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Student Government Success: Five Roles for the Student Council Advisor

By The Editorial Team

A student council advisor guides student leaders in successfully planning events, making decisions and representing their fellow students. This role is essential to developing students’ leadership skills and supporting their efforts to serve their school.

How student council advisors help the student government succeed

While student council advisors take on a variety of tasks throughout the school year, there are five main roles he or she will need to perform during the course of the year.

1. Mentor

An advisor to the student council should be a sounding board for all student government members. Students should feel comfortable coming to their advisor with ideas, for issues they need help resolving, and for guidance when they are weighing choices. Mentoring can be a difficult role because the advisor must guide students without telling them what to do. The advisor must be able to listen carefully and provide sound advice, instilling a sense of trust in student council leaders.

2. Strategist

While student government members are typically organized, self-motivated individuals, their advisor will still need to assist with event planning and organization. An advisor should help students brainstorm ideas for events such as dances and after-school activities and delegate responsibilities among student council members. The advisor should provide strategies for completing all project tasks without taking over from the governing body.

3. Publicist

A student council advisor should be their council’s greatest publicity asset. The advisor should promote participation in student government events and projects to students, teachers and administrators. It is also important for the advisor to recruit future members by explaining all of the benefits of running for student council. The advisor should publicize the organization’s activities and take pride in his or her role, ensuring that the school has a positive view of their student government.

4. Coach

While an advisor is likely a classroom instructor, it is important that they continue to have a teaching mindset working with student leaders. Student council advisers should always keep an eye out for teachable moments during council activity or conflict. In their capacity as a coach, advisors should encourage students to develop their talents and try new things.

5. Adjudicator

At the end of each event and activity, the student council advisor should lead students in a discussion of how the event went, what worked well and what could be improved in the future. It is important for the advisor to provide constructive criticism as well as positive feedback. This allows students to continue to grow without feeling defeated or run down in the process.

Student council advisor, while often a volunteer position that requires significant extra time during the year, is a rewarding role. It provides the candidate an opportunity to get to know students beyond the classroom and help them develop leadership skills. The advisor can model good leadership for their students and

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