A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a UMGSA Councillor
So you want to become a UMGSA Councillor. Way to go! Becoming a councillor is an excellent way to get involved with student government and make sure that you have your say about graduate student life at the University of Manitoba. This guide is designed to walk you through the necessary steps to make sure that your department is represented on our Council. Let’s get started!
Why Become a UMGSA Councillor?
- Receive Department Grants to help fund graduate student events, workshops, seminars and more within your department.
- Get credit for your Co-Curricular Record.
- Contribute to the decision-making process of the UMGSA, and help direct the organization.
- Represent the interests of the students in your department.
- Work with the UMGSA Executive to gain experience and knowledge of student politics, budgeting, event organizing, governance of post-secondary education and more.
1. Find Out if Your Department is Represented on Council
First, check our handy list to see whether there is already a councillor representing your department. If there is, get in touch with them to see whether you might be able to share duties, take on a UMGSA committee, or get involved your department’s student government.
If more than one person wants to run for a UMGSA Councillor position, an election must be held within your department.
How to hold an election:
- Contact your departmental secretary or grad student association and have them notify all of the graduate students in your department of the election and UMGSA Councillor candidates for the upcoming term.
- Hold an election by secret ballot or another method that ensures fairness and equal opportunity for all candidates.
- The results of the election must be validated by the departmental secretary with a signature on the election form and delivered to the UMGSA office.
- Or, if your department has a grad student departmental association, the minutes of an executive meeting must be provided to the UMGSA office ratifying the results of the election.
If your department isn’t represented on UMGSA Council, proceed to step two:
2. Complete the Council Nomination Form
If there’s no councillor representing your department, and you’re interested in representing your department on the UMGSA Council, then you need to complete a Council Nomination Form. You’ll need 10 signatures from fellow graduate students in your department to endorse you, OR you need to prove that you’ve been elected by your department’s graduate student association (see step one). You’ll also need your departmental secretary to sign the form. Once you’ve completed the form, proceed to step three:
3. Get to Know Our Policies
If you’re going to sit on the UMGSA Council, you should read up on how our organization works in order to be the most effective councillor possible. Our Governance and Operations Manual lots of information about the UMGSA, but as a Councillor you’ll want to pay particular attention to the following sections:
- Council – page 5
- Committees – page 12
- Executive – page 9
- Finance – page 23
- If you’re interested in running for an Executive position, or want to know more about how UMGSA elections work, take a look at our Election and Referendum Manual.
- Our Clubs Policy and Procedure Manual describes how you can get your student club recognized by the UMGSA.
- The UMGSA Indigenous Ad-Hoc Committee Terms of Reference outlines the duties and purpose of the recently created Indigenous Ad-Hoc Committee.
4. Read the Code of Conduct and Sign the Declaration
In order to become a councillor, you have to read the Code of Conduct. If you agree to it, print and sign the Code of Conduct Declaration. Then, bring the Declaration and the Council Nomination Form (from step two) to our office at 221 UMSU University Centre, and give them to our Office Manager, Ruth. You’re almost there, just one more step!
5. Choose a Committee
As a councillor you have to complete two main requirements: you (or another graduate student from your department) must regularly attend UMGSA Council meetings and sit on a UMGSA Internal Committtee. These committees are each described in full detail in the Committee Policy & Procedure Manual, but here is a list of each committee and a brief description of their responsibilities:
- The Awards Committee processes applications for, and selects the recipients of, UMGSA awards.
- The Finance Committee processes conference grants, keeps tabs on the UMGSA budget, and oversees the overall finances of the UMGSA.
- The Events Committee plans social events to improve graduate student life throughout the year.
- The Services & Support Committee advocates for issues that affect graduate students.
- The Election and Referendum Committee oversees the annual UMGSA Executive election as well as any referendums.
- The Executive Review Subcommittee reviews the current Executive and reports their findings and recommendations to Council.
- The Bylaws and Policy Committee reviews the policies of the UMGSA.
- The Indigenous Ad-Hoc Committee aims to improve the Indigenous graduate student experience on campus.
Once you’ve picked the committee that you’re interested in joining, email Ruth and she will add you to the list. That’s it – now you’re officially a councillor. Welcome to the UMGSA!