The Council was formed in 1942 by a group of employees interested in issues of importance to staff employees. The group was first called the University of Illinois Civil Service Committee. The primary function of the committee was to disburse campus vending machine funds. The committee sponsored an employee jamboree, bowling leagues, a scholarship for a dependent of a staff member, and helped establish the Recognition Program that honored employees with 25 or more years of continuous service.
In 1956, the Council reorganized and changed its name to the Nonacademic Employees Council. The committee’s stated purpose was to serve Staff employees and to effectively allocate and spend the campus vending machine proceeds.
In 1971, distribution of campus vending machine profit to students and staff was discontinued. Again, the Council changed directions. Its current charge is to work with the Director of Staff Human Resources in the solution of problems relating to all Staff employees and provide a means of informing employees of issues of interest and importance to their jobs and benefits.
The Council has always been active on committees affecting Staff employees’ work conditions, benefits, educational opportunities, and other activities that might impact them. Members of the Council have also sponsored concession stands at the Illini football games and have donated the proceeds to the Civil Service Employee and Dependent Scholarship Fund.
The Council was instrumental in getting the "non-academic" designation changed to "staff". In 1991, the name of the Council was changed and they became the Staff Advisory Council. Today the Council serves to review many changes in policy and procedure that concern Staff employees.