Student Organization Advisers

Advisers play an important role in an organization.  They can provide helpful insights into everything your organization does.  Advisers also help maintain a sense of continuity and history to groups with frequent turnover in members.  Furthermore, you need to have an adviser to register your student organization.  Read on to find out more about finding an adviser and how to develop and maintain good adviser/group relations.


1.   Check to see if the adviser you had last year is still interested.

2.   Consider what your organization is all about and either:

A.   find a faculty/staff member who has similar interests; or

B.   find a faculty/staff member that your organization feels would be a good adviser, regardless of their background.

3.   Consult a Center for Student Enrichment staff member for suggestions.

4.   After making a list of potential advisers, prioritize them.  Then approach each person about the possibility of becoming an adviser for your group.

5.   When you are asking someone to be an adviser for your student organization, be sure to mention the following:

A.   Explain what your organization does, its goals, etc., so they have a better idea of what they are getting themselves into.

B.   Tell them the special qualities they have to be a good adviser.

C.   Let them know the time commitment and responsibilities they will have by becoming an adviser for your organization.


  • COMMUNICATION is the number one way to maintain a good relationship.  Keep your adviser informed about what is going on in your organization.
  • Have an open, honest discussion of expectations of each other.
    • Do you expect your adviser to be at regular meetings?  Executive board meetings?
    • When is it important to consult your adviser?
  • Use your adviser properly.  Advisers should not be expected to make decisions for the group or do the work of the organization.  They should be given the opportunity to provide their advice and insight for your consideration.  It is especially important to consult with your adviser before making important decisions -- especially if there are finances, safety, or legal considerations. 
  • Invite your adviser to all of your meetings and activities.  Advisers are busy people and probably won’t be able to show up at everything you do.  They will, however, appreciate your consideration in asking them.
  • Send your adviser copies of letters, memos, agendas, minutes, etc.
  • Consider having an “Adviser’s Report” as a regular feature on your meeting agendas.
  • Encourage your adviser to give feedback and share his/her opinions.
  • Let your adviser know that you appreciate his/her time and contributions.


  • This relationship is a partnership.  The responsibility of building this relationship is on both the adviser and students.
  • Base the relationship on open, direct communication with each other.  This includes sharing needs, responsibilities, and expectations.  Be prepared to negotiate and compromise.  Provide members, including the adviser, with constructive feedback as well as positive reinforcement.
  • Recognize various roles advisers and students play in and out of the organization.  Discuss this and how it will impact the organization.
  • Advisers and students both make mistakes.  Accept them, discuss them, learn from them, and move on.
  • Both students and advisers grow, change, and learn different things at different rates.  Be supportive; challenge each other to try new ideas to improve.  Learn from each other.
  • Remember to have fun and spend some time getting to know your adviser or students outside of their role in the organization.


  • Set mutual expectations for the organization and for the members, including the adviser.
  • Build relationships with one another, and keep the lines of communication open.
  • Evaluate the pursuit of your goals, differences, make improvement, and celebrate successes!