The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is the governing body of approximately 4,000 on-campus and 2,000 off-campus graduate students. The GSA represents students’ concerns and serves as their liaison with the University Administration. GSA members also serve on a variety of University commissions and committees. In addition, the GSA administers two grant programs to directly promote the research and educational efforts of its members. The GSA strongly promotes graduate student community across departments by providing social events that foster inter-departmental interdisciplinary conversation. Every year, the GSA governing board, council, and general assembly work to improve campus life, scholarly development, and graduate community by creating and implementing goals based on the issues and concerns of graduate students on campus.
The Executive Board of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), per the organization's Constitution, consists of six elected officers, one non-voting ex officio member, one non-voting support staff member, and two advisors. Contact them via email@example.com
The 2018-2019 Executive Board Officers were elected by the General Assembly in Spring 2018.
President: Samantha Fried
Vice President: Veronica Schott
Director of Programs: Chelsea Corkins
Director of Finance: Bronson Weston
Director of Communications: Martina Svyantek
Director of Events: Lehi Dowell
Board of Visitors Representative (Non-Voting, Ex Offico): Zo Amani
Administrative Director (Non-Voting, Staff Support): Joshua Slaughenhoupt
A/P Faculty Advisor: Scott Nachlis, Assistant Director for Student Governance
Faculty Advisor: Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education Karen DePauw
For more information, visit our community blog space.
The Graduate Student Assembly is the main conduit through which issues important to graduate students can intersect and be discussed. In accordance to the GSA Constitution and Bylaws, each department of the University that offers graduate programs is eligible to select up to two voting Delegates. Currently, Interdisciplinary Programs that are administered by more than one department are considered a departmental equivalent, and are eligible for up to two voting Delegates as well. Schools within the University, as established in accordance to University Policy 6150 (e.g., School of Education, School of Architecture + Design, etc.) have variable representation, and are handled on a case-by-case basis. In addition, three prominent graduate student organizations were granted up to two voting Delegates by the current GSA Bylaws: the Black Graduate Student Organization, the Council of International Student Organizations, and Queer Grads, Professionals, and Allies.
Departmental Delegates are the democratic foundation of the GSA. While the current GSA Constitution and Bylaws do not stipulate how the Delegates are selected at the Department level, the GSA recommends some form of democratic process, such as an election. Graduate students and Delegates from particular Departments are encouraged to promote the democratic election of Departmental Delegates to ensure a firm democratic foundation of the GSA, as well as accountability of the Delegates to their constituent graduate students.
The chief responsibilities and powers of Departmental Delegates are their votes at the GSA General Assembly. All decisions, elections, and resolutions of the GSA are determined by the Departmental Delegates. Moreover, executive powers of the GSA are granted through the election of the GSA Executive Board members by the Departmental Delegates at the GSA General Assembly.
The Delegates are also responsible for gathering and evaluating information and issues from their constituent graduate students, and bringing them forth for discussion and action at the GSA General Assembly meetings. The GSA General Assembly serves as the main deliberative body where discussions will ultimately result in recommendations to the GSA Executive Board, as well as resolutions that can proceed to a higher level of deliberation within University Governance. The GSA is a powerful voice, as it has voting seats in all of the University Governance bodies (i.e., University Council and its commissions and committees; see Commissions and Committees).
Bi-directional communication is key to the success of the GSA. Hence, the Delegates are also responsible for the dissemination of information and happenings of the GSA to their constituent graduate students. The GSA provides important programming and funding opportunities that seek to benefit all graduate students at Virginia Tech. The success of these programs, and the accessibility of these funding opportunities, hinges on a strong network of communication between Virginia Tech governance, graduate student governance, and the graduate student constituency.
For a list of current Departmental Delegates/Delegates-at-Large or to contact the Vice President and Director of Legislative Affairs about serving, visit our community blog space.
One of the primary aims of the GSA is to serve the graduate student population by soliciting and listening to constituent suggestions and concern, by taking those directly to university administrators and stakeholders, and by presenting them in various commissions across the university's governance structure. This crucial exchange of infomation is accomplished for the most part during open forums in our monthly General Assembly meetings.
The General Assembly meets once a month during the academic year, and is a public forum. All graduate students and guests are welcome to attend. For more information on dates and meeting agendas as well as how we advocate for you and your needs as a graduate student, check out or social media or visit our community blog space.
The Travel Fund Program (TFP) is the GSA’s most popular program. The GSA strives to address the needs of Virginia Tech graduate students, and the TFP is designed to meet these needs by providing graduate students some financial assistance to travel and present their research at regional, state-level, and national scholarly conferences. The TFP runs in two cycles each academic year, and students may only apply for one cycle. Eligible expenses include airfare/gasoline, conferences registration fees, lodging, meals, and other miscellaneous expenditures. The program can be used to support domestic or international travel. The TFP is not a competitive program, but there are eligibility criteria which must be met. Additionally, TFP funded travel must be approved by your advisor.
For more information about this program, its criteria, how to apply, and deadlines, visit our community blog space. This program is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Virginia Tech Office of the Provost.
The Graduate Research Development Program (GRPD) is a program administered by the GSA to provide monetary support for research conducted by degree-seeking Virginia Tech graduate students. This funding opportunity is available to graduate students twice a year, in two cycles for each academic year: fall and spring. Students can be awarded up to $750 (Masters proposals) or $1,000 (Doctoral proposals). All full-time graduate students enrolled at Virginia Tech are eligible to apply. Students may not receive more than one GRDP award per academic year. Assistance through the GRDP is competitive: fellow graduate students from many disciplines review and score applications to ensure fairness in the grant awarding process.
The GSA Research Symposium and Exposition (GSARS) is an annual event organized by GSA since 1984. It is a unique opportunity for graduate and advanced undergraduate students to bring together ideas and research findings from different disciplines and showcase their scholarly pursuit and achievements.
The GSA Research Symposium and Exposition provides a platform for exhilarating exchanges of ideas, invigorating interactions, and valuable interdisciplinary networking between students, faculty, research groups, and corporate bodies. The aim is to create a foundation for future academic and professional presentations.
Presentations are judged by faculty of varied disciplines, and cash prizes may be awarded for top presenters and posters. For more information, visit our community blog space.
The Graduate-Undergraduate Mentorship Program (GUMP) is designed to help undergraduate students decide if graduate school is the right choice for them. Mentors will provide undergraduates with a realistic viewpoint about the application process, expectations, and what it is really like to be in graduate school. This program is for anyone considering graduate school (MS and Ph.D. programs) in any field, provided there is a mentor in that area. Examples of activities and interactions that mentors often share with their mentees are: lab tours, research activities in a field or studio setting, attendance at graduate level classes, attendance at seminars, attendance at social events on campus or in the community, networking with other graduate students and faculty, talking over coffee or a meal to answer questions, and more.
For additional information, visit our community blog space.
Every November, the GSA partners with the VT Women's Center, the Graduate School, and the on-campus daycare program to offer the Little Hokie(tm) Hand Me Down used goods drive. This event is 100% free! We ask grad students, families, and staff to donate gently used babies' supplies, toys, clothing, books, car seats, bikes, and much more which are all collected in early November at the GLC Welcome Desk or VT Women's Center. Then, the week before Thanksgiving break, grad student mothers- and families-to-be and their children are welcome to peruse the donations and take a bag full of goods with them! Items that remain after this popular two-day event are given to local charities.
If you have questions about this event, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dr. Rich "Richy Angel" Rodrigues Cap and Gown Use Program, named in honor of a former GSA officer, allows graduating Masters and Doctoral students to borrow a cap and gown free of charge. The GSA maintains a limited number of caps and gowns for use during fall and spring commencement ceremonies. Interested students will have the opportunity to fill out a survey and be entered in a lottery.
Explore our community blog space for more information on applying for this unique program.
The GSA offers poster tubes and presenters (i.e., presentation clickers) for graduate students to borrow for use during class or conference presentations. These items may be taken to conferences at locations other than Blacksburg, and may be checked out for up to 7 days. There are a limited number of tubes and presenters available, and they will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any graduate student can pick them up at the Welcome Desk in the GLC, Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm, or Saturday from 9am-2pm. Simply bring your Hokie Passport to the GLC, tell one of the staff members behind the desk that you are interested in borrowing one of these items, and sign it out. Students may only borrow one tube and one presenter at a time unless given explicit special permission from the Director of Programs. Questions? Email email@example.com.
Each year, the GSA hosts the Graduate and Professional School Fair (GPSF), the largest of its kind in the New River Valley, and also the GSA's biggest fundraiser! Recruiters from over 100 institutions, universities, organizations, and professional preparation companies come to Virginia Tech to recruit from among the 500+ undergraduates and terminal master's degree students who attend. This event is typically held in September each year. For more information, visit our community blog space.
The GSA is dedicated to hosting and collaborating on events that foster a sense of community and relationality among graduate students. The goal of these events is to enable conversations that cross disciplinary boundaries and, of course, to encourage the development of new friendships and networking opportunities within our community. The GSA raises funds to finance most of these events throughout the year.
Twice a semester, we host Dialogues with the Dean in a casual, small group setting (with snacks - in the past we've served breakfast, guacamole and chips, cupcakes, and donuts) in which the Dean hears and responds to your praises and concerns. Three times per year, we host our most popular event, the Beer and Wine Social, in which graduate students can enjoy a relaxing time of beer and wine tasting together. Each spring, we also host the Big Spring Event. For this event, in the past we've held casino nights, puppy play dates, ice cream socials, barbecues, speed dating, movie screenings, formal dances and dinners, theme parties, and much more! We're also always open to new ideas, too, so let us know if you have an event you'd like to see, and we might be able to make it happen.
Check out our social media pages and our community blog space for information on upcoming events.
All graduate and professional students at Virginia Tech campuses across the state are automatically members of the GSA. Some regional campuses have their own GSAs as well, and we encourage collaboration with those organizations. You can get involved by coming to our General Assembly meetings, serving as a Departmental Delegate or Delegate-at-Large, attending or volunteering at one of our many events, serving as a Program Chair, or running for office! Explore our community blog space to find more information and opportunities for service and leadership opportunities as well as fun activities in which you can engage with your fellow grad students. You can also email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
25 Graduate Life Center (0186)
155 Otey St
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office hours: By appointment only
Phone: (540) 231-1693
Email: email@example.com, or click here for a list of emails for specific inquiries
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