Departmental Delegates

Please send all questions and comments regarding departmental representation to current GSA Vice President Tara Reel (tdreel@vt.edu).

The Graduate Student Assembly is the main conduit in which issues of interests to graduate students can intersect and be discussed. In accordance to the GSA Constitution and Bylaws, each Department of the University that offers graduate programs are eligible to select up to two (2) voting Delegates that represent the Department’s graduate students. Currently, Interdisciplinary Programs that are administered by more than one Departments are considered a Departmental Equivalent, and are eligible for up to two (2) voting Delegates as well. Schools within the University, as established in accordance to University Policy 6150 (e.g. School of Education, School of Architecture + Design, etc.) have variable representations, and are handled on a case-by-case basis. In addition, three predominately graduate student organizations were granted up to two (2) voting Delegates by the current GSA Bylaws, these are: the Black Graduate Student Organization, the Council of International Student Organizations, and the Queer Grads, Professionals, and Allies.

Departmental Delegates are the democratic foundation of the GSA. While the current GSA Constitution and Bylaws do not stipulate how the Delegates are selected at the Department level, the GSA recommend some form of democratic process, such as an election. Graduate students and Delegates from a particular Department are encouraged to promote the democratic election of Departmental Delegates to ensure a firm democratic foundation of the GSA, as well as accountability of the Delegates to their constituent graduate students.

The chief responsibilities and powers of Departmental Delegates are their voting power at the GSA General Assembly. All decisions, elections, and resolutions of the GSA are determined by the Departmental Delegates. Moreover, executive powers of the GSA are granted through the election of the GSA Executive Board Members by the Departmental Delegates at the GSA General Assembly.

The Delegates are also responsible for gathering and evaluating information and issues from their constituent graduate students, and bringing them forth for discussion and action at the GSA General Assembly. The GSA General Assembly serves as the main deliberative body where discussions will ultimately result in recommendations to the GSA Executive Board as well as Resolutions that would proceed to a higher level of deliberation in University Governance. The GSA is a powerful voice as it has voting seats in all of the University Governance bodies (i.e. University Council, and its Commissions and Committees. See Commissions and Committees).

Bi-directional communication is key to the success of the GSA. Hence, the Delegates are also responsible for the dissemination of information and happenings of the GSA to their constituent graduate students. The GSA provides many programs and funding opportunities that are beneficial to all graduate students. The success of these programs and the accessibility of these funding opportunities hinges on how well they are communicated to the greater graduate student body.

The Department Delegates of the GSA are the main source of manpower within the organization. As such, the success of all GSA programs rely on the work of the Delegates. Delegates are strongly encouraged to participation of the planning and organization of GSA programs (See Funding Programs, Research Symposium, and Graduate and Professional School Fair).