Advisor Resources

Student Organizations & Activities recognizes that advisors are an integral factor in the success of our student organizations. Our office provides an array of resources to help you to be successful advisors. We appreciate the time you take to help our students grow.

All Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) at Northwestern University are required to have a university staff or faculty member as an Advisor. Advisors are considered “Campus Security Authorities” (federally mandated crime reporter) for the University and the Northwestern University requires Advisors to acknowledge they understand their duties and agree to serve as an Advisor for the RSO who lists them as such. Should a group have multiple advisors (e.g. Chaplain’s Office RSOs), both advisors must complete this form.

Registered Student Organization Advisors and Clery Act Responsibilities

As Campus Security Authorities Advisors are required to immediately report any Clery Act crimes, that they are made aware of, to the Northwestern University Police Department using the Campus Security Authority Crime Report Form. Additional reporting duties are required for student trips with this Student Trip form completed. Details on Clery Act reporting duties can be found on the Campus Security Authorities web page. For additional information, questions, or clarifications, email: Rachel Heyman, Compliance, Audit, and Advisory Services.

Advisor Acknowledgement & SOFO Change of Advisor Forms

Whether it's becoming a group's advisor for the first time or part of the group's re-registration in the springtime, Northwestern requires the advisor to complete an Advisor Acknowledgement Form. The form should be scanned and (1) forwarded to the student contact who is completing the next annual re-registration for upload as well as (2) added to the group's Wildcat Connection page under the 'Documents' section. 

In addition to the Advisor Acknowledgement, groups who have assets in a Student Organization Finance Office (SOFO) acccount must have their outgoing/incoming advisors sign a Change of Advisor form so group representatives can access their SOFO account appropriately. The form can be found here. More information about SOFO policies and procedures available on their website.

Advisor Checklist

The Advisor Checklist is provided as a resource for Advisors to use with their student organization to determine a baseline for expectations for both Advisors and Registered Student Organization (RSO) leadership.

Advisor Contract

A sample Advisor Contract is provided as an example of how an advisor can write a contract with their organization regarding expectations for both the organization and advisor. A contract should consider some of the following: 

  • Travel expectations
  • Event expectations
  • Budgets
  • Constitution review
  • Communication

Advisor Travel Documents

The Travel Checklist is a resource for advisors meeting with students to discuss proposed travel. Please note that these meetings should occur a minimum of four (4) weeks prior to domestic travel and six (6) weeks prior to international travel. Advisors should feel free to contact Campus Life at any time for additional information and resources.

We recommend providing all students with an Emergency Card in case any issues arise. You can use this front and back template to create cards for your own groups.

RSO Advisor Listserv

The RSO Advisor Listserv provides updates about campus programs, University policies, and gives advisors the opportunity to share information. If you would like to be added to the RSO Advisor Listserv, email: Adrian Bitton.

RSO Advisor Resource Box

The RSO Advisor Box contains past training presentations, handouts, and resources from advisor training sessions and events. If you would like to be added to the RSO Advisor Resource Box, email: Adrian Bitton.

Hazing Prevention Policy

Northwestern Position Statement

It is the responsibility of all students/student organizations to encourage an atmosphere of learning, social responsibility, and respect for human dignity and to provide positive influences and constructive development for members and aspiring members. Students/organizations are expected to use good judgment to determine the abilities of individual students as they relate to organization activities and requirements.

If a healthy team or organization is being created and the values and purpose of the organization are being upheld, chances are the organization will not have to worry about whether or not an activity is hazing. Hazing leads to dysfunction within the organization and is ineffective at creating teamwork, respect, and unity, and it is an unproductive and hazardous custom that is forbidden by the University.

For more information please visit the Northwestern Student Affairs Hazing Prevention website.

Student Organization Handbook

SOA has published a helpful digital, comprehensive reference for student organizations seeking information on campus policies, resources, and their privileges as a recognized group. The file will be updated as needed and can be found here. For any bad links or need for updates to the material, please alert:

Additional Reading

  • Dunkel, N.W., Chrystal-Green, N.E., & Schuh, J.H. (2014). Advising student groups and organizations  (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Forsyth, D. R. (2006). Group dynamics (4th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  • Komives, S.R., Woodward, D. Jr. (Eds.). (2003). Student services: A handbook for the profession (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
  • ACPA-College Student Educators International Online Advisor Manual