How to form a GSO



GSA recognition is the process by which a graduate student organization (GSO) becomes officially recognized by the GSA for the year. GSOs must reapply for recognition every year in order to receive funding for that year. Previously recognized GSOs are not guaranteed re-recognition if the guidelines and policies are not followed, or if there is any missing information.

The GSA will send out announcements via the events listserv, the officer email list (from the previous year), the website, and Facebook. An email about recognition will be sent out at the beginning of each semester, usually in the first week of September. The GSA  is not responsible for GSOs not receiving regular notices and not checking the website. It is the GSO’s responsibility to stay up-to-date on this information and to subscribe to the relevant email lists.

The secretary will read all the recognition applications to ensure compliance with Rutgers and GSA policy. The Executive Committee is not obligated to recommend or grant exceptions to any of the rules for recognition, even if the exception was made in previous years.

All paperwork for new GSOs must all be received at least a week before the meeting at which recognition occurs.

GSOs should use the existing application system to apply for recognition: If the application system is not working or not available for any reason, paperwork may be submitted via email, but should all be submitted in the SAME email (e.g. memberlist, constitution attached to the same email).

Recognition approval happens in 2 ways:

  1. The secretary and the entire executive committee agrees to recognize a GSO.
  2. The secretary approves and recommends a GSO for recognition at a General Council Meeting. A representative from the GSO gives a 2 minute presentation and takes ~3 questions, and the entire council votes on recognition. (Groups that were not voted in can re-apply but must go through the same process from the start.)
  1. FUNDING  

GSO recognition must be approved for the current academic year before any reimbursements are made to the GSO.

Each GSO must send a representative to attend the mandatory funding information meeting at the start of the fall semester. In extenuating circumstances, a GSO can instead set up an appointment with a GSA officer (treasurer, or business manager) in order to go over the funding policies in person.


– Number of members (for Academic GSOs, number of people enrolled in the program(s) represented)

– A constitution detailing the purpose of the GSO, membership, officers, elections, and general meetings. You can find an example of a constitution here.

– A list of elected officers for the current academic year including the president and treasurer and their contact information.

– A specific email address delegated as the main point of contact for that GSO (can be an officer’s email or a centralized GSO email address).

– Academic GSOs must provide curriculum code(s) for the departments they represent.

– Non-Academic GSOs must provide a memberlist of graduate students including their Rutgers email addresses and departmental affiliation.


Academic GSO

– An Academic GSO represents one or more distinct curriculum codes. An Academic GSO must represent all graduate students enrolled in the stated curriculum code(s).

– No curriculum code may be represented by more than one academic GSO.

– Academic GSOs are qualified to vote at Council meetings. For details on how this works, please consult the GSA Constitution here.

– Masters and Ph.D. students should not have divided representation unless the programs are affiliated with distinct curriculum codes.

Non-Academic GSO

– Non-Academic GSOs must have a minimum of 8 Rutgers graduate student members. Of these members, a diversity requirement in departments must be present. No more than half of the members can belong to the same academic GSO, OR, if their curriculum has no GSO, they may not belong to the same curriculum.

– All graduate students of Rutgers that wish to join, must be able to do so. Membership may not be on an exclusive basis.

– A list of graduate student members, their departments, and their Rutgers email addresses must be provided before the recognition process. It is particularly helpful for new non-academic GSO recognition to submit a list or description of proposed events, so that the group’s purpose is clear to understand.

– New non-academic GSOs that have never been recognized in previous years must be approved by a majority vote of the General Council. A representative must come to the meeting at which the vote on recognition occurs, and should be prepared to give a short (2 minute) statement on the group’s purpose and to answer any questions about the group’s general purpose, planned events, etc.

– Non-Academic GSOs are not qualified to vote on GSA issues. This is because graduate students are represented by their curricula/departments.

Additional Notes  

All GSOs must adhere to Rutgers and NJ state policy, in addition to policies set out by the GSA for recognition and funding. Some of the more important policies that groups should be aware of include:

  1. While religiously-affiliated groups are allowed, events with any specific religious or spiritual practices cannot be funded by the GSA.
  2. No two groups with the same purpose should exist – whether as an academic GSO or a non-academic GSO.
  3. All GSOs should send a representative to General Council meetings, at least 3 per semester, to remain in good standing.