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Community Mentor: Resources & Requirements

Student organizations can choose an mentor from within or outside the UC San Diego community. Mentors enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Getting the satisfaction of seeing and helping students learn and develop new skills
  • Helping a diverse group come together to share interests and work toward common goals
  • Developing personal relationships with students
  • Advising an organization that furthers your own personal goals or interests
  • Sharing your knowledge with others

Community mentor reception

An annual Winter Quarter luncheon honors the hard work of our Community Mentors, who commit time, energy, and resources to mentor and support student organization leaders.

Learn more

If you're considering becoming a Community Mentor, review the following information:

Community Mentor Expectations

The roles and functions of a student organization community mentor include:

Meet University expectations of mentors

  • Attend committee meetings.
  • Provide a link between students and the University.
  • Interpret policy and take appropriate positions on delicate issues.

Meet your group's expectations of a mentor

  • Meet with your group to determine expectations.
  • Attend and participate in programs.
  • Hold individual meetings with executive members.
  • Serve as a resource person.
  • Provide group dynamics training.
  • Be familiar with the group's history of highs and lows.

Know administrative detail

  • Be familiar with the politics and procedures of the organization and institution.
  • Understand budget and expenditures.

Demonstrate mentor qualities and behaviors

  • Know about group process theory and leadership.
  • Establish good working relationships and rapport with the group.
  • Be tactful and honest.
  • Provide effective feedback.
  • Enthusiastically support the group.
  • Admit to a mistake – be human.
  • Maximize information resources. Lack of information can be non-productive.
  • Choose the most productive time to comment at group meetings.
  • Be aware of the power of positive reinforcement.
  • Allow the group to learn from failure.
  • Observe, advise, and be aware of group dynamics; take notes and discuss with students and colleagues.

Community Mentor Responsibilities

The specific roles and responsibilities of a mentor vary depending on the organization and the mentor, but most student organization advisors have the following responsibilities:

Leadership development

Through personal interaction and program development, you can play a significant role in developing members' leadership skills and personal growth and in identifying new leaders for the organization. Specific skills you could enhance include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Assisting with retreats and workshops


You can serve as a consultant by:

  • Meeting regularly with officers and chairpersons to keep current on projects and events they're planning.
  • Serving as a resource person and, through continued open interaction, pointing out new perspectives and guiding the group toward activities and individual performance.


Officers and members change frequently, and at times the only link with the past is the advisor. To enhance continuity, you can:

  • Orient new officers and members to the history and purpose of the group and help them build upon it.
  • Help members look toward the future by developing long-term goals and communicating them to new members.
  • Be wary if the organization focuses on "this is the way things have always been." Encourage creative brainstorming to help an organization generate new ideas.

Personal assistance

Your interaction with members gives you a unique opportunity to assist individuals with problems:

  • Help students maintain a balance between academic and co-curricular aspects of student life.
  • Make appropriate referrals by using your knowledge of campus and community resources.

Interpretations of policy

As a representative of the University to the organization, you are constantly in a position to interpret University policies and regulations as well as state and federal laws relevant to student organizations. One example is the Clery Act and Crime Reporting, a federal law that requires institutions of higher education to report crimes, provide notice of security policies, and give finely warnings.

You should also be familiar with all organization policies, such as constitution, bylaws, and protocols.


You have a responsibility to both the University and the organization to keep the best interests of both in mind. In a well run organization, the supervisory role may be minimal or nonexistent, and the advisor may need to intervene only to prevent the violation of public or institutional policy.

Financial supervision

Each organization should have a treasurer/finance director. Work with this individual to assure accurate record keeping and budgeting.

Meeting organization

Attend all regular and special meetings of the organization to keep informed and be available for consultation or to introduce ideas and suggestions. Many mentors have a time slot on meeting agendas when they can let the group know about upcoming campus events, congratulate members, offer remarks or evaluation, etc.

Traits of a Community Mentor

Teacher and educator

  • Mentors use expertise, knowledge, and human relations skills to help teach students effectively.
  • Mentors teach in an informal classroom setting where attendance is voluntary.

Resource person

  • Mentors gain a great deal of experience over time, which becomes extremely valuable to an organization.
  • Some of the dimensions of a resource person include:
    • Knowledge of University policies and services
    • The ability to find pertinent information
    • A historical perspective

Coordinator and motivator

  • This role is close to that of a resource person and teacher but is more action oriented. The mentor:
    • Acts as a motivator and overseer for the organization
    • Provides direction and communication that keep the group moving toward its goal

Partner and friend

  • This mentor trait is perhaps the easiest trait to fulfill. The mentor can:
    • Provide students with an opportunity to vent their frustrations
    • Become a friend and mentor to student volunteers


  • This role is designed to handle the most basic counseling needs.
  • Listen to students' issues and offer suggestions.
  • If serious problems arise, refer students to Counseling and Psychological Services.

Other mentor traits

  • Accessible
  • Always prepared
  • Consistent
  • Creative
  • Empathetic
  • Energetic
  • Flexible
  • Good listener
  • Good communicator
  • Insightful
  • Keen observer
  • Objective
  • Patient
  • Sense of humor
  • Trustworthy


CSI advisors are available to help student organizations virtually! Reach out to your advisor to schedule an appointment.

contact an advisor

CSI: Student Orgs & Events

Have a Student Organization Related Question and Need a Quick Answer? 
Your student organization advisors & the SILCs are here to help!

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Drop-in Advising Weeks 1-10 Each Quarter 

Virtual Advising - Zoom Room for virtual advising: (Meeting ID: 975 1996 7026)

  • Mondays 9am-12pm (virtual)
  • Tuesdays 1-4pm (in-person)*
  • Wednesdays 1pm-4pm (virtual)
  • Thursdays 1pm-4pm (virtual)
  • Fridays 9am-12pm (virtual)

*Tuesdays are the only in-person advising day

In-Person Advising* - Check-in at the CSI Front Desk, Price Center East, level 3 (map

  • Tuesdays 1-4pm

Visit the CSI Front Desk:

Price Center East, level 3 (map) | 858-534-1744 | 

Virtual Assistance from SILCs

Zoom Room for virtual advising: (Meeting ID: 975 1996 7026)

  • Dates & times coming soon

In-Person Assistance from SILCs*

Located on Price Center East, level 3 (map) | 858-534-1744

  • Dates & times coming soon

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