Carnegie Mellon University

About the GSA

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is the branch of student government that represents all graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University. The GSA’s mission is to advocate for and support the diverse needs of all CMU graduate students in their personal, professional, and public lives. Every graduate student at CMU is a member of the GSA general body, and has the opportunity to contribute to the operations and direction of the GSA. The GSA convenes monthly meetings with GSA Department Representatives, who act as the liaison for each graduate program at CMU, both Masters and PhD. The GSA Departmental Representatives vote on issues facing the graduate student population and elect the GSA Executive Committee.

The vision for the GSA is laid out in the 10 Year Strategic Plan

Want to get involved?

Every graduate student is able to have their voice heard in operations of the GSA. Each Vice President has a committee, which is open to any member of the graduate student population at CMU. If you want to get involved, email the respective Vice President or you can contact gsa@andrew.cmu.edu. You can see the current GSA Executive Committee and GSA Advocates here, and find out who your GSA Department Representative is here.

The GSA Executive Committee

The Graduate Student Assembly Executive Committee is the elected body that runs the operations of GSA and represents the graduate student population of CMU, both on and off campus. Our vision is laid out in the 10 Year Strategic Plan, which was written with input from the graduate student population and university stakeholders. The GSA Executive Committee, along with the GSA Department Representatives and GSA Advocates, work to carry out this vision and implement changes to improve the graduate student experience at CMU. The GSA Executive Committee is made up of the President and six Vice Presidents, each of which are described below. 

The President of the GSA coordinates and oversees all operations of GSA, the GSA Executive Committee, and GSA Advocates. The President of the GSA is the point representative of the graduate student population during interactions with CMU administration and various stakeholders. They are responsible for developing and maintaining relationships across the University and representing graduate student interests. It is the responsibility of the President to carry forward and lead the GSA towards fulfilling the vision laid out in the Strategic Plan.

The GSA Vice President of Internal Affairs manages the internal operations of the GSA. They are responsible for onboarding, training, and fostering a sense of community between GSA Department Representatives. The VP of Internal Affairs is also responsible for data collection initiatives, working with the other VPs and stakeholders to collect and analyze information in order to direct and enable GSA advocacy efforts. This includes the Stipend Report, GSA Voices Report, and data collection in the departments by working with the Department Representatives.
The GSA Vice President of Campus Affairs is the advocacy point for graduate student issues within the CMU community. Their primary responsibility is to identify and advocate key issues for graduate students’ quality of life and their relationship to the campus environment/services. This includes campus facilities, transportation and housing, mental health services, and diversity and inclusion policies. The VP of Campus Affairs also works with the VP of Internal Affairs to facilitate Department Representative engagement on key University committees.
The GSA Vice President of External Affairs is the advocacy point for graduate student issues outside the CMU community. Their primary responsibility is to identify and advocate key issues for graduate students at the local, state, and federal level. The external advocacy points of the GSA are ratified by the Department Representatives in the GSA Legislative Platform, which is an evolving document in order to accomodate issues as they arise. The VP of External Affairs is also the main point of contact of the CMU graduate student community to the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS), of which the CMU GSA is a legacy member. Lastly, the VP of External Affairs sits on the Pittsburgh Student Government Council, representing CMU graduate students in regards to local issues.
The GSA Vice President of Academic Affairs is the advocacy point for graduate student issues surrounding academic development. This includes advisor/advisee relationships, academic policies, graduate education, and professional development. The VP of Academic Affairs is the graduate student representative on a number of University committees surrounding academic policies.
The Vice President of Graduate Student Life is in charge of programming events to improve the quality of graduate student life. This is broken down into two main areas. First, the VP of Graduate Student Life organizes and executes social events, including both events hosted by the GSA as well as providing tickets to events like Steelers games, local theatre productions, and skiing. Second, the VP of Graduate Student Life is responsible for planning events around a holistic graduate student experience. This includes mental health and wellness events and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The GSA Vice President of Finance manages the budget of the GSA. This includes day-to-day operations of the GSA and GSA Executive Committee and allocating money to the graduate student body in each department at CMU. In addition, the VP of Finance manages the GSA Special Allocations fund, which helps provide funding for one-off events that benefit the graduate student community at CMU. They also serve on the Joint Funding Committee, the Student Government committee responsible for allocating funds to student organizations across campus. Lastly, the VP of Finance designs the budget, ensuring that the expenditures of the GSA align well with the values laid out in the Strategic Plan.

The GSA Advocates

The GSA Advocates were established in order to target the particular needs of certain graduate student populations. They are appointed by the GSA President and ratified by the GSA Departmental Representatives. The positions are floating, created when there is a particular need or issue to be addressed. Currently, the GSA has two Advocate roles, who generally carry out the following duties.

The GSA Partner and Family Advocate(s) help the GSA meet the needs of those graduate students with partners and dependants. They act as an advocacy point person(s), reporting to the VP of Campus Affairs, for issues around graduate students with families such as family leave policies, access to childcare, and access to CMU resources and events for the partners of graduate students. The Partner and Family Advocate(s) also work with the VP of Graduate Student Life to host events specifically for families, such as trips to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Carnegie Science Center.
The GSA International Student Advocate(s) help the GSA meet the particular needs of the international graduate student body at CMU. They work as advocacy point person(s) with the VP of Campus Affairs and External Affairs around issues like housing, student visas, and immigration. They also work with the VP of Graduate Student Life to engage international students and international student organizations. The International Student Advocate(s) are also the point person(s) for the GSA relationship with the Office of International Education.

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