Committees & Working Groups

The GSS credits its success to the energy, ideas, and talents contributed by its members. As a graduate student you are automatically a member of the GSS, and there are many different ways for you to get involved and help guide the efforts of your Society. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to join a GSS Committee or Working Group.

Consider joining a Committee or Working Group if you have:

  • an interest in participating in and learning about the GSS
  • an interest in ensuring that the GSS is reflective of the goals and aspirations of its members
  • a willingness to work collaboratively on projects and initiatives
  • skills and experiences beyond your specific academic field (for example, administrative or policy-related skills)
  • an interest in meeting and working with graduate students from across the university

The GSS values the work of our graduate student volunteers and recognizes that these efforts are crucial to moving our Society forward.

To join a committee or working group, check out the descriptions listed below and fill out the Volunteer Form.

If you have any questions, contact the GSS in person at MBC 2203 or email info@sfugradsociety.ca.

COMMITTEES

The GSS Committees are groups of graduate students, chaired by an elected student leader, that focus on areas of specific importance for the Society’s services and direction. Committees meet once a month, usually for no longer than two hours. Meeting dates are set based on members’ availability. Occasionally, some Committee work occurs over email, and it is expected that Committee members will take the time to engage via email in addition to attending the monthly meetings. The chair of each Committee consults and liaises with the GSS Council, Caucuses, and other Committees to ensure that Committee work contributes effectively to the overall success of the Society. Serving on a Committee is a great way to engage with and make an impact on issues that affect graduate students and the University as a whole.

Governance Committee

This group will be reviewing and proposing changes to the governing documents of the Society, including the Constitution, Bylaws, Policy and Regulations, and Terms of Reference of committees.

Grants Allocation Committee

Reviews grants from caucuses and individual students on a monthly basis and issues the GSS Caucus Grants, Professional Development Grants.  This group also makes recommendations to Council regarding changes to these programs.

Benefit Planning Committee

Interested in your health and dental insurance benefits? Join the committee that works to get grad students the most for their money and the benefits they want.  It also handles special circumstances surrounding the Benefit Plan opt-ins and opt-outs, and adjudicates the yearly applications for Benefit Plan Bursaries to help students in financial need.

Finance & Audit Committee

Responsible for overseeing the Society’s budgeting process and financial management.

GSS Appeals Board

This group acts as an appeal body for decisions that are made at other GSS Committees (such as the Grants Allocation Committee or the Electoral Committee).  A larger roster of members is available to serve in an “on call” basis when appeals come forward.  The composition of a given Appeals Board will be drawn from the roster, taking into consideration the availability of members and their relation to the issue(s)/group(s) being appealed.  Because of the “on call” nature of this group, the time requirement is unknown, however, when dealing with appeals, significant time and attention will be required from the Board members.  This is a great opportunity for graduate students who are interested in procedural justice issues, policy interpretation, and gaining experience in the area of appeals review.

Electoral Committee

Responsible for running the elections and referenda of the GSS, the Electoral Committee is an intense but incredibly rewarding group that is integral to the governance of the GSS. Key times of year (when elections are normally scheduled) are between November-December, and March-April, however by-elections and off-cycle referenda sometimes occur.

WORKING GROUPS

Our working groups deal with big challenges our members face, developing innovative solutions and advocating for policy change — both inside and outside the university. Members are also encouraged to work with the GSS to put together a working group about issues that students are passionate about. Some working groups are created by the GSS to manage projects and respond to issues. Please check back periodically to see what’s new.

Our current GSS working groups are:

    • Affordability Working Group: The rising costs of living (housing, transportation, healthcare) in the Lower Mainland coupled with increasing costs of tuition and stagnating funding for graduate students are of serious concern. These financial strains on graduate students are linked the affordability working group was established to campaign both inside and outside the university to make graduate student life more affordable. To get involved please email: advocacy@sfugradsociety.ca
    • International Student Working Group: There is a large international graduate student population at SFU for whom the ability to participate in campus activities and exercise their rights as students can be impacted by their immigration permits, language barriers and a lack of support while adapting to a new cultural environment. To help advocate and build community with this working group please contact: advocacy@sfugradsociety.ca
    • GSS Space Working Group: the SFSS will probably leave Maggie Benston Centre by the Spring 2019 semester to occupy its new Student Union Building. This will provide the GSS with an opportunity to occupy new or perhaps more office, meeting and event space than is currently the case. As a result, we need to develop a solid business case to justify this change or expansion and are looking for volunteers to help in this process. If interested, please contact Pierre Cenerelli (GSS Executive Director) at pierre.cenerelli@sfugradsociety.ca as soon as possible.
    • The Housing Working Group articulates the housing needs of grad students to governments and the university and proposes solutions. If you are interested in policy, social action or urban planning, this is a great opportunity to put theory into action. E-mail our Director of External Relations at external@sfugradsociety.ca to learn more.

Other groups that have been discussed recently by graduate students are a Women’s Working Group, Indigenous Working Group and a Supervision Working Group. If you would like to help create one of these working groups please email advocacy@sfugradsociety.ca

GSS Representatives on University Committees

The GSS often sends its members to participate in university committees including award adjudication, space planning, and hiring committees. These positions vary widely, but provide valuable experience and are a great opportunity for you to represent graduate student interests at the institutional level.

To find out what’s happening now and how you can get involved, e-mail our Director of University Relations at ur@sfugradsociety.ca