What does it mean to be a GSA Councillor?

Being on GSA Council is an exciting opportunity to lead your graduate student peers and make a positive impact on university life.

GSA is committed to investing in its Councillors. If you are elected to a Councillor role, you will be trained and supported to achieve success throughout the challenges of a graduate student leadership position.

Here is just a brief overview of what the role entails.

Responsibilities

The role of a Councillor is to make strategic decisions about how GSA operates and spends its funding, and to determine GSA’s position on topics that affect graduate students, whether relating to University, government or community issues.

Councillors are the leaders of GSA, and are engaged in a wide range of forums and projects. They are required by the GSA Constitution to act in the best interests of all University of Melbourne graduate students, and are expected to maintain an active engagement with their graduate student peers in order to act on their behalf. Councillors govern collectively and not in the interests of any particular groups that supported their election.

GSA Councillors are actually Not-For-Profit Directors. They are liable for the actions of the organisation, including its small team of permanent and casual staff. In addition to defining GSA’s strategy, they are also responsible for the organisation’s finances, governance and risks. Councillors are obligated to ensure organisational compliance with SSAF funding agreements, tax, privacy and various regulatory bodies, such as the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and Consumer Affairs Victoria.

GSA has a budget of approximately $2.6 million, and the organisation needs to continue to invest in the creation of positive impacts for graduate students in a sustainable way. While Councillors are responsible for GSA’s governance, they do not manage the day-to-day operations of the organisation, as these are delegated to employed staff. Recognising that Councillors have substantial time constraints and study workload, their input is still welcomed on day-to-day matters when available.

Time commitment

Minimum: 12 hours per month would be sufficient to read Council Meeting papers, attend a Council meeting and participate in activities related to the Councillor role. Examples of such activities include having a conversation with team members or attending an event or informal meeting convened to address a specific issue.

Further input: Councillors will need to commit additional hours to their GSA activities if they are elected from within Council to an Office Bearer role, participate in a University committee or GSA subcommittee, or become actively involved in GSA campaigns.

Why nominate?

A Councillor position is a voluntary role which is unpaid. However, Office Bearer roles receive an honorarium as compensation for the substantial additional time and effort required.

Participating in the GSA Council is a rewarding experience that offers real-world early career governance experience. It is an investment in your capabilities as a leader and community role model, and is an indispensable opportunity.

Eligibility

Any enrolled graduate student at the University of Melbourne is eligible to nominate (stand) and vote in GSA elections.

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