The PBGSA Charter was amended to the current
version shown here by a unanamous vote at a General Meeting on June 15,
The goals of this association are to:
- Facilitate the social and academic interaction of graduate students within the Plant Biology Graduate Student Association (PBGSA).
- Serve as a forum for graduate student input into PBGG affairs.
- Provide a means for communicating the concerns of the PBGSA to the Graduate Students Association (GSA).
- nform the PBGSA members of campus wide and graduate group-specific concerns.
Specifically, PBGSA has the following
- At the PBGG Executive Committee
- At the GSA
- Participating in the Graduate Group:
- Through assisting in hosting and
orienting prospective students
- Through the annual Summer Gathering
- Organizing the annual Fall Colloquium
- Encouraging small group socials by making funds available to members.
- Hosting large social events such as the Summer Gathering and Fall Welcome.
- Hosting monthly gatherings for students, faculty and staff associated with the PBGSA, such as Happy Hour.
All graduate students who are in the Plant Biology Graduate Group are automatically members of the Plant Biology Graduate Student Association. Any non-PBGG graduate student may choose to become a member of the PBGSA. He or she must fill out the appropriate change of membership form from the GSA, submit this to the PBGSA Secretary/Treasurer, and also submit his/her email address to the PBGG Program Coordinator.
Nominations for the Executive Committee (E.C.) shall be made via email after the last general PBGSA meeting of the year. The minimum number of nominees should exceed the number of Executive Committee positions by at least two. Candidates may be nominated for / nominate themselves for more than one position. Each position must have at least two nominees/volunteers. A ballot with the names of the candidates will be sent to all PBGSA members via email, or electronic ballot, and each member will be asked to vote for one candidate per eligible position. The candidate for each position receiving the highest number of votes will be appointed to the E.C. for a term of one year, starting in September. In the event that an individual wins more than one position, the positions will be assigned in the following order: Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer, Chairs of the Recruitment, Colloquium/Events and Advocacy committees.
At the time that nominations are accepted for the PBGSA E.C., nominations will also be solicited for representatives to the PBGG Seminar and Admissions Committees. The names of these nominees will be forwarded to the PBGG E.C. for their approval. These representatives are not part of the PBGSA E.C.
All officers and committee representatives are encouraged to maintain neat, up-to-date files on their respective committees and responsibilities. At the expiration of their term in office, each representative will pass on this file to his/her successor and provide the help and advice necessary to ensure a smooth transfer of duties.
The chairperson will serve as the representative to external entities such as the Office of Graduate Studies etc., and as the sole student representative to the PBGG Executive Committee. He/she will be responsible for expressing students' concerns as well as informing students of relevant committee business at general meetings or through email. The chairperson is authorized to register the PBGSA with the Center for Student Involvement as an independent (non-departmentally affiliated) student organization. He/she is responsible for organizing general meetings as well as meetings of the E.C., including room reservations and agendas. The chairperson will be the second signatory on the association's bank account. In addition, the chairperson should provide leadership to the association and work to motivate other graduate students to actively participate in the graduate group.
The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for a) maintaining all financial and non-financial records of the PBGSA, b) recording the minutes of general and E.C. meetings, c) maintaining a record of funds received and spent by the association, d) ensuring an annual update of the list of signatories on the PBGSA bank account, e) submitting a yearly financial report covering past and expected costs to the E.C., and f) providing the Colloquium/Events Committee with an estimate of funds available for social events. The Secretary/Treasurer will be the first signatory on the associations' bank account. The Secretary/Treasurer will be responsible for notifying the general membership of general meetings and elections as well as compiling all election results. One person serves as both the Secretary and Treasurer.
Chair(s) of the Advocacy Committee:
The Advocacy Committee chair(s) is/are responsible for a) attending each GSA general body meeting or finding a suitable replacement from within the PBGSA, b) dividing and delegating responsibilities among the committee members, and remind them of meeting schedules, and c) representing the PBGSA at relevant PBGG meetings, excluding PBGG Executive Committee meetings. The chair(s) shall report to the PBGSA E.C., and is/are responsible for communicating major issues to the PBGSA membership.
Chair of the Colloquium/Events Committee:
The chair and committee members shall meet during the summer months for a) soliciting and selecting speakers for the Fall Colloquium, b) preparing the Colloquium program and distributing it throughout the PBGSA, PBGG, and other groups with similar interests, and c) reserving a room for this event. Since the Summer Gathering is held after the completion of the spring quarter, the chair of this committee shall convene the committee during the spring quarter for the purpose for a) making all necessary reservations, b) obtaining alcohol permits, and c) widely advertising the event. The chair of the Events Committee should be in close communication with the Secretary/Treasurer regarding the amount of money available for all events. Monthly happy hours should be scheduled on a consistent basis with the necessary reservations and permits obtained prior to the event.
Chairs of the Recruitment Committee:
The chairs of this committee shall work closely with the PBGG program coordinator, as well as other faculty and staff, to organize the recruitment effort. Training grants and other organizations may also have special recruitment activities.
- General Meetings:
General meetings will be called and chaired by at least one member of the Executive Committee. An announcement including the agenda should be distributed at least one week in advance to all PBGSA members. Email shall be the primary means of announcing general meetings. At least one general meeting will be held per quarter of the academic school year, and any additional general meetings shall be called as the need arises. Business may be voted on and passed by a simple majority of attendees present.
Any member may introduce additional agenda items for deliberation at the next general meeting. When this occurs, a general meeting must be scheduled to address the new business within one month.
- Committee Meetings:
- Committee meetings shall be called and chaired by the chairperson of that committee. All committee members must be notified of the meeting, but it is not be necessary to notify the general membership. Business may be voted on and passed by a simple majority of attendees present. The results of committee meetings shall be communicated via meeting minutes posted to the PBGSA website.
PBGSA shall be administered and run by five standing committees: the E.C. , whose members are elected, and four other committees, each composed of both volunteers from the PBGSA membership and a chairperson(s) who is one of the elected members of the E.C. There will be no upper limit to the number of volunteer members to any Standing Committee. The E.C. must ensure that each of the four committees is adequately staffed in order to distribute the workload fairly. Note: the PBGG E.C. has historically encouraged students to participate in the PBGSA in order to solicit enough volunteers.
- Executive Committee:
The executive committee will ensure that the other four committees are formed and operating each year, and will receive updates on their progress throughout the year. The executive committee will authorize all formal requests or statements to external organizations, take responsibility for and operate all PBGSA finances, inform all PBGSA members of major events and decisions, and ensure the proper continuity with the incoming PBGSA E.C. members for the following year. All E.C. members are encouraged to attend all general meetings.
- Advocacy Committee:
The members of this committee will represent the interests of the PBGSA at meetings of the GSA and PBGG as necessary. Representation of the PBGSA at the GSA will be defined as 1 representative to the GSA for every 30 PBGSA members and fraction thereof. Each PBGSA representative to the GSA shall be a de facto member of the advocacy committee and referred to as a committee chair. The elected members of the Advocacy Committee must register with the GSA prior to the first GSA general body meeting of the academic year.
Departmental funding from the GSA, obtained on the basis of participation at the GSA general body meetings is an important source of revenue for the PBGSA. Every elected advocacy committee chair is therefore expected to attend all GSA general body meetings or find a suitable replacement. In addition, members of the advocacy committee shall educate themselves and other members of the PBGSA E.C. regarding other forms of funding available from the GSA, such as the Special Projects Fund. In collaboration with the PBGSA Secretary/Treasurer, the advocacy committee shall apply and attempt to secure other types of GSA funding and assist any other fundraising efforts.
- Events Committee:
This committee will organize and advertise (a) the Fall Colloquium, (b) the Summer Gathering, (c) the monthly happy hour, and (d) evaluate requests of funds for social events organized by PBGSA members. In order to encourage participation in the Fall Colloquium, an award can be givenif sufficient funds are available to the graduate student who delivers the best talk, as determined by members of the Events Committee. Students giving their exit seminar and post-doctoral scholars are ineligible for the award, but may be otherwise recognized for an outstanding presentation. If the award is a monetary grant, the award must be used within one year, and only towards research-related purchases and/or travel.
Any PBGSA member who wishes to organize a social event primarily for graduate students in a certain building/department is encouraged to do so, and request PBGSA funds, with the stipulation that the event must be advertised by email to the entire PBGSA membership. The organizer of this event is responsible for obtaining all necessary room/space reservations and permits (e.g. alcohol permit).
- Recruitment Committee:
Recognizing the importance of recruiting high-quality graduate students, this PBGSA committee is a joint committee with the PBGG, thereby sharing the responsibilities outlined in this charter and those defined in the PBGG bylaws. Specifically, this committee will solicit volunteers from among the PBGSA membership to (a) host prospective students throughout their stay by being their primary contact and campus guide, (b) accompany prospective students at sponsored meals, (c) answer questions during the orientation, and (d) attend any other recruitment activity deemed mandatory by the committee chairs. This committee will serve on the PBGG Recruiting Committee, as titled in the PBGG bylaws. As such, it will be the responsibility of this committee to work with the PBGG program coordinator, faculty, and staff to (a) organize the itineraries of prospective students and communicate this information to all volunteer hosts; (b) make arrangements for transportation from and to the airport/train station/bus depot etc.; and (c) organize any outside trips, activities, or meals.
To express appreciation, the PBGSA E.C. is authorized to take out to dinner at the end of the academic year, all students who served on PBGSA committees throughout the year.
A bank account has been set up at Golden 1 Credit Union to hold the association's funds. The treasurer shall be the first signatory to the account, and the chairperson of the E.C. the second signatory. The secretary/treasurer should be informed of any transactions. All committee members are required to notify the treasurer of anticipated expenses, so that he/she may bring them up for discussion at the E.C. meetings. The treasurer is also responsible for organizing fundraising activities for the PBGSA. Historically these events have involved production of a PBGSA t-shirt, bake sales, etc.
Amendments to the Charter:
Proposals for changes to the Charter must be approved and passed by a two-third majority of the E.C. before being brought to a general meeting for a vote. A simple majority of attendees at a general meeting may approve any changes passed by the E.C. Alternatively, proposals for amendments to the Charter may be introduced at a general meeting by any member and deliberated on at the next general meeting without the need for prior consideration by the E.C.