Advisor Resources

In order to be a recognized club or organization at George Mason University, all Tier 2 & Tier 3 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) must have a faculty/staff advisor. This individual must be a full-time employee of the faculty or staff at Mason on any of the three campuses who is sincerely dedicated to assisting the organization in reaching its desired goals. Tier 1 RSOs are not required to have an advisor, but definitely welcomed.

The role of an advisor is critical to the success of the organization. An advisor serves the group in a number of ways including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Giving direction to the organization when needed
  • Assisting in the personal development of the organization’s members
  • Offering ideas and input as another option to consider
  • Serving as a point of reference and resource
  • Playing devil’s advocate to help members see both points of view
  • Making recommendations based on past experiences, expertise and facts
  • Being a motivator and cheerleader
  • Serving as a role model for the students

Advisors generally have ten main responsibilities to the organization. These responsibilities will vary from group to group and from advisor to advisor.

  • Leadership development
  • Consultation with officers and chairpersons
  • Continuity during changes in leadership
  • Personal assistance for members
  • Interpretation of policy
  • Supervision to adhere to public and institutional policy
  • Financial supervision with records and budgets
  • Assistance with the maintenance of organizational records
  • Social activity support and guidance
  • Regular meeting attendance

The relationship between the student organization members and the advisor, and their expectations of each other should be discussed periodically.  Although advisory relationships are unique from organization to organization, all advisors and organizations should abide be the Office of Student Involvement Advising Philosophy.

The Office of Student Involvement Advising Philosophy

The advisor’s primary role is to educate, advocate and coach. Educators make involvement a learning experience. Advocates provide a link between students and the University administration. Coaches provide guidance and support. Advisors have the authority to intervene when an organization is breaking federal and local laws, University policies or the organization’s own constitution. However, organization members assume responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Being involved in a student organization helps students gain additional skills not acquired in the classroom.  If the advisor tries to run the organization, the students in that organization miss out on such skills.  Therefore, advisors do not dictate or determine the mission, direction, or programs of the organization and advisors don’t initiate or complete the work for the student organizations.  Remember, although the advisor plays an important role, the organization should ultimately be run by the students, not by the advisor.

Advisor Resources:


  • RSO 101 (Basic Information about RSOs at Mason, the Tier system and university policies and guidelines)
  • Get Connected
  • Event Checklist
  • Fiscal 1.5 (In person) – Offered twice a year – beginning of the Fall semester and beginning of the Spring semester
  • Fiscal 3.0 (For Tier 3 organizations): Travel Procedures Presentation