University of Calgary : Graduate Students' Association (GSA)


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Graduate Students' Association (GSA)

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 over 6,000 graduate students to the university, the Calgary community, and all levels of government. Find out more about your GSA at: http://www.gsa.ucalgary.ca/.

GSA Membership
The membership of the GSA consists of active members, affiliate, associate members and honorary members. All students registered as full- or part-time graduate students in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, or in the Credit Certificate and Diploma Program are active members. Active members must pay the annual GSA fee, and automatically become members of The Last Defence Lounge.

UCalgary Qatar Graduate Students’ Association (UCQ GSA)
The UCQ GSA provides separate membership to, and represents graduate students at the UCalgary Qatar (UCQ) campus. UCQ GSA is affiliated with the GSA. The GSA is proud to extend our services, including DGA support, representation on UCalgary committees, and representation in appeals to UCQ graduate students. Please note that although UCQ GSA is affiliated with the GSA, the memberships are separate and differ from other forms of GSA membership and thus the GSA’s Collective Agreement and bargaining do not extend to UCQ GSA members.

GSA Executive
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. According to section B.6 (Graduate Calendar) GSA Executive can qualify for an extra year of study without penalty. The four executives and their team of staff and senior student volunteers support our members and advance the Association goals.

To serve our members, each executive is responsible for specifics aspects of your Associations:

The President is the official spokesperson of the Association and your chief advocate to membership, the university, all levels of government, and the broader community. The President is also the GSA appointee to the Alberta Graduate Council (AGC) albertagrads.ca, which advocates graduate student interests to the provincial government.

The Vice-President Academic (VPA) is generally responsible for all matters pertaining to GSA or university academic affairs, this includes oversight of the Graduate Assistantship (Non-) Teaching GA(N)Ts , GSA Awards, joint oversight of the Ombudsperson, and consultation on tuition & fees.

The Vice-President Student Life (VPSL) is responsible for all issues and matters relating to Departmental Graduate Student Associations (DGAs), oversight of the GSA’s Last Defence Lounge (LDL), the GSA’s International students’ chair, and all member relations including communication and events.

The Vice-President Finance & Services (VPF&S) is generally responsible for all GSA services, including oversight of the GSA’s Health & Dental plan, the GSA’s employer liaison program (ELP), collaboration with MyGrad Skills and all student workshops; the VP (F&S) is also responsible for oversight of the GSA’s finances including GSA’s Quality Money allocation, and emergency student loans.

Feel free to contact the GSA executives via:

President: pres@gsa.ucalgary.ca or 403.220.3501
VP Academic: vpa@gsa.ucalgary.ca
VP Student Life: vpsl@gsa.ucalgary.ca
VP Finance & Services: vpfs@gsa.ucalgary.ca

Graduate Representative Council (GRC)
The Graduate Representative Council (GRC) meets regularly throughout the year 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 liaise 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). Some of the benefits of joining a DGA are: start-up grants, the ability to apply for group funding, and a discount for DGA functions at The Last Defence Lounge. 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 and 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/graduates.

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 (AGC), the Western Canadian Alliance of GSA’s (WCA-GSA) and the Graduate Group of 15 (GU15).

The GSA Office and The Last Defence Lounge (LDL)
The GSA main office is located on the second floor of the MacKimmie Tower (MT 214) which houses all of the GSA’s operations, including the health and dental plan. The Last Defence Lounge, a members-only lounge to which all members of the university community, and their guests are welcome, is located on the third floor of the MacEwan Student Centre. Simply show your 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.

GSA Health & Dental Plan
The GSA provides its active members access to a comprehensive extended Health and Dental Plan. Through enrolment in a graduate program at the university and paying of fees, active members are automatically enrolled in the GSA’s extended Health & Dental plan. 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.

Details provided on the GSA website: http://gsa.ucalgary.ca/health.

For additional information about the Health & Dental plan please visit http://gsa.ucalgary.ca/services/health.html.

GSA Services
The GSA provides many key services to graduate students, including the health & dental plan (details above), access to numerous university services and resources, as well are proud to run the Employer Liaison Program (ELP) 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 ELP Co-ordinator email: careers@gsa.ucalgary.ca. 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: ombuds@ucalgary.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.

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
214, MacKimmie Tower
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary AB
T2N 1N4
Tel: 403.220.5997
Fax: 403.282.8992
http://www.gsa.ucalgary.ca

GSA Office Hours:
Monday & Wednesday 12 (noon)-5pm
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 10am-3pm