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Graduate Studies Calendar 2015-2016 Graduate Students' Association (GSA)
Graduate Students' Association (GSA)

The GSA represents the collective interests of over 6,000 graduate students to the university community, Calgary, and all levels of government. Facilitating a health and dental program, the association is dedicated to enhancing the well-being and student experience of all University of Calgary graduate students. The GSA owns and operates the Last Defence Lounge to enhance and contribute to the greater student experience. Find out more about your GSA at:

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

University of Calgary in Qatar Graduate Students’ Association (UCQ GSA)
The UCQ GSA provides separate membership to, and represents graduate students at the University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) campus. UCQ GSA is affiliated with the GSA. The GSA is proud to extend our services, including Departmental Graduate Associations support, representation on University of Calgary 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 titled the Board of Directors or (BoD). This board is elected each spring for a one-year term. The positions include:

Vice-President Student Life:
Vice-President Finance and Services:

The five executives and their team of staff and student volunteers support our members and advance the Association goals. According to section D.3 (Graduate Calendar), GSA Executive are released from course, research, and teaching responsibilities in proportion to the expectations of their role with the GSA. As well, GSA Executive can qualify for an extra year of study without penalty (section D.6).

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

The President is the official spokesperson and chief advocate of the Association. The President is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the GSA’s strategic plan. This includes being the graduate students’ representative on the University of Calgary Board of Governors.

The Vice-President Academic is responsible for all academic matters affecting graduate students. This includes advocating the academic interests and concerns of graduate students as well as overseeing Graduate Assistantship (Non-) Teaching GA(N)Ts, GSA Awards, and joint oversight of the Ombudsperson.

The Vice-President External (VPExt) is the chief government relations officer of the Association. The VPExt is responsible for the GSA’s government and community engagement. This includes being the graduate students’ representative on the University of Calgary Senate.

The Vice-President Student Life 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 responsible for all GSA services, including oversight of the GSA’s Health & Dental plan, the GSA’s employer liaison program (ELP), collaboration with My GradSkills and all student workshops; the VPF&S is also responsible for oversight of the GSA’s finances including GSA’s Quality Money allocation, and emergency student loans.

If you are interested in running for an executive position, visit

Volunteering Opportunities
The GSA offers a variety of opportunities to get involved with the university community. From one-time events to longer volunteer positions, there are many ways you can come out and make a difference. Throughout the year, there are small projects and events that you could help organize. Check out up-to-date opportunities at or contact

Graduate Representative Council (GRC)
The Graduate Representative Council (GRC) meets regularly throughout the year to review and monitor 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:

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 are University of Calgary undergraduate alumni—in order to learn about the University of Calgary 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:

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 Provincial Advocacy Council (GPAC), the Western Canadian Alliance of GSAs (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, visit:

GSA Health & Dental Plan
The GSA provides its active members with 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 are provided on the GSA website:

GSA Services
The GSA provides many key services to graduate students, including the health & dental plan (details above) and access to numerous university services and resources. The GSA is also 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 Coordinator email: The University of Calgary also has an Ombudsperson available as a neutral party to help guide students through University of Calgary policy and answer any questions they may have about their rights as students. To contact the University of Calgary Ombudsperson, email: 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.

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

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