Advisor Resource Guide

Introduction

Welcome to the ASUA Student Organization Advisor Resource Guide! This resource is specifically designed for staff and faculty members who are either interested in becoming advisors for clubs/organizations or are currently advisors and are looking to better guide and support their groups. Serving as a club advisor is a large responsibility; you have the opportunity to positively impact students’ leadership skills, lend your expertise in the club’s subject matter, and work with elected officers to ensure members have a great experience. 

Advisors hold a significant position with a club/organization. Some clubs will want you to be a continual presence in their operations, and others will want an advising style to be somewhat more distant. No matter the advising relationship developed between the club and advisor, you play an important role in how the group runs. 

Roles an advisor takes within a group are:

  • Assisting student leaders in building camaraderie within the group and assisting with any challenging group dynamics;
  • Provide professional knowledge related to the club’s stated interests and purposes; 
  • Serving as the first point of contact with University of Arizona regarding issues within the club that are brought to the attention of either ASUA or the Dean of Students Office;
  • Signing Dean’s Excuses for club travel and having knowledge of the scope and duration of the trip;
  • Reporting important issues (i.e. Code of Conduct Violations, Hazing, Risk Management issues) to appropriate University authorities.

Each organization must have a faculty/staff advisor, with exception to Greek-letter organizations recognized by Fraternity and Sorority Programs and their local governing bodies. Faculty/staff advisors are defined as individuals (faculty, staff, or administrator) who is currently employed by the University of Arizona and holds office hours within the University. Any faculty, staff, or administrator on sabbatical cannot serve as an advisor. Graduate students/assistants cannot serve as an advisor.  

(modified from Penn State Advisor Handbook at https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/involvement-student-life/student-organizations/advisor-resources/advisor-handbook)

When advising, do:

  • Understand that clubs/organizations are student-led and are great ways for students to develop leadership and management skills
  • Encourage students in the group to have critical discussions around issues related to the club’s purpose and lend your voice when necessary
  • Develop a working relationship with student leaders and establish expectations of both students and advisor
  • Have regular contact with student leaders to stay on track of club business and attend meetings in accordance with students’ expectations and club rules/bylaws
  • Become familiar with the group’s governing documents (i.e. Constitution, Bylaws) and ensure student leaders work in accordance of these frameworks
  • Introduce new members and elected leaders to the history and mission of the club
  • Work proactively with student leaders on addressing internal club issues, and relaying concerns to ASUA or Dean of Students Office in a timely manner
  • Assist students in designing large events or lectures and work with University staff to ensure relevant University procedures are followed
  • Work with outgoing and incoming Executive teams to ensure smooth transition and turning over of key information (i.e. social media passwords, banking/financial information) occurs

As an advisor, don’t

  • Just sign paperwork and assume the group handles all matters
  • Be unknowledgeable on club matters, including travel and hosting speakers/large events
  • Insert yourself into club matters when not asked by student leaders or members
  • Force your own opinions in organizational matters or discussions (remember, student organizations are run by STUDENTS)
  • Handle any club financial information or manage bank accounts
  • Do all the work in handling club registration, club payments, or event planning
  • Ignore communication from club members
  • Withhold information about potential hazing, bullying, harassment, or other disruptive/threatening behavior to the Dean of Students Office
  • Threaten club/organization with loss of recognition or funding from your department if student leaders act in accordance with governing documents and the desires of membership (ASUA is the entity on campus that officially recognizes student organizations)

Advising Responsibilities

Being a club/organization advisor requires you to host several responsibilities to ensure students are following University rules and regulations. Also, advisors are key players in students’ leadership development and gaining valuable professional advice from a faculty or staff member who has an interest in the group’s purpose.

ASUA and Risk Management offer specific training on the duties and responsibilities of club advisors. Advisors will be required to complete the UAccess Learning session and clubs whose advisor has not completed this will not be recognized by ASUA. Staff at ASUA will verify that listed advisors have undergone this training and understand their responsibilities. Instructions on how to enroll in the course is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27dgxi-kD0Y&feature=youtu.be.

Advisor Recertification step-by-step (pdf)

There are different styles of advising that require flexibility, knowledge of self, and desire to learn from student leaders and members. Advising requires understanding student leaders and finding the strategies that work for both you and the group.

To see the types of advising strategies you can use, visit this resource from Penn State:

https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/involvement-student-life/student-organizations/advisor-resources/advisor-handbook

Club/organization advisors are considered Campus Security Authorities (CSA), which requires faculty and staff to report criminal matters in accordance to the Clery Act. Risk Management offers online training for CSA compliance at https://risk.arizona.edu/training/campus-security-authority. Clery Act reporting forms and categories are available through the University of Arizona Police Department at https://uapd.arizona.edu/content/clery-act-definitions.

Student organizations are encouraged to host speakers and events that pertain to the mission of the group and its interests. The University of Arizona works to support students’ First Amendment rights of assembly and speech and has a team of staff who have been trained to work with groups to help ensure that the First Amendment rights of speakers, guests, and protesters are all respected and protected. More information about the University of Arizona’s First Amendment guidelines, policies, and monitoring is available at https://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/first-amendment.

If your organization wants to bring a speaker or lecture series to campus that may garner great interest from the campus community or bring attention from media outlets, several factors must be considered. The Dean of Students Office can better ensure First Amendment rights of all students, staff, and faculty during major speaker/lecture events if notified well in advance of an event. Some speakers/lecturers may require additional security from the University of Arizona Police Department, or the anticipated audience may be larger than the venue can handle. If an event takes place in the Student Union Memorial Center, staff in the facility can help with crowd management and audio/visual issues. In addition, issues around publicity and media requests can be mitigated through the University’s Media Relations team. 

A successful speaker event can only be facilitated with prior planning and early communication. If your group is bringing a lecturer on campus that may garner media interest, possible protest, or security concerns, contact the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Governance and Programs at 520-621-2782 as soon as your group starts planning for the event. 

Managing the Student Organization

Clubs are responsible for their finances, including collecting dues, fundraising, applying for University funding, and handling bank matters. ASUA and the University of Arizona do NOT provide financial support if clubs/organizations overdraft their account or fail to manage their financial accounts. 

Bank letters are required for banks to open accounts or change co-signers for student organizations. These letters state that your group is officially recognized by the University of Arizona. You can request a bank letter online at www.asuatoday.arizona.edu/bank-letter. Please note it may take up to 14-21 days to process the letter. 

Clubs shall not open any banking accounts under the University name, including without limitation any of the variants listed below:
· The University of Arizona
· University of Arizona
· U of AZ
· UofA
· UOA

· UArizona
· Board of Regents, University of Arizona (or any similar variants)
· Or contain “The University of Arizona” in the bank account name.

Organizations may request Dean’s Excuses if organization members are going to be absent due to official activities of the organization.   Eligibility for and issuance of Dean’s Excuses are governed by University Policy. Dean’s Excuses forms are available at https://deanofstudents.arizona.edu/student-rights-responsibilities/forms

ASUA-recognized student organizations who travel outside the United States and its territories must register their travel with UA Global prior to their departure, regardless of whether the trip is being funded by ASUA. 

Students traveling abroad will visit https://travel.arizona.edu and click on “International Travel Registry” to complete the process. 

Recognized clubs/organizations are able to apply for funding through the ASUA Appropriations Board. This student-led board appropriates funds each academic year for groups to travel to conferences, host events, participate in service activities, and cover rental costs in the Student Union Memorial Center. Information about eligibility requirements and applications are available at https://asuatoday.arizona.edu/clubs/club-funding.

Recognized clubs/organizations are able to reserve space in the Student Union Memorial Center for no or low cost, use academic facilities for meetings, and the Mall for tabling and other events. Student groups are responsible for associated charges and contractual obligations for using the space. Advisors may be asked to sign off on the group’s space request to ensure you are aware of the event and answer any questions. 

To reserve space on campus, clubs can visit the Club Services website at https://asuatoday.arizona.edu/clubs/club-services. Please be aware that Room and Course Scheduling and the Student Union will verify that the group is officially recognized and all current contact information is on your club’s InvolveUA before fulfilling the reservation request. 

The University of Arizona seeks to promote a safe environment where students may participate in activities and organizations without compromising their health, safety, or welfare. It is therefore the University's policy that hazing is prohibited. The impact of hazing activities can result in irrevocable harm to their victims, victims' families, and the University community. For the most up-to-date information regarding our hazing policy, please visit https://policy.arizona.edu/education-and-student-affairs/university-arizona-hazing-policy

NOTE: To Report a hazing incident or to ask questions regarding the policy call 626-HAZE (4293).