The Catholic University of America


The Work of the Graduate Student Senator

Becoming a Senator

Complete the Appointment form or Appointment of an Alternate form; there are a limited number of spots per department.

Submit an Appointment Form to Esther Hudson,GSA Secretary, at the first meeting you attend.

Complete an Appointment of an Alternate form. You will be responsible for making it to as many senate meetings as possible. Only your alternate may attend in your place.

Attend the Senate meetings (typically 1 hour, roughly bi-weekly).

Your colleagues need to know who you are in order for you to represent them effecitvely. Ask your department's administrative assistant how to send an email to all enrolled grad students in your department. Introduce yourself and the work of the GSA.

NOTE: Even though your Dean or Chair must sign your Appointment Form, you do not represent the interests of the Dean, the Chair, or the faculty of your department. You come to the senate to represent the needs of graduate students only.


Role of the Senator in the University
Most departments or schools at CUA hold at least one seat in the Senate, the representative body that allocates the sum of all graduate student activity fees collected in the academic year. The role of each member is to participate in the deliberations and decisions of The Graduate Student Association, especially on how the association's fee revenue may best be put to use for the university's graduate students.

Departmental Role of the Senator

Each graduate-student senator, by attending greater than half of the senate meetings in a given semester, earns a rebate. This rebate is equal to graduate enrollment in the department multiplied by $20. The senator—and only the senator—has the authority to release departmental graduate student money. NOTE: Not even a senator's alternate can sign off on the senator's paperwork.

Privileges and Duties of the Senator
The most important privilege senators have is the oversight of the department's graduate students' funds. The work of the senator is to decide how to spend the money. Because the money earned by the senator comes from graduate students, it needs to return to them in the form of direct benefits.

Because a department’s rebate money comes from graduate-student activity-fees ($100/year), graduate students in your department need to be the direct beneficiaries of the rebate. Faculty, staff, and undergraduates have no claim on the money. Each group within the university has its own sources of funding. You are that resource for graduate students in your department.


Using Funds: Some Ideas

Gifts that keep on giving are the best use of rebate money:

Improving graduate-student lounge space. If your department has a lounge area for grad students or offices for TAs or any dedicated space for graduate students, you should consider buying high quality equipment that will benefit graduate students. An espresso-maker, printer, computers, art, office furnishings, bookcases, reference works, etc. Buy stuff that will last.

Dinner for comping students. After comprehensive exams, who is not fried? Treat your tired colleagues to dinner.

Outings to the theater, the opera, the symphony, etc. An outing that interests your dept's students is a great use of funds.

Dept-wide socials. Gathering professors and students together for a shared coffee break can be a great way to build camraderie.


Figure out how to send an email to every graduate student in your department. (The graduate student adviser in your department should be able to tell you how to do this.) Any event you put on needs to be advertised to all enrollees in your department. You’ll need your account balance. Having trouble figuring things out? University finances can be daunting. Just contact one of our officers: we’ll be happy to direct you to where you need to be.

Use of GSA funds for Alcohol-Related Purchases

Rules and guidelines for alcohol-related purchases

Important Links (in order of importance):
The Online Finance Guide (instructions for everything)
Purchasing Card Instructions ($0.01 - $2,500.00)
Staples Online Order Instructions
Other Online Order Instructions