GSA Recognition FAQ

GSA Recognition is the process by which a graduate student organization becomes officially recognized by the GSA for the year. Graduate student organizations must reapply for recognition every year in order to receive GSA funds for that year.


The GSA will send out announcements via the events listserv, the officer email list (from the previous year), the website, and Facebook. It is the GSO’s responsibility to be sure they are checking for this information and on the relevant email lists. 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.

GSOs must reapply for recognition every academic year, beginning in the fall semester. Previously recognized GSOs of either type are not guaranteed re-recognition if the guidelines and policies are not followed, or if there is missing information.

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.

For new GSOs, the paperwork must all be received at least a week BEFORE the meeting at which recognition occurs.

GSOs should use the existing application system to apply. 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 must be approved for the current academic year before any reimbursements are made to the group.

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

Recognition approval happens in 2 ways:

  1. The secretary and the entire executive committee agrees to re-recognize a previously recognized group that is eligible, OR agrees to recognize a new Academic GSO.
  2. The secretary preliminarily 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.)

All GSOs must submit the following information:

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

– A constitution, with details on the purpose, membership, officers, elections, and general meetings. Particularly, a mission statement.

See the model constitution linked here for an example.

– A list of elected officers for the current academic year: most importantly, the president and treasurer.

  • Contact information for these officers is necessary as well.

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

– For Academic GSOs only: all curriculum code(s) represented, and whether Masters’ and Ph.D. students are in the same organization. (The latter should normally be the case; see section on Academic GSOs below)
– For Non-Academic GSOs: a memberlist of graduate students, with departments and Rutgers email addresses included

The recognition process and the funding process are separate processes, and recognition must occur before funding.


Academic GSOs

– 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 be divided unless these programs also represent distinct curriculum codes.

Non-Academic GSOs

– 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.

General Notes and Guidelines

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.