State University of New York at Buffalo

310 Student Union

Box 602100

Amherst, NY 14260-2100

Voice: (716) 645-2960

FAX: (716) 645-7333

Introduction to GSA

What is the GSA?

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the representative body for graduate students at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Its two key purposes can be divided into representation and services. Its funds are derived from the Mandatory Student Fee ($33.25 on your bill) and go toward paying the GSA staff and numerous programs and services offered to GSA members. GSA is one of seven student governments at the University at Buffalo. These governments have seats on numerous University committees ranging from the Recreation & Intramural Service Board to the President's Review Board on Promotions and Tenure. GSA representatives sit on these committees (if interested, click). The GSA also represents the interest of the organization on the Sub Board I, Inc. Board of Directors which is the student corporation in which the seven student governments are members. The GSA President is the key representative to all of the administration such as the Dean of the Graduate School, the Provost and the President of the University. The GSA also represents graduate students beyond the University. The National Association of Graduate- Professional Students, of which GSA is a member, is an organization which exists across the country to represent the needs of graduate and professional students.

How did GSA begin?

The Graduate Student Association was created in 1962 to give graduate students a voice. In the 60s, it was the creation of a student lounge in the new Norton Union (today Norton Hall) that originally got the GSA on its feet. From that beginning, the GSA expanded to providing services for graduate students as well. It also became one of the caretakers in what Dennis Black, Dean of Students, calls "the great experiment." This "great experiment" was to allow students to control their own Mandatory Student Fee, that is its collection, amount and disbursement for programs which the students feel that they need.

Who is the GSA?

The GSA membership consists of all graduate students (i.e. students NOT enrolled in medical, dental, law, or MBA degree programs). The membership is organized by departmental clubs. Every department has a club who elects Senators to the GSA Senate. The Senate is the key governing body of the GSA. It's meets on the first Wednesday of every month and its approximately 80 members vote on decisions of policy and allocations of moneys the GSA possesses. The Senate also elects officers for the following year. The officers for academic year 1995-1996 are President Mark Frankel, Vice President Jena Osman and Treasurer Ellen Campfield.

Who is the GSA Staff?

Gena Zimmerman is the full-time Office Manager (and has been for over 20 years). She is one of the keys to our continued success because of her dedication and the continuity which she provides. If you have any dealings with the GSA, you will definitely get to know Gena.

Jung-Kuang Sun is the International Coordinator. He helps international graduate students with certain problems or questions that they may have. He also organizes and coordinates events with international themes.

Sharon Gelleny is the Director of the Mark Diamond Research Fund. The fund was created to give grants to graduate students in the latter stages of their theses or dissertations. These funds are distributed by a council. The Director is chair of the council and administrator of the fund.

Jim O'Loughlin and Piotr Meszynski are the Co-Editors of The Graduate Quill. The Quill is the official news source of the GSA and is delivered bi-weekly during the academic year to your mailbox (or near it) by Muhammad Anwar, Courier.

Where does the GSA get its money?

As mentioned above, the University collects a Mandatory Student Fee ($33.25 on your bill) which is then deposited with the GSA's (and all the other student governments) accounting and disbursing agent, Sub Board I, Inc. This fee, collected from roughly 6400 graduate students, generates a revenue for this year of approximately $480,000. This fee not only benefits the GSA directly but serves numerous other programs outlined at this site.

What programs/services does GSA fund?

The GSA also pays sizable portions of its budget to:

The GSA also functions as an advocate for any grievances, problems or difficulties graduate students may have with various aspects of academic life at the University. For teaching and graduate assistants, GSA can connect you with the Graduate Student Employees Union for questions relating to your employment and benefits.

More information about all of these services can be obtained by contacting the GSA Office, 310 Student Union, 645-2960. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday- Friday. Those hours do not include University holidays.

Jena Osman v210j9vn
last updated 2/7/96