In 1981, student leaders in the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA) created a proposal for the IU Office of the Vice President that would become the Student Advocates Office as it exists today.
The proposal noted the “bureaucratic runaround” that students felt on campus, and hoped that an office such as Student Advocates might provide "individualized guidance and problem solving.”
One of the most unique aspects of the original request was the staff design. The proposal intended advocates to be retired faculty volunteers, because retired faculty held an innate passion for students but most important they “possess a wealth of knowledge concerning inner campus activities.” In addition, faculty have the foundation of expertise needed to navigate the campus for any student experiencing problems, and a deep understanding of existing resources that may be of help.
The Student Advocates Office opened its door on August 30, 1982 with a staff of five volunteer advocates and five alternates. Today, the Student Advocates Office employs one full-time director, three full-time professional staff, and a minimum of twenty volunteer advocates to handle the current student caseload.
Proposed nearly forty years ago by IU students, the Student Advocates Office today is a widely-used service that continues to grow. It is integral as support to the Division of Student Affairs Care Team, Dean of Students and campus community.