As a full-time faculty or staff advisor for a student organization, you play an active, critical role in the student experience here on campus. We want to ensure that our student organizations receive the support needed to be successful and as such, there are a number of guidelines that our office has identified for advisors to follow.
- The advisor should be familiar with the organization’s mission and constitution in order to assist in the advancement of that mission both on and off-campus.
- The advisor should know the leadership of the organization and connect with them regularly to foster a meaningful relationship.
- The advisor should be familiar with and get to know the general membership of the organization.
- The advisor should be accessible to the organization. If the advisor is scheduled to take a leave of absence or sabbatical, the advisor should notify the organization in advance and assist in identifying a temporary advisor.
- The advisor should attempt to attend organization meetings and events as often as possible. If unable to attend, the advisor should connect with organization leadership to ensure necessary follow-up is completed.
- The advisor should know the financial status of the organization and provide guidance as needed.
- The advisor should be available as an overall professional resource for the organization.
- The advisor should provide continuity of tradition and history for the group while also making recommendations for novel programming and practices, ultimately maintaining the agency of the student leaders.
- The advisor should help organization members grow in leadership, responsibility, self-awareness, time management, and related areas in order to further develop their skillsets and continue to make meaning from their experiences.
- The advisor should represent St. Olaf College to the best of their ability as well as encourage organization members to do the same, including upholding College policies and the Code of Conduct.
In order to stay current on policies and procedures, advisors of student organizations must sign the Advisor Agreement on an annual basis and complete the Student Organization Advisor Training every three years. To ensure advisors are able to provide effective guidance to their organizations, faculty and staff are only able to formally advise a maximum of two student organizations.
The advisor has a responsibility to both the organization(s) they advise and the institution. The advisor is expected to use their position and experience to inform the group and to discourage illegal, damaging, or embarrassing behavior that would negatively impact the institution, its property, and/or its community members including hazing. The advisor is duty-bound to report any such activities to the Office of Student Activities. The presence and/or participation of a College advisor does not relieve student organization members of their responsibility to abide by College policy, nor does the sole presence of the advisor constitute institutional approval of the event.
Under the Clery Act, advisors of student organizations are considered “Campus Security Authorities” for the institution. As a faculty or staff member at St. Olaf College, the responsibilities of a Campus Security Authority are encompassed within your classification as a “Responsible Employee” on and off-campus. If your full-time position serves the community as a confidential resource (counselor, pastor, etc.) and you are operating as an advisor and not in your official capacity, you are considered to be a responsible employee. Information regarding St. Olaf’s policy on responsible employees can be found on the Title IX website.
Additional considerations must be made when an organization wishes to work with minors. Information regarding St. Olaf’s policy on the protection of minors can be found on the Finance Office website.