One of my many projects this semester is to work on establishing a student advisory board for my library. We have established a good relationship with the Student Government Association, so we’re getting really useful feedback and support from them. But we’d also like to get input from students that are not actively involved in SGA — whether that’s because they’re not that connected to the campus yet, because they have other activities taking up most of their time, because they’re commuters, etc. And, of course, we want grad student input as well!
So I’ve been searching around online for examples of student advisory boards. (I LOVE the ones that post bylaws and procedural documents so that I can see exactly what they do!) I’ve found lots of examples and a couple of articles/books on the topic.
So far, it looks like two different approaches are common:
1. Meetings open to everyone with free lunch provided
2. Fill out application and be selected to serve
It seems that the first option would draw a lot of people in, but may be limited in that you might get a group of friends from a single major that see the free food sign, but not get any input from people from other colleges/departments at your university. So the meetings could be really hit-or-miss. The second option might limit how many people get involved, but would let you do more to get a more diverse group involved. The other benefit that I see with the second option is that being selected gives it a bit of added prestige – so might be attractive as something to put on one’s resume.
So now I have a few questions for you, dear readers. Have you worked with a student advisory board in the past? How were students recruited/selected? Which method would you recommend? Did you encounter any unexpected hurdles that I should keep an eye out for?
And, of course, if you have been involved in establishing a student advisory board, I’d love to hear any and all advice you can offer!