Skip to main content
Tulane Home Tulane Home

Recognized Student Organization Advisors

Recognized Student Organization (RSO) advisors play an invaluable role in contributing to the development and impact of both student leaders and student organizations at Tulane University. We value and thank you for your time, energy, and dedication to your organization(s).

Overview of Student Organization Advising

All RSOs must have a Tulane faculty or staff Advisor. The primary role of the advisor is to serve as a resource for the RSO officers and members. Advisors have four broad functions:

  • To contribute to the growth and development of students: The advisor can assist students in the development of skills such as time management, problem-solving, delegation, communication, and leadership.
  • To ensure compliance with university policies and procedures as well as local, state, and federal laws: Advisors are responsible for ensuring the organization’s compliance with the policies and procedures of the sponsoring organization (ex. Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate and Professional Student Association, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Programs, or campus department) and the university by reinforcing institutional policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws. Advisors are expected to warn the organization if what they are planning or doing is not in compliance, inappropriate, illegal or risky, and offering alternative suggestions.
  • To add to the continuity of the organization: The advisor can share the history of the organization, explain why past decisions were made to new officers, and assist with the transition of organization leadership.
  • To assist with program content and purpose: The advisor will assist in the development of projects, events, and activities as it relates to the mission of the organization.

Additional expectations of an individual RSO advisor should be determined by the advisor and the RSO leadership. This role may vary from RSO to RSO, based on the group’s needs and goals. The advisor should never be considered just a signature on required forms. The student leadership of the RSO and the advisor should have a conversation early on to determine roles and clarify the students’ expectations of the advisor and the advisor’s expectations of the students.

Time Commitment

The amount of time required of an RSO Advisor is based on the needs of the group. Minimally, advisors are expected to attend quarterly one-hour advisor meetings and spend two to three hours per month on organization issues during the academic year. An active advisor for a large RSO could expect to spend as many as two to four hours per week engaged in related activities.
These activities may include:

  • Attending meetings (executive and all-member)
  • Attending various events sponsored by the student organization
  • Meeting with the RSO president(s) or leader(s) to discuss and reflect on event programming, organizational development, budget, and assessment data
Risk Management and Liability

Agreeing to serve as an Advisor comes with a great deal of responsibility. Advisors are expected to stay well informed of their RSO’s actions and decisions and to stay visibly involved in their role. RSOs must comply with all university policies and procedures, local, state, and federal laws. Advisors are expected to help RSOs understand their responsibilities and to ensure activities
and events are in compliance with the aforementioned policies and laws.

Advisors do have potential liability exposure and it is important to remember when advising, advisors are serving as ambassadors of the University and are therefore covered by the university’s insurance policies. This does not guarantee that advisors could not be personally named in a lawsuit as a result of RSO activities. It is important advisors not ignore any foreseeable risk and advisors educate the RSO to follow all university policies and procedures as well as local, state, and federal laws. Intentionally harmful, willful acts of negligence, or omissions by an advisor are not covered by the university’s insurance policies.

Approvals – Events, Finances, Transportation

RSOs are required to get advisor approval for requests including, but not limited to, event registrations, motor pool vehicle requests, budget submissions, and financial transactions. When reviewing documentation for approval, advisors should read the information thoroughly, communicate with the RSO for questions or clarification, ensure that the activity is compliant with university policies and local, state, and federal laws, verify there is adequate designated funding to support the activity if applicable, and provide a timely approval or denial.

Requests for approval for event registrations, motor pool vehicle requests, and budget submissions will be sent to an advisor’s Tulane email address. The email will include a link to the specified request and buttons to select approval or denial of the request.

Budget Management

RSOs may have one or more university fiscal account(s). RSOs are not allowed to have an off-campus bank account. Advisors should have access to financial information for their student organization(s). Advisors can be provided Cognos access to monitor account balances and to ensure adequate funding for organization activities and resources. If an organization has been provided a USG budget, advisors can view the budget in WaveSync.

For questions about RSO accounts and budgets, contact Jane Rushing, LBC Associate Director of Administration and Finance, at rushing@tulane.edu or 504-314-2915.

Clery Act, Campus Security Authority, Hazing & Incident Reporting

Clery Act & Campus Security Authority
One particular requirement of an RSO advisor falls within the purview of The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or more widely known as the Clery Act. This piece of federal legislation requires TUPD to report “statistics concerning the occurrences of certain criminal offenses reported to the local police agency or any official of the institution who is defined as a ‘Campus Security Authority.’ RSO advisors are considered a Campus Security Authority (CSA) because they have “significant responsibility for student and campus activities.” This means advisors have the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the institution should they know of a crime that has taken place.

To better understand the role of a CSA, advisors must annually complete the Clery Center CSA training video found at https://vimeo.com/103610195. The password for the video is CSAClery2014.

Incident Reporting
Advisors should report incidents to tulane.edu/concerns. For questions regarding reporting crimes or other issues, please contact Erica Woodley, Assistant Vice President of Student Resources and Support Services, or Catherine Yockey, Director of Case Management and Victim Support Services at 504-314-2160. If there is an emergency incident, advisors are directed to call TUPD at 504-865-5911 or NOPD at 911.

Hazing
Hazing includes, but is not limited to, acts of servitude and/or behavior that humiliates, degrades, embarrasses, harasses or ridicules an individual or otherwise is harmful or potentially harmful to an individual’s physical, emotional or psychological well-being, as an actual or apparent condition for initial or continued affiliation with any group. A student violates this standard regardless of either the lack of intent to cause harm or the hazed individual’s own willingness to participate. Advisors are expected to report any allegations of hazing to the University at http://tulane.edu/concerns.

Officer Transition & Organization Renewal

Some of the key elements to ensure an organization’s smooth transition from academic year to academic year are to complete a timely renewal of their organization and to conduct a successful transition for their officers. An advisor can and should play an active role in the transition process. There are many methods of transition, including passing on notebooks/manuals and electronic records, having one-on-one meetings between incoming and outgoing officers, or planning day long retreats.

The following elements are important in organization transitions:

  • Conduct an elections/selection process for new officers based on the timeline outlined in the organization’s constitution
  • Complete the annual renewal of the organization each spring, including updating officer information, on WaveSync
  • Schedule transition meetings and communicate key information to new officers
  • Coordinate an opportunity for the advisor to meet with the new leadership, particularly executive officers
Advisor Meetings & Trainings

Quarterly RSO Advisor Meetings are held throughout the academic year.  Below are the fall 2020 meeting dates.  All advisors are asked to attend. 

  • Undergraduate RSO Advisor Meetings
    • September 24, 12:00pm, (Zoom meeting link available soon)
    • November 16, 12:00pm, (Zoom meeting link available soon)
  • Graduate RSO Advisor Meetings
    • September 30, 12:00pm, (Zoom meeting link available soon)
    • November 18, 12:00pm, (Zoom meeting link available soon)

This year we are also launching a comprehensive New Advisor Training that will be offered each semester.  Dates for 2020-2021 are listed below.  

  • September 22, 12:00pm, (Zoom meeting link available soon)
  • February 18, 12:00pm, Location TBD

The LBC supports RSO advisors through consultations, ongoing training and resources, and providing assistance with organization-specific issues. If you are in need of assistance, please contact Heather Seaman, LBC Director, at hseaman@tulane.edu or 504-865-5193.

Checklist for New Advisors
  • Review the Advisor Role and Responsibilities document to gain an understanding of your role as an Recognized Student Organization (RSO) advisor.
  • Review the Advisor roles document to learn more about the roles you may assume as an advisor.
  • Review the RSO Handbook to become familiar with RSO policies, resources, and procedures.
  • If your organization is USG or GAPSA sponsored, check out the USG or GAPSA websites to become familiar with the structure, policies, resources, and procedures related to these organizations.
  • Review the advisor section of the RSO Handbook which features information and resources, upcoming meeting schedules, past meeting presentations, and more.
  • Review the hazing section of the RSO Handbook to be aware of university and state policies as well as how to report concerns.
  • Attend the New Advisor Training. Training will be offered in the fall on September 22 and in the spring on February 18. This training will provide a comprehensive overview of RSOs at Tulane and your role as an advisor.
  • Watch the WaveSync 101 video and visit your organization’s WaveSync page to explore their information. Be sure that you are listed as an advisor on their page. Contact Greg Feiling at gfeiling@tulane.edu if you have any issues with accessing your organization’s page or being listed as an advisor.
  • Set a meeting time with key student organization officers including the president and treasurer to discuss plans for the year, expectations, their role in the organization, and more.
  • Review your RSO's constitution. The president should be able to provide you a copy or it can be accessed in the “Documents” section of their WaveSync page.
  • Attend an organization meeting and introduce yourself and your role to the organization members.
  • Mark your calendar for upcoming advisor meetings. You can see the 2020-2021 meeting schedule the advisor section of the RSO Handbook.
  • Be aware of some key pieces of information:
    • RSO events are required to be registered at least three weeks in advance of the event.
    • Contracts must be signed by the LBC or Student Affairs designee. Student organization officers and/or advisors may not sign contracts.
    • There is no student organization programming allowed after the last day of classes.
    • You can check out more details about these and other policies/resources in the RSO Handbook.
  • Be aware of who to contact if you have any issues or questions related to the following areas:
Advisor Role & Responsibilities Agreement

Advisors must annually sign the Recognized Student Organization Advisor Role & Responsibilities Form to acknowledge understanding of the expectations of advising. The completed form is uploaded in the RSO’s WaveSync portal.

Return to RSO Handbook