The Graduate Students' Association (GSA) was formed in 1967 with the aim of promoting and serving the intellectual, cultural and social interests of graduate students of the University. The GSA is dedicated to enhancing the experience of all graduate students and represents the collective interests of nearly 6,000 graduate students to the university, the Calgary community, and all levels of government.
Membership in the GSA consists of active members, associate members and honorary members. All students registered as full or part-time graduate students in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Environmental Design, and those in Post-Degree Continuous Learning programs are active members. Active members must pay the annual GSA fee, and automatically become members of The Last Defence Lounge.
The affairs of the GSA are managed by an executive body called the Board of Directors or (BoD) which is elected each spring for a one-year term. The positions include: President, Vice-President Academic, Vice-President Student Life and Vice-President Finance and Services. The Executive’s goals are facilitated by a team of full-time staff members who manage the day-to-day affairs of the GSA, and report directly to the elected BoD.
Graduate Representative Council (GRC)
The Graduate Representative Council (GRC) meets once a month and reviews and monitors GSA policies, practices and activities as reported by the BoD at each GRC meeting. In addition it ratifies the GSA’s annual draft budget. GRC meetings are an opportunity to network and catch up on all the important happenings across campus. Every department in every faculty is guaranteed one or more GRC representatives based on departmental graduate enrolment figures. Representatives are normally elected by their department’s graduate students in the fall term to act as liaisons between the GSA and their Departmental Graduate Associations (DGAs). It is the GRC that gives direction to the elected Executive body.
Departmental Graduate Associations (DGAs)
Through the GSA, each department of the university is able to form a Departmental Graduate Association (DGA). Start-up grants, the ability to apply for group funding, and receiving a discount for DGA functions at The Last Defence Lounge are just some of the benefits for DGAs. Many departments already have DGAs and the GSA encourages you to join yours—not only because it allows you to network within your department, but it fosters a stronger sense of community for graduate students. If your department doesn’t have a DGA and you’d like to form one, the process is quite simple: just stop by the GSA Main Office for more information or visit: http://www.gsa.ucalgary.ca.
Graduate Student Orientation
Graduate Orientation is a free orientation session given for new September and January graduate student registrants. While it is not mandatory, the GSA highly recommends that all new graduate students attend—even if they're U of C undergraduate alumni—in order to learn about the U of C graduate program, the GSA and countless other services/opportunities provided to graduate students. Plus, it gives graduate students a chance meet other graduate students. For more information on Graduate Orientation, please visit: http://www.ucalgary.ca/orientation/graduate.
Graduate Student Representation (External and Internal)
GSA representatives, including both the GSA executive and GRC representatives, sit as full voting members on most major committees of the university. As well, graduate students at the University of Calgary belong to provincial and national student organizations, such as the Alberta Graduate Council and the G13.
The GSA Office and The Last Defence Lounge (LDL)
The GSA main office is located on the third floor of the MacEwan Student Centre (MSC 350) which houses all of the GSA’s operations, including the Health and Dental Plan. Adjacent to the office is The Last Defence Lounge: a members-only lounge to which all members of the university community, and their guests, are welcome. Simply show your Campus ONEcard (UCID) to gain access to the lounge. There is no charge for membership. Please note, proof of age ID may also be required. For the latest lounge news, from events to daily specials, please visit: http://www.lastdefencelounge.ca.
The GSA provides many key services to graduate students, such as offering a Health and Dental Plan for all active members. The plan encompasses a wide variety of coverage at competitive rates and allows students to access critical services—from antibiotics and psychiatry to naturopathy and dental work. The GSA also provides a Career and Mentorship Program to help graduate students attain their desired career goals—whether this means re-entering industry after graduation or continuing on with academe. To contact the Career and Mentorship Graduate Program Director, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The University of Calgary also has an Ombudsperson available as a neutral party to help guide students through U of C policy and answer any questions they may have about their rights as students. To contact the U of C Ombudsperson, please email: email@example.com. As well, each spring, the GSA participates in the Alberta Graduate Conference: an inter-disciplinary conference for all graduate students in Alberta. This is a great way to get involved, get credit for your CV and meet other graduate students. For more information, you can visit: http://www.albertagrads.ca. Through the GSA, graduate students also have access to GSA bursaries and awards, various academic and professional skills workshops, and much, much more. To access a complete list of GSA services, visit the GSA website at: http://www.gsa.ucalgary.ca/. If you ever have questions or need help, please don’t hesitate to stop by the main office—the GSA is here to help you!
GSA Contact Information:
The Graduate Students’ Association
350, MacEwan Student Centre
2500 University Drive NW
GSA Office Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:30 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4:30 PM
Message from the GSA President
On behalf of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), I am pleased to welcome you to the University of Calgary. I would like to wish you every success in your graduate work and I know that you will enjoy a fulfilling experience at one of Canada’s top research universities.
The Graduate Students' Association, now in its forty-fourth year of operation, exists to represent and serve all graduate students at the University of Calgary. As a student-run organization, the GSA works hard with our full-time staff members to organize a host of activities to entertain and enrich the graduate student experience, including academic and professional skill development workshops, intramurals, and social events.
The GSA is here for you. We represent the interests of graduate students at the University of Calgary to the university administration, all levels of government, and the Calgary community. We work closely with our various lobby groups and other graduate student organizations to ensure your needs and interests are represented. In order to succeed, however, we need your input. There are many ways to get involved: send us an e-mail telling us what you want; participate in one of our campus-wide surveys; volunteer for Graduate Orientation; join or form your own Departmental Graduate Association (DGA); become your department’s rep to the Graduate Representative Council (GRC); or volunteer for a GSA standing committee. Remember, if your department doesn’t have a rep for GRC or a DGA, it’s easy to sign up—just contact the GSA main office and we’ll guide you through the process.
In addition to services and representation, the Graduate Students' Association is responsible for The Last Defence Lounge, located on the third floor of the MacEwan Student Centre. It's a great place to come for a meal, to attend GSA social events, or to enjoy a casual get-together with friends and colleagues.
On behalf of the entire GSA executive, the GRC and all the GSA staff, welcome to the University of Calgary. We hope you have a wonderful and productive year. For more information please check out our website at: http://www.gsa.ucalgary.ca.
Franco A. RizzutiGSA President 2011-12