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 ($85 on your bill) and are used to pay GSA staff and fund 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 and represent the best interests of graduate students. GSA also represents the interest of the organization on the Sub Board I, Inc. Board of Directors, which is the student corporation of 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. GSA also represents graduate students beyond the University. The SUNY Student Assembly, of which GSA is a member, is an organization that exists across the state to represent the needs of graduate and professional students.
The Graduate Student Association was created in 1962 to give graduate students a voice. In the 1960s, it was the creation of a student lounge in the New Norton Union (today Norton Hall) that originally got GSA on its feet. From that beginning, GSA expanded to providing services for graduate students as well. It also became one of the caretakers in what Dennis Black, Vice President of Student Affairs, 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 that the students feel they need.
GSA membership consists of all graduate students (i.e. students NOT enrolled in medical, dental, law, MBA, SPSA, or undergraduate degree programs). The membership is organized by departmental clubs. Each of which elects Board members to the GSA Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the key governing body of GSA. It meets on the first Wednesday of every month and its approximately 100 Board members vote on decisions of policy and allocations of monies GSA possesses. The graduate students elect the executive committee.