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– Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Student Activities

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/activities/rso/advisor.html

Information for RSO Advisors

First, thank you for agreeing to be an advisor for a Recognized Student Organization at MSU.  Our many student groups could not function without the time and support of dedicated staff and faculty like yourselves.  While time commitments vary based on the student group with which you are involved, student groups thrive with sincere involvement from their advisor.

Many of the questions you may have are answered on the other pages on the main RSO site.  Please refer to the RSO Manual for general information about RSO's.  You can also refer to the ACPA Advisor Manual for general information about advising.  RSO's often wish to show films; however, significant fees must be to secure the rights for public showings.  An explanation of copyright and licensing can be found at http://www.swank.com/college/copyright.html

Student organizations are responsible for selecting their own advisor unless it is specified in an employee’s position description (example: the Program Coordinator for the Office of Campus Recreation in Campus Recreation is the official advisor signing off on certain finance and travel forms for sport clubs). Student organizations are allowed to choose their advisor in accordance with their constitution and/or operating documents, unless it is specified in an employee’s position description. Any student organization may have more than one advisor. All changes to advisors should be updated in the online RSO directory.  Advisors must be current MSU staff or faculty who are physically on campus (versus being abroad or on sabbatical).  The primary advisor of each organization must meet these requirements, but groups may have a “secondary” advisor who could be a non-university employee, a graduate student, or an advisor who is abroad.

There are several rewards associated with being the advisor to a student organization. They include:

  • Observe and assist in the development of students.
  • Teach, lead, and coach students.
  • Serve as a reference for students.
  • Serve as a mentor for students.
  • Observe culture changes in the life of the University and community.
  • Form networks with colleagues involved as advisors in similar organizations.
  • Provide service to the University.
  • Participate in an organization whose purpose you support.
  • Receive recognition by the institution, the organization, and students for a job well done.

Responsibilities of a Student Organization Advisor

In assuming the role of student organization advisor, it is inherent that the advisor accept and agree to fulfill these responsibilities in the manner listed below:

  • Serve as the official person responsible for the budget, including signing financial forms, budget requests, etc.
  • Take an active role in advising the student organization.
  • Know the general purpose of the organization and be familiar with all provisions outlined in its constitution or by-laws, and review the constitution annually with the organization membership.
  • Remain informed of all activities sponsored and conducted by the student organization.
  • Establish with the student organization president the manner in which the advisor will participate in the organization’s activities; i.e., programs, social events, recruitment and new member activities, and meetings.
  • Know the officers and members of the organizations.
  • Be familiar with the status of the current membership of the organization.
  • Know the organization’s process for obtaining new members.
  • Offer guidance to the organization on goal setting, organization management, program planning, problem solving, and group evaluation.
  • To be knowledgeable of and adhere to University policies and procedures which pertain to student organizations and to inform the student organization officers and members of their responsibilities.
  • Be knowledgeable of policies and procedures listed in the Minnesota State University Mankato Student Code of Conduct.
  • Review with the student organization membership the policies and procedures listed in the Minnesota State University Mankato Student Code of Conduct.
  • Immediately report to Student Activities any activities that may or will violate University policies.
  • Review and adhere to the policies in the Student Organization Policy Guidebook.

Advising your Recognized Student Organization

Here are some practical and general expectations about what advising a student organization really means:

  • Meet with the organization president on a regular basis (at least twice each month is recommended as the minimum requirement).
  • Attend organization meetings and events.  No, you do not need to attend every meeting and every event, although some advisors do.  At a minimum you should attend all events for which there are any liability concerns (i.e. a dance).
  • Advising does not mean doing.  These are student organizations which should be created by, run by, and populated mostly by MSU students.  The role of the advisor is to give guidance, offer suggestions and ideas, but not to direct the organization.
  • Attend organization meetings and events.  No, you do not need to attend every meeting and every event, although some advisors do.  At a minimum you should attend all events for which there are any liability concerns (i.e. a dance).
  • Travel: While there is no separate travel policy for student organizations, advisors and groups are expected to adhere to the University’s vehicle use policies.  Specifically, note that when using a university vehicle, when using a university vehicle, “Any trip over 400 miles and/or beyond Minnesota's borders requires a staff person and/or graduate assistant to be one of the eligible drivers.”  See http://www.mnsu.edu/vehicles/policies/distance.html for details.  For all student group travel, however, advisors should have in writing the travel itinerary, members traveling, and contact information for group members.

For another resource on being an advisor, see the ACPA Advisor Manual

Finally, you can read a letter from the Vice-President explaining the Clery Act requirements, and read the Clery Act brochure.  You need to agree to the reporting expectations to be an advisor.