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Advisers provide support system for clubs
Student organizations are a vital part of life on the Quinnipiac campus. While these groups are student-run and organized, advisers serve a meaningful role in keeping the student organizations running smoothly and effectively.
Advisers regard education as a process concerned with the development of students and focus on student life outside of the classroom.
The main purpose of an adviser is to assist his or her assigned organization and serve as a resource for program development.
The adviser also provides a support system to encourage personal growth and leadership skills. Sometimes work is done behind the scenes, but in most cases the adviser is in the forefront. They choose how involved they want to be.
Every student organization is required to have a faculty adviser, and certain groups must also have an advisor in the Office of the Student Center and Student Leadership Development.
Melinda Sutton currently serves as the adviser for the five media groups on campus: the student newspaper, radio station, television station, literary magazine and yearbook.
She also advises the school’s fraternities and sororities, as well as the sophomore and junior cabinets of the Student Government Association.
Sutton works out of the Student Center and Leadership Development office and is required to work with these groups.
Sutton said she would like to be more available to other organizations and groups on campus.
She said that any club can choose to be more involved and is welcome to seek out support from the Student Center in running their organization or implementing activities.
Michael Clear advises the International Club on campus. While he feels advising is an important job, he thinks that it is imperative that the clubs remain run by students with the majority of ideas coming from students.
“My role is to help them navigate through the process, not to tell them what to do,” Clear said.
It can be difficult advising a new club and deciding how much assistance the group leaders need in running their organization.
Sutton agrees that her role as an adviser is not to run or control the organization.
“The most important part of being an adviser is to be available, accessible and most importantly, interested in what’s going on,” she said.
When attending meetings she observes and makes comments. Sometimes she will step in if the group may be straying from university policies or if a problem or questions arises.
Otherwise, she is there simply to serve as a liaison between the university and its students.
Advisers also provide continuity to an organization. Officers come and go throughout the years, so it’s important for an adviser to serve as a stable source.
Carleen Roy Butler is the new adviser for the Community Action Project as well as Habitat for Humanity, which is not yet a recognized club.
Roy Butler enjoys being able to meet regularly with students and cultivate relationships while watching them grow as leaders.
“It’s energizing to hear all their great ideas,” she said. “They are doing a tremendous job on their own, but it’s still important that I’m available as a resource and to step in where needed.”
The advising position can be challenging at times. Sometimes advisers will be on campus until late at night attending meetings or activities that the club they are advising is involved in.
For newer advisers, like Roy Butler, the challenge lies in adapting to her new role and knowing when and where the club needs her to be available.
Advisers don’t attend all group meetings, but they show support by attending the clubs’ events and activities, as well as meeting with the leaders and touching base weekly.
“It’s important that we’re available and willing to show our support,” said Clear.