A Journey Through Advising

by Dylan Ruffra

During the middle of my first year in grad school I was given the opportunity to advise one of our housing student organizations. As an undergraduate student, I was part of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), so it became an interesting experience when I started to advise them. Some of these students were great student leaders and had a big passion for helping others. It has been a good experience to see how they can impact their campus community and do things to appreciate the students. This has been a time where I get to challenge the students to think about what we are doing and how it is truly helping our campus community. It is important to me that I can help students think about their decisions and how impact their surroundings.

This year as part of being a co-advisor for our National Residence Hall Honorary, I was able to help advise our conference delegation. The conference our students went to was the Regional Leadership conference for the MACURH region. They are able to go to different sessions and learn what other campuses are doing. These sessions present on successful programs and other initiatives that other campuses have. Another aspect of the conference is that three students from each delegation have the opportunity to vote on award bids and legislation. Before the conference there was a lot of preparation that had to occur as well. The students had to decorate clothes pins, make a banner, design a display and create roll call. For all of this to get done before the conference we needed all hands on deck. There were multiple Sunday prep sessions that we took to make sure everything got accomplished. Once we got to the conference it was great to see the different ways that students got involved. They attended programs, which sparked new ideas for things to do on our campus. We even had two students give a presentation and one to serve as a special guest in the boardroom. Many of the students were excited to get in the conference spirit and learn how to bring different programs to our campus or expand the residence halls presence on campus

While the students were in sessions there were opportunities for me as an adviser to learn new strategies and innovations in serving students. It is important that as I am leading these students, I know how to support them. There were two special resource trainings that dealt with parliamentary procedures and how to advise groups. These sessions were helpful since I am just starting to learn my advising style and the best way to lead students. The most beneficial part was an advisor round table, where we talked about different campuses and what their organizations are doing. This was also a great way to compare the structure of our organizations. This conference was a good experience for me to learn and reconnect with other professionals.

From this experience I gained some new knowledge of how to best work with our students. This conference also drove my passion to keep making an impact on student’s lives. I still have a lot to learn from faculty, peers, and professionals and cant wait to continue my growth. What are some of the ways you learn to improve your advising style?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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