University of Minnesota Duluth
MyU | Search | People | Departments | Events | News

student organizations

Adviser Resources

Thank you for volunteering your time as an adviser for a student organization at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Your role is crucial to the development of students and the organizations they participate in. Advisers frequently counsel and advise student organizations by asking questions, challenging students, and supporting their efforts. Through student organizations, students have the opportunity to lead, pursue passions, and impact the campus and outward community.

Kirby Student Center has began to compile a variety of resources for you to utilize. We aim to provide you with valuable tools that will enrich your experience as a student organization adviser.

We recognize that resources are ever-changing and growing. If there is an additional resource or topic you would like us to look into, or if you have any advising questions, let us know how we can best assist you! Contact Christina at: or Kallie, our Student Organization Peer Resource, at:

This is a list of some basic responsibilities for Student Organization Advisers:

  • Assist the organization in developing an understanding of and fulfilling its mission and purpose at UMD.
  • Help the organization navigate campus resources, policies & procedures (such as booking rooms), submitting fund requests, and publicity for events.
  • Serve as the authorized signature for all official University documents for the organization.
  • Ensure that the organization maintains good status by re-registering on UMD’s student organization website, Bulldog Link, by October 1 of each year and that officers attend all mandatory student organization meetings.
  • Be a liaison between the club and the University – share student organization successes and University information.
  • Challenge and support the club to continuously grow and improve.

The following lists additional areas in which a Student Organization Adviser may assist the club:

  • Help the club set and achieve their goals.
  • Assist in mediation between club members and officers.
  • Attend regular club meetings as well as events.
  • Meet with one of the Kirby Student Center’s staff during the semester to learn more about the resources available to the student organization.

What Kind of Time Commitment Does Advising Involve?

This is going to vary greatly from organization to organization. How can it not? Size, experience and motivation level of the student leaders are only three examples of the myriad of factors that go into answering this question. We recommend setting time involvement expectations between you and your student officers at the beginning of each semester. A minimum recommendation level might be:
  • 1 – 4 hours per month, during the academic year (year round contact is preferred)
  • Be available during scheduled office hours to sign forms, address questions, and meet with (or set regular meetings with) club members.


A big question for most organization advisers is related to liability. What are you personally liable for when serving as an organization adviser? This is a hard one to answer because every situation is unique. The “bad” answer is that technically, anyone can be sued for anything at anytime. Such is the nature of current society. The “good” answer is that the University of Minnesota will back you up - ie: provide legal defense - should legal issues happen; provided you have been acting in good faith with the best interests of UMN in mind.
Here is a link to UMD’s Legal Defense and Indemnification Policy: Please do not hesitate to contact staff in the Kirby Student Center if you have any questions advising student organizations. We are here to help you support your student organization. If we do not have the answers, we will do our best to find you the resources you need.

Other Resources

Articles on Student Organization Advising

“The Responsibilities of Advising a Student Organization” by Norbert Dunkel
“Advising Student Organizations: Strategies for Establishing and Maintaining Successful Advisor/Student Relationships” by Erin Morrell

Resources for Greek Advisers

Since Greek organizations are a category of their own, we wanted to provide additional resources for you that are tailored specifically toward Greek organization advisers.

Each Greek organization is unique, and serves different functions and purposes. As a Greek organization adviser, you should learn about the specific Greek organization that you are advising. Find out the organization's history at UMD, and if they are a national organization, obtain packets about the organization from their headquarters.

It is also important to address what your role as the adviser is and what what your responsibilities are. Typical adviser responsibilities include:

  • Assist officers in understanding their duties, administering programs and plans, organizing projects, and making appropriate transitions.
  • See that continuity of the organization is preserved through a constitution, minutes, files and traditions.
  • Be a sounding board, especially for officers, and be supportive of all members.
  • Be a resource for the students especially in regard to understanding College policies, regulations and services.
  • Be generally available to assist the organization.
  • Hold a meeting with your advisees to make sure that your responsibilities, goals, and expectations align with each other.

Some helpful Greek Life resources include:

© 2017 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 04/05/16 08:42 AM
University of Minnesota Campuses
Crookston | Duluth | Morris
Rochester | Twin Cities | Other Locations