September 19, 2014

Meliora - Ever Better

AS&E Graduate Student Association

General Questions

  1. How do I become a GSA department representative?
  2. What are my responsibilities as a GSA department representative?
  3. What is a General Meeting?
  4. I want to plan a graduate student event, can GSA support me?
  5. What makes an event more likely to be funded?
  6. Is GSA a tax exempt organization?
  7. What is the best way to pay for my event?

Social Event FAQs

  1. Can I submit an application for just an event idea rather than a completely planned event?
  2. Why do I need to submit my application for funding at least two weeks in advance?
  3. I would like to plan an event with other schools outside of GSA (e.g., RIT, Simon School of Business, the Med School, Eastman School of Music, etc.). Are there special considerations for these types of events?
  4. Will GSA provide funding for events with alcohol?
  5. How much funding will GSA consider is reasonable to request for my event?
  6. I’m worried that my event will be too expensive. How can I try to make it affordable?

Academic Event FAQs

  1. Can I submit an application for just an event idea rather than a completely planned event?
  2. Why do I need to submit my application for funding at least two weeks in advance?
  3. What type of academic events does GSA prefer to fund?

Conference Travel Award FAQs

  1. My work has been accepted at a conference. Can I apply for funding from GSA to attend?
  2. When should I apply for a conference travel award?
  3. How do I apply for a conference travel award?
  4. Who evaluates conference travel award applications?
  5. What can I do to improve my conference travel award application?
  6. Can I be a reviewer for conference travel awards?

General Questions

How do I become a GSA department representative?
Every department in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering is entitled to have a GSA department representative. Usually this representative is chosen by the graduate students in the department to serve or a one year term. Contact the GSA Communications Officer to find out who your department representative is. If you department does not have representative, check with your graduate studies coordinator to see if there is already a procedure for electing department representatives. If no formal procedure is in place and you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact a member of the GSA executive committee (link to contact info here) and we can help you get this set up in your department.

What are my responsibilities as a GSA department representative?
As a department representative you are in charge of representing the graduate students in your department and to create a communication channel between them and the GSA executive committee. This is done through participation in General meetings held twice a year, advertising GSA events in your department and helping GSA get feedback from your department. The department representatives as a group are responsible for voting on changes to the GSA Constitution. All department representatives are also VERY welcome to the board meeting that takes place every 2 weeks. We encourage all the department representatives to attend at least a few of these board meetings per year.

What is a General Meeting?
The General Meeting takes place twice per year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The GSA executive committee and the department representatives meet to discuss progress over the semester and discuss and plan solutions to important issues pertaining to graduate students. In addition, department representatives must ratify any proposed changes to the GSA Constitution at these meetings.

I want to plan a graduate student event, can GSA support me?
Almost any event that targets multiple departments or a large part of the graduate community can request funding from GSA. Depending on the type of event the organizers should contact the Social Programming Officer ( if the event is social in spirit ) or the Academic Programming Officer ( if the event is academic in spirit ) or both (if the event might be both or if you are unsure). For more information please look at Social Events and Academic Events part of the FAQ or ask any of the board members. GSA organizes many events throughout the year and the Programming Officers can provide very valuable ideas and help your event, and would be happy to provide support for your event even if funding is not requested.

What makes an event more likely to be funded?
GSA tries to fund events that cater to people from multiple departments. In general, the narrower the target audience of the event, the less likely it is to be funded. Events must also be open to the entire graduate student community. We prefer that events are also made affordable to GSA members. This means that we would like to make the event either free or discounted (with the help of GSA funds) for graduate students to attend. The event should also be as affordable as possible for GSA to fund. This means that we will assist event planners in finding ways to more efficiently allocate their budgets or how to raise funding from additional sources.

For any individual event, we generally will not fund more than $500. If you’re concerned that your event will be too expensive, please contact the GSA board (generally the Social Programming Officer or Academic Programming Officer) for ideas about how to make your event affordable.

Is GOG a Tax Exempt Organization?
Yes, GSA is a tax exempt organization. Make sure your vendor is aware of this from the start of your interaction. If they require a copy of our tax exempt form, please let the GSA Treasurer (link to contact info here) know and he/she can provide one for you.

What is the best Way to Pay for My Event?
The methods available to pay for GSA sponsored events are listed below:

Invoice:
GSA prefers paying vendors using an invoice whenever possible. Contact the vendor you plan on using and ask them if they will give you an invoice for the cost of the purchase. If you submit the invoice to the GSA Treasurer he/she will be able to make out a check directly to the vendor. If the invoice amount is more than the amount of your GSA funds, you can still use an invoice to pay the vendor. If you provide the GSA Treasurer the remaining balance in cash or in check we can process the whole invoice amount for you. An invoice must contain specific information, please use the sample below as a template. Invoices that do not contain all the required information cannot be processed.

Purchase Order:
Several vendors in the area will accept purchase orders. Call your vendor to see if this is an acceptable method of payment. Make sure you have the vendors contact information before requesting a purchase order form the GSA Treasurer. When you use the purchase order the vendor will fill in the amount spent and will keep the white copy. Bring back the remaining copies along with the sales receipt to the GSA Treasurer.

Blue Requisition Form:
If you are utilizing services on-campus (i.e. event support, campus catering, etc.) the simplest method is to use a Blue Requisition Form. Simply contact the GSA Treasurer and he/she can assist you. Wegman’s, Wal-Mart, and Target: We have special arrangements with these vendors in the area. The GSA Treasurer can provide you with a store card to make purchases at these vendors. You must give the Treasurer at least three days notice to reserve a card. The card along with all receipts must be returned immediately after use to the GSA Treasurer.

Petty Cash:
If none of the above methods are acceptable for your needs the GSA Treasurer can obtain cash for you. All remaining money along with ALL receipts must be promptly returned to the GSA Treasurer for deposit. A petty cash request must be made at least one week ahead of the expected date of purchase for processing.

Personal Reimbursement:
You should only spend your own money when there is no possible way for you to secure any of the above methods of payment. This should rarely, if ever, happen. You should plan out your event and provide the GSA Treasurer with enough notice to properly fund your event. If it is apparent when you seek reimbursement that lack of proper planning was the culprit, you risk the forfeiture of your access to GSA funding at the GSA Executive Committee’s discretion.

Social Event FAQs

Can I submit an application for just an event idea rather than a completely planned event?
Absolutely! To let us know about your ideas, please e-mail the acting Social Programming Officer about your idea, and we’ll be in touch with you! For an event idea, you don’t need to fill out the application form right away; discuss the idea with the Social Officer first and then figure out how best to proceed. We love to hear ideas from the graduate community for fun things to do. Please let us know when you e-mail us if you’d be willing to be involved in the planning of the event as well.

Why do I need to submit my application for funding at least two weeks in advance?
This guideline is to ensure that we have time to communicate with the event planners (you and your fellow organizers) before the event is finalized (e.g., when advertisements have already gone out, particulars can’t be changed). By having people plan in advance, we can be more flexible about working with event planners to make sure their event fits our guidelines. This 2-weeks in advance deadline also helps ensure that events are well planned so that they best serve the graduate community. Also, please remember that graduate events must be registered with the College and receive appropriate approval from campus dining (if food is involved) and security (especially at event with alcohol or a DJ). This approval process can take several weeks to complete, thus you must be planning you event with plenty of time in advance. To determine the specific requirements for the event you would like to plan please contact the University’s Graduate Student Coordinator (link to Kyle Orton’s contact info here) <<< need link >>>.

I would like to plan an event with other schools outside of GSA (e.g., RIT, Simon School of Business, the Med School, Eastman School of Music, etc.). Are there special considerations for these types of events?
We are happy working with other schools to have joint events. However, these events can sometimes require a little more advanced planning to set-up than GSA-only events. For events of this type, the Social Programming Officer must be involved in the planning. Also, because of the extra logistics involved in these events, they typically need considerably more time for planning and coordinating, so please make sure to submit your idea or application as early as possible.

Will GOG provide funding for events with alcohol?
GSA can provide funding for alcohol. In order to do this, people must bring a valid ID with birth-date so that we can ensure they are 21 years old. In general, we try to make sure there are a variety of events (e.g., not all GSA events have alcohol) in order to cater to the diversity of the graduate community. If you are planning an event on campus with alcohol, the Social Programming Officer (link to contact info) and the University Graduate Student Coordinator (link to Kyle Orton’s contact info) should be informed several weeks in advance as special approval will be required by security.

How much funding will GSA consider is reasonable to request for my event?
This depends on the event. We try to make events as affordable as possible and have as many events as possible. Because of this and our budget constraints, we generally will not fund more than $500 for any single event. We typically will only fund a maximum of $500 for very large events as well, provided that they have a significant appeal for the entire GSA community.

I’m worried that my event will be too expensive. How can I try to make it affordable?
Please contact the acting Social Programming Officer! We have a lot of experience in getting good deals or “bang for our buck” with events. We can also help you think of alternative ways to raise funds for your event. We’d love to work with you to try to make your event happen!

Academic Programming FAQs

Can I submit an application for just an event idea rather than a completely planned event?
Absolutely! Please e-mail the current Academic Programming Officer (link to contact info here) about your idea, and we’ll be in touch with you. For an event idea, you don’t need to fill out the application form right away; discuss the idea with the Academic Officer first and then figure out how best to proceed. We love to hear ideas from the graduate community for cultural, intellectual, and professional advancement-related events. Please let us know when you e-mail us if you’d be willing to be involved in the planning of the event as well.

Why do I need to submit my application for funding at least two weeks in advance?
This guideline is to ensure that we have time to communicate with the event planners (you and your fellow organizers) before the event is finalized (e.g., when advertisements have already gone out, particulars can’t be changed). By having people plan in advance, we can be more flexible about working with event planners to make sure their event fits our guidelines. This 2-weeks in advance deadline also helps ensure that events are well planned so that they best serve the graduate community. Also, please remember that graduate events must be registered with the College and receive appropriate approval from campus dining (if food is involved) and security (especially at event with alcohol or a DJ). This approval process can take several weeks to complete, thus you must be planning you event with plenty of time in advance. To determine the specific requirements for the event you would like to plan please contact the University’s Graduate Student Coordinator (link to Kyle Orton’s contact info here) <<< need link >>>.

What type of academic events does GSA prefer to fund?
GSA prefers funding academic events of broad interest that cater to graduate students in more than one department. Speakers, conferences, and cultural events are all possibilities. The event must be open to all graduate students and successful applications will include a comprehensive plan for campus-wide advertisement of the event. Providing sample advertisements with the completed application is strongly recommended. If you have questions about how appropriate your event is for GSA sponsorship, contact the current Academic Committee Chair.

Conference Travel Award FAQs

My work has been accepted for a conference. Can I apply for funding from GSA to attend?
Congratulations! Yes, you can apply for a conference travel award from GSA. GSA grants a limited number of awards each year for a maximum amount of $300 each. Applications are considered twice a year, in the Fall and Spring. AS&E GSA Conference Travel Award Application.

When should I apply for a conference travel award?
Applications in the fall semester should be for conferences that occur in that semester, the previous summer, or the following spring. Applications for the spring semester should be for conferences that occur in that semester, the previous fall, or the upcoming summer. An accepted abstract must accompany your application, so this will determine when you apply for an award. AS&E GSA Conference Travel Award Application.

How do I apply for a conference travel award?
The online application form can be found AS&E GSA Conference Travel Award Application.

Who evaluates conference travel award applications?
Conference/travel award applications are reviewed by at least five of your peers. These five reviewers will be selected from the broad categories of “humanities” and “sciences.” Science applications are reviewed by other science students, and humanities applications are reviewed by other humanities students.

What can I do to improve my conference travel award application?
The most important thing you can do to make your application successful is to explain your work in a clear and concise manner. Your application will be reviewed by other students from either Sciences or humanities. In most cases your reviewers will not have all the specific background to understand certain techniques, terminology, or the relevance of your work. Write your application as an academic document, but make sure that it is understandable to a very general audience.

Can I be a reviewer for conference travel awards?
Absolutely! GSA is always happy to accept students interested in reviewing travel/conference awards. The only restriction is that you cannot review applications if you are applying for funding yourself during the same semester, as that would be a conflict of interest. Please contact the AS&E GSA Conference Travel Award Application for more details.

Need Disability Services?

If you or someone you know need disability accomodations to any GSA event please feel free to contact GSA directly at : GSA@rochester.edu

Contact your GSA

If you have any questions, comments, ideas or concerns please contact GSA directly at : GSA@rochester.edu

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