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Q & A

How does my GSO elect new officers?

The election process is outlined in your GSO’s Constitution. GSO Officers care welcome to pick up a copy of their GSO Constitution at the GSA Office, The Commons 308.

What do I need to do to renew my GSO?

Submit a Registration form and Budget form to the GSA Office, The Commons 308, before the second GSA Senate meeting of the academic year to receive full funding. The second Senate meeting is usually the first Monday of October.

When will the budget be approved?

Budgets will be approved after the October GSA Senate meeting. Please remember that each event requires a separate Co-sponsorship form and Meal pre-approval form. They must be submitted at least three weeks prior to each event.

When can I apply for funds?

You can apply for funds after GSA received your Registration form and Budget form for the current academic year. You do not need to wait for the yearly budget approval. To apply, please submit a Co-sponsorship form and Meal pre-approval form to the GSA Office, The Commons 308. These forms must be submitted at least three weeks prior to each event.

Which forms do I need to submit to request event funding?

All event funding requests include a Co-sponsorship form. If you plan to purchase any food or drink items, please also submit a Meal pre-approval form.

What is the deadline to request event funding?

The Co-sponsorship form and Meal pre-approval form have to submitted at least three weeks prior to the event.

What is the deadline to request rooms and/or equipment?

All requests have to be submitted to Commons Operations at least two weeks prior to the event.

When do I submit Liability Forms?

Every person attending your event must submit their Liability Release form before the start of the event to the GSA Office, The Commons 308. Failure to submit Liability Release forms may result in the denial of reimbursement.

Where do I submit Liability Forms?

Please submit the Liability Release form to the GSA Office, The Commons 308. You can do so in person, through campus-mail, via fax at 410-455-8951 or email at gsa@umbc.edu.

What materials do I need for reimbursement?

You need a Post event form, itemized receipts, a list of attendees, and an email or flyer advertising the event. The Post-Event Form and the itemized receipts need to be submitted as originals.

When do I need to submit reimbursement materials?

Reimbursement materials need to be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than ten days after the event.

What type of events can I organize?

GSO events tends to have a social or graduate student development focus. For a list of previous events, please go to the GSA Sponsored Event tab. If you have an idea that is not listed, do not hesitate to contact the GSA Community Liaison at gsa@umbc.edu with any questions.

How do I reserve rooms on campus?

All room requests have to be entered into R25, UMBC’s Event Scheduling Database. To receive the password and login information, please contact the GSA Community Liaison at gsa@umbc.edu. GSO Officers are responsible for requesting and cancelling rooms for their events.

How do I order catered food?

GSOs are responsible for contacting an approved campus caterer and negotiating the event order. For a list of approved vendors, please see the Event Planning Resource tab . GSA will pay approved caterers directly.

I received a bill from a caterer, what do I do with it?

Please forward all catering bills to the GSA Community Liaison. You can bring a copy to The Commons 308 or email gsa@umbc.edu.

Why do GSO Officers need to attend GSA Senate meetings?

GSO Officers are leaders on campus. GSA Senate meetings serve as a forum to discuss relevant issues to graduate students. GSO Officers are also voting members of the GSA Senate and shape UMBC. More than two missed GSA Senate meetings may result in the suspension of the GSO budget.

How do I establish a new organization?

Submit the following documents to the GSA Office:

  • A letter of intent explaining how your GSO is different from similar GSOs and how it will contribute to the UMBC community
  • A signed statement (on letter head) from a faculty/staff member agreeing to serve as an advisor
  • A student organization registration form
  • An organization constitution
  • A proposed budget

The executive committee for the organization must be composed of only graduate students.

A representative from the organization must attend the next GSA Senate Meeting to present your request for a new organization.

How do I create a constitution?

UMBC organizations are all governed by constitutions that the members of the organizations create and vote into effect. When a new organization is created at UMBC, its members will need to develop a constitution and then submit it to the Office of Student Life. Existing organizations will have their constitution reviewed every three years by the Office of Graduate Student Life.

What is a constitution?

The Constitution of an organization contains the fundamental principles that govern its operation. The By-Laws establish the specific rules of guidance by which the group is to function.

Why have a constitution?

The process of writing a constitution will serve to clarify an organization’s purpose, delineate basic structures and prove the cornerstone for building an effective group. It will also allow members and potential members to have a better understanding of what the organization is all about and how it functions. Finally, the constitution allows future members to reflect back on the history of the organization and its founding principles.

What should be covered in a constitution?

Below is an outline of the standard information to be included in a Constitution. The objective is to draft a document that covers these topics in a simple, clear and concise manner.

Article I. The name of the organization
Article II. Affiliation with other groups (local, state, national, etc.)
Article III. Preamble – Purpose, aims, functions of the organization
Article IV. Membership requirements (how determined, who’s eligible, etc.)
Article V. Elections (when, how, who oversees)
Article VI. Officers (title, terms of office, duties of office)
Article VII. Advisor (term of service, how selected)
Article VIII. Business transactions (quorum, voting rules)
Article IX. Referendum and recall *(procedures and handling)
Article X. Financial management Article XI. Meetings (how often)
Article XII. Amendments (means of proposal, notice required, voting requirements)

How do I create by-laws?

The Constitution covers the fundamental principles but does not prescribe specific procedures for operating the organization. By-Laws set forth in detail the procedures the group must follow to conduct business in an orderly manner. They provide further definitions to the Articles of the Constitution and can be changed more easily as needs of the organization change.

What should be included in the by-laws?

By-Laws should complement provisions stated in the Constitution. They generally contain specific information on the following topics:
A. Membership (requirements, resignations, expulsion, rights and duties)
B. Dues (amount and collection procedures, any special fees, when payable)
C. Duties of Officers (powers, responsibilities, specific job descriptions, procedures for filling unexpired terms of office, removal from office)
D. Executive Board (structure, composition, powers)
E. Committees (standing, special, how formed, chairpersons, meetings, powers, duties)
F. Order of Business (standard agenda for conducting meetings)
G. Parliamentary Authority (provisions for rules of order, generally Robert Rules of Order-Newly Revised)
H. Amendment Procedures (means of proposals, notice required, voting requirements
I. Other specific policies and procedures unique to your organization necessary for its operation.
Once the organization has documents – what do we do with them?

Remember the reasons for having a Constitution and By-Laws. They articulate the purpose of the organization and spell out the procedures to be followed for its orderly functions. Constitutions usually require a 2/3 vote of the membership for adoption. By-Laws only require a simple majority for passage. Remember, every three years GSA and OGSL will work with the organization to review these documents. The needs of the group will change over time and it’s important that the Constitution and By-Laws are kept up to date to reflect the current state of affairs.

Make sure every new member of the organization has a copy of the organization’s constitution. This will help to unify the membership by informing them about the opportunities that exist for participation and the procedures they should follow to be an active, contributing member. A thorough study of the Constitution and By-Laws should be a part of office training and transition.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Please contact the GSA Community Liaison with any questions at gsa@umbc.edu or 410-455-2773.