Current Advisors

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 . 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. Staff in Campus Life, as well as staff from across student affairs, faculty and staff in each school/college, advise over 400 undergraduate student organizations.

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. Religious/Spiritual Affiliated RSOs), both advisors must complete an acknowledgement form.

RSOs are required to complete a new advisor form along with their advisors annually.

Affiliate advisors (advisors not employed by Northwestern University) will need to complete additional documentation provided by Religious & Spiritual Life. If you are unable to find information on their site, please connect with Jackie Marquez.

For further information on how to find an advisor for a new student organization please contact Tracey Gibson-Jackson.

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 and such trips needed to be reported to University Police.

Details on Clery Act reporting duties can be found on the Campus Securities Authorities web page. For additional information on what makes a student trip Clery Act reportable or to access the Student Trip Report Form, email: Dave Schultz,, with the Northwestern Police Department.

All RSO Advisors should have completed an advisor acknowledgement form either through annual registration (established groups, May) or after the approval of a new group registration (rolling).

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. It is recommended to include in an initial meeting with a student representative or when the student contact transitions to someone new to set up a plan for success.

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: Tracey Gibson-Jackson,in the Campus Life office.

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: Tracey Gibson-Jackson, in the Campus Life office.

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.

Advisor Training

Student Organizations & Activities leads several brief topic-focused trainings throughout the academic year. Schedule and information is communicated via RSO Advisors LISTSERV.

As of now, trainings are strictly optional but a great way to prepare your students for success by being knowledgable of campus policies, student advising best practices, and to discuss challenges or concerns about advising.

If you are an advisor and do not believe you are receiving LISTSERV communication, please email Assistant Director Tracey Gibson-Jackson.

Additional Reading

There is plenty of literature on the topic of advising student groups in this capacity. Some of the texts that inform our campus practices are included below.

  • 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