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Student Organization Advisor Manual


On behalf of the Student Activities Office and the organizations and clubs that we serve, thank you for agreeing to advise a student club or organization! Advisors play an integral role in developing student leaders and supporting the mission and activities of our clubs. As an advisor, we hope that you will get to know students better and gain the satisfaction of knowing that you helped guide students as they develop programs and achieve their goals. Advising an organization does require additional time demands; however, the rewards gained by advising are great, and more than compensate for these demands.
Advisors for student clubs are important catalysts for the learning that happens out of the classroom and have the potential to influence and develop that learning. Student clubs and organizations are effective avenues for students to implement theories they have learned in class, to dialogue about what they are learning in the classroom, to develop friendships, to network with professionals, and to improve their interpersonal, communication and leadership skills. Student involvement and interaction with faculty are considered determining factors in students' satisfaction, intellectual and personal development, and persistence (Floerchinger, 1992), and student organizations are one way to encourage student-faculty relationships.

Advising Tips

  1. At the beginning of each year/semester, develop clear expectations with the organization's officers to define your role as advisor and shared expectations.
  2. Read the group’s Constitution. You should be familiar with their purpose, mission, executive board positions, and founding tenets. 
  3. Get to know executive board members, but also get to know general club members.
  4. Attend the organization's events and be present at club functions.
  5. Develop a working relationship with the president and other officers.
  6. Discuss concerns with club members in private, and praise them in public.
  7. Remember to let the students make the decisions. Your role as advisor is to guidance and advice.
  8. Be familiar with College policies. It is important that you help the organization navigate campus politics and policies, especially in regard to club events and purchases.
  9. Meet with the officers regularly, help them set goals. and assist when there is conflict and tension between club members.
  10. At all times, keep your sense of humor!

Purpose of Student Organizations

The purpose of student organizations is to provide students with opportunities to participate in activities that develop their intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, and professional abilities. These organizations complement the academic life of the College. To meet all the different developmental needs of students, Hamilton offers a multitude of student groups. Every student is encouraged to become a member of those clubs that appeal to their interest.

Floerchinger (1992) found that involvement in student organizations:

  • Improves students’ interpersonal skills
  • Positively enhances skills in leadership, communication, teamwork, organizing, decision-making and planning
  • Gives students a greater satisfaction with their college experience
  • Provides useful experience in obtaining a job and providing job-related skills
  • Develops lifelong values of volunteerism and service to others

Many thanks to colleague Doug Adams and Middlebury College for sharing content for this Advisor Handbook with Hamilton and allowing us to update it for our use.

Contact Information


Kaity Werner

Assistant Director of Student Activities
315-859-4516 315-859-4196 kwerner@hamilton.edu
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