Student Life & Event Services

Advisor Resources

Advising Student Organizations


What is an Advisor?
An advisor works with a student organization taking on roles and responsibilities including, role model, guide, resource, counselor, and more. Each advisor has his or her own style of advising. Styles develop through relationships built as advisors work with students individually, as executive boards, and as a group. The advisor role helps with the growth and development of students as they work through organizational purpose, structure, and programming. In this process advisors share insight, provide ideas, offer an objective perspective, and counsel students. They also are knowledgeable of the institutions policies and procedures, looking out for how they may impact the organization. As students graduate, advisors provide continuity as they are able to provide organization history, legacy, and goals to newer and future members.

Why Organizations need an Advisor:
Advisors help provide guidance, insight, and perspective to students as they develop and see through projects. While advisors should not be doing the work for their students, they should facilitate learning through student engagement.

Benefits of Advising:
There are many benefits associated with advising a student organization. Some include:

  • Satisfaction of seeing and helping students learn and develop new skills 
  • Watching a group come together to share common interests, work toward common goals, and develop an understanding of differences 
  • Developing a personal relationship with students 
  • Becoming more aware of the services that UNI provides students and organizations 
  • Furthering personal goals or interests by working with an organization that reflects or shares your personal interests 
  • Sharing one’s knowledge with others

All student organizations are required to have an advisor who is a full-time staff or faculty member at UNI. Within the context of the broader mission and policies of the University, advisors shall share insights and directions that allow student organizations to further their objectives and enhance the meaningfulness of organization membership. Specific responsibilities of the advisor may be to:

  • Regularly attend general and executive board meetings 
  • Provide guidance to the officers 
  • Receive all financial statements and oversee all financial transactions of the organization 
  • Ensure that officers meet the minimum requirements for holding office as established by the University and the organization’s constitution and by-laws Provide consultation concerning membership selection procedures, and responsibilities

Ultimately, the specific duties of an advisor should be discussed and agreed upon by the student group and the faculty/staff member.

The impact of an advisor “may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience” (Light, 2001, p. 81).

Resources for Advisors:

ACPA Committee for Office of Student Life’s Advisor Manual

NACA Campus Activities Programming Magazine

ACU-I Student Organization Advisors Community of Practice