Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Graduate Student Association?

Most departments at Cornell have their own Graduate Student Association, or GSA, although some are more active than others. GSAs act as a liaison between graduate students and faculty, foster academic interaction among graduate students, and support important social functions.

Who sponsors the GSA?

Our GSA receives funding from both the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) of Cornell University.

How often does the GSA meet?

The GSA usually holds a full meeting at the beginning of each semester to make decisions and plan activities for the upcoming months. Most DNR grad students participate in GSA events throughout the year.

Who participates in the GSA?

All DNR graduate students are welcome to participate in any GSA meetings or activities.

Who runs the GSA?

GSA officers are elected at a meeting near the end of Spring semester each year. The officers for 2014-2015 are:

How does the GSA foster a sense of community among grad students in DNR?

In addition to organizing and sponsoring most of the annual social events that take place in our department, GSA organizes many other events that may never appear on this website, including pay-day happy hours and department barbecues throughout the year.

What is a "cohort"?

A cohort is a group of students who begin their graduate study at Cornell during the same year. Most first-year graduate students enroll in NTRES 6000, Introduction to Graduate Studies in Natural Resources, in the fall semester. This class helps new graduate students understand the mechanics of the department, but it also allows new students to bond with their cohort.

How does the GSA interact with DNR faculty?

The GSA elects a faculty meeting representative who attends the monthly faculty meetings and keeps the GSA up-to-date on topics of interest to graduate students.

What is the GSA Symposium?

Every January before classes start, the GSA hosts a symposium for students, faculty and staff to share their research ideas and results. The GSA is responsible for organizing the event, including sending out the call for abstracts, organizing the schedule, purchasing food and beverages, and organizing moderators for each session.

How does the GSA contribute to the DNR Weekly Seminar Series?

GSA helps organize the weekly Department of Natural Resources Seminars, held at 3:30 PM on Tuesdays in Fernow. Grad students are responsible for videotaping the seminar so that it is available on DVD to anyone who missed it, and promoting the series among grad students.

What are the GPSA and the GPSAFC?

The DNR GSA elects a representative to sit on the Council of Representatives for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). This organization serves grad students from across the university. Our representative ensures that any macro-changes in the graduate school community take Natural Resources students' interests into account.

What is Disco InFernow?

Disco InFernow was started in 2001 and has drawn large crowds from across the entire grad school ever since. The Disco takes place in conjunction with the DNR Symposium in mid-January. The GSA is responsible for creating all the magic of a disco frenzy on the third floor of Fernow Hall.

What is the DNR Spring In-Formal?

The DNR Spring In-Formal takes place each year near the end of the Spring Semester. The GSA is responsible for finding a location for the party, organizing volunteers to help set up and clean up, purchasing food, and hiring a DJ or selecting music. The GSA also organizes an auction that takes place during the formal. Auction items are solicited from graduate students and faculty members, and the items are auctioned off in either a silent or live auction. The auction is an important fundraiser for the GSA!

Who should I contact about this website?

Please contact our webmaster, James Burtis, if you have questions or comments regarding this website.

Who should I contact for more information about the DNR GSA?

Please feel free to contact our GSA leadership team if you have additional questions.