocations from the Student Activity Fee Fund are conducted in the spring (watch for publicity in February) and program grants are allocated based on available funds throughout the year.
9. An advisor should work to establish continuity within the organization so that the group can mature instead of “reinventing the wheel.” Assist them with the transition between old and new officers.
10. Advising is a vague and flexible role. Most important in developing that role are the levels of your commitment and the organization’s commitment to making things work.
What Advisors Should Do From Students & Other Advisors
• Give advice
• Be a mentor
• Play devil's advocate
• Be a friend
• Role model
• Show a real interest