This frequently asked questions (FAQ) page provides brief answers for most commonly asked questions. We are in the process of adding more questions and answers. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at gso@syr.edu with any questions or concerns.

::: The GSO :::

What is the GSO? Am I a member of the GSO?

The GSO is comprised of (graduate student) representatives from degree-granting programs and elected officials. The GSO also represents graduate students in the University Senate and to the University leadership, allowing graduate students a voice in the larger issues of the University. In addition to the representation of all graduate students at SU, the GSO provides (by funding) services to graduate students, such as Student Legal ServicesGraduate Career ServicesThe Inn Complete, and more. All main campus graduate students are members of the GSO. (More info)

What is the GSO Senate?

The GSO Senate is the highest decision-making body in the GSO. Comprised of (graduate student) representatives from academic programs across campus, it meets approximately monthly to debate and vote on many matters of importance, including calls for action to the University’s administration, funding for student organizations, and more. (More info here and here)

When are the GSO Senate meetings held?

The GSO Senate meets every three-four weeks throughout an academic year. You can visit http://gradorg.syr.edu/meetings-minutes/ for a calendar of meetings.

Who is on the GSO Executive Board?

The GSO Executive Board is comprised of seven officers: President, Vice President of Internal Affairs, Vice President of External Affairs, Comptroller, Financial Secretary, Communications Secretary and Recording Secretary.

What are the responsibilities of Executive Officers?

The Executive Board carries out the decisions made in the GSO Senate and manage day-to-day business operations of the GSO. Main responsibilities of the Executive Board and its officers can be found in Article II of the GSO Constitution.

What do I need to do to run for an open Executive Officer position?

You may nominate yourself (self-nominate) or be nominated by a Senator or Officer in the GSO Senate at the Senate meeting in which elections are held. Once nominations are closed, the Senate will ask all nominees to briefly introduce themselves and tell the Senate why they would be the best fit for that position (i.e., why should you be elected?). Alternatively, when allowed, you may e-mail the Chair of the Senate, VP of Internal Affairs (gsointernalvp@syr.edu), and self-nominate along with a message to the Senate about yourself and why you’re running for the open position. The Senate then votes, concluding the elections.

What are the benefits of being an Executive Officer?

Besides being an excellent addition to your resumé/CV, Executive Officers may serve on University-wide committees/workgroups/task forces, which connects them to faculty, staff, and administrators across the University and sometimes beyond. Executive Officers are also paid stipends and are required to put in work hours accordingly. (Please note that international students (20-hour campus-only work restriction) or graduate assistants with departmental contracts may not be eligible for paid positions due to IRS regulations or contractual restrictions.)

What does an Academic Program Senator do?

Academic Program Senators (APS) represent fellow graduate students in their respective programs of study (e.g., Bioengineering Ph.D. Program) in the GSO Senate. An APS attends the GSO Senate meetings to serve as the voice of the graduate students s/he represents.

How do I become an Academic Program Senator?

We encourage graduate students in each program of study at SU to elect/select/designate a representative to serve as an APS in the GSO Senate. We understand that there may not be an official process set up in your program, and therefore encourage you to reach out to your colleagues in your program, if you would like to serve as an APS and represent them in the GSO Senate. If you would like the GSO’s help in setting up a process, please contact VP of Internal Affairs.

:::The University Senate:::

What is the University Senate?

The University Senate is the academic governing body of the University and is made up of faculty, students, staff, and administration members. The majority of its work is done in the 17 standing committees, which report to the full Senate at least once a year. For more information: http://universitysenate.syr.edu/

What does a University Senator do?

University Senators attend the University Senate and GSO Senate meetings and serve on University Senate and GSO Senate committees. As per the GSO Constitution, University Senators are no longer in good standing with the Senate if they miss two consecutive GSO Regular Business Meetings or University Senate meetings. University Senators may not designate proxies or alternates.

When are the University Senate meetings held?

The University Senate meets once a month on Wednesdays at 4pm in Maxwell Auditorium. Please visit http://universitysenate.syr.edu/calendar/ for calendar of meetings.

How many University Senators are elected in the GSO Senate and when are regular elections held?

The University Senate has allotted 11 seats –including the GSO President– to the GSO for the representation of graduate students at SU. The GSO Senate holds two elections (one in Fall, one in Spring) to elect 10 University Senators to sit on the University Senate. When a University Senator is no longer in good standing with the Senate, elections are held at the next GSO Regular Business Meeting to replace that University Senator.

What do I need to do to get elected as a University Senator?

If you would like to run for an open University Senator position, you must attend the GSO Regular Business Meeting and self-nominate or be nominated by a colleague. You will then given 1-2 minutes to tell the Senate why they would like to serve as a University Senator. The Senate then votes, concluding the election(s).

What are the benefits of being a University Senator?

GSO University Senators become more engaged with the wider Syracuse University community and participate in decision-making processes while they serve on both Senates and their committees, meeting with many members of the faculty, staff, and administration. Serving on the GSO Senate and University Senate is also an excellent addition to your resume as a student leader. (Note: University Senator position is not a paid position.)

For more information about the University Senate, please visit http://universitysenate.syr.edu/

:::Join Us:::

How can I participate / contribute?

Besides serving as a Senator or Officer and attending Senate meetings, which are open to all members of the GSO, you can serve on one of our committees. GSO committees work on graduate student issues by collaborating with other committees/groups, University administrators, faculty, and staff. Meeting frequencies are determined by members of each committee. (More info)

You can also join a recognized student organization (RSO) and work with them. More information on RSOs will be added, soon. If you would like to inquire about an RSO, please contact VP of Internal Affairs.