Mission Statement:

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) of Montana State University’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department exists to strengthen the graduate student community with the aim of serving the needs and improving the experience and research quality of the current graduate students by 1) providing them with tools to grow intellectually via financial support and skill strengthening activities, and 2) promoting the graduate student interactions with each other, post-docs, and professors within this department, as well as with other MSU departments, other chemistry departments across the country/world, and the public.


  • Specific Tools for Intellectual Development:
    • Travel grants
    • Presentation support: Grad Research Presentation (GRP) Series


  • Promotion of Graduate Student Interactions:
    • Annual August Picnic
    • GSA coordinate social events (i.e. Donut Day, Bridger Brewing Beer/Pizza Social)


Maintaining Official Club Status

Main contact at Office of Student Engagement as of 2016: Mandy St. Aubyn amanda.staubyn@montana.edu). Future CBGSA members should note that this contact may change.  As of October 2015, the CBGSA is recognized by the school as an official club. Maintaining this status is required to apply for OAE. Please refer to the Registered Student Organization Manual and Policies on the MSU website under the Office of Student Engagement (subheading is Student Organizations) for more details:

a)Registration must be sent in annually – this needs to be done by September 30th every year so that there is no lapse in recognition. The registration form can be found online. Refer to the Recognition Criteria section of the online manual to get familiarized with the criteria that allows for the CBGSA to become officially recognized. When filling out the members, be mindful that it includes all chemistry and biochemistry graduate students. A copy of our previous registration can be found in the google drive.

b Attending the Annual Student Organization Leadership Conference – This conference takes place on campus in October, and is only a few hours long, so keep an eye on your emails for notifications. Every student organization must send a minimum of one person to the Student Organization Leadership Conference.

c) Adhere to the Student Organization Responsibilities and MSU policies as stipulated by the MSU Offices of Student Engagement



Committee Information

Officers and Duties


  • Liaison between faculty and GSA
  • Tie breaker
  • Signer on bank account
  • Responsible for debit card
  • Reviewing funding applications


  • Assists chair
  • Assumes duties of chair in the event he/she is unable or resigns midterm
  • Preparing agenda and taking meeting minutes

Communications Officer 1

  • Manages Email (announcements, ious)
  • Prints/stocks IOU slips

Communications Officer 2

  • Makes flyers
  • Website (pictures, announcement, etc.)


  • Manages snack bar money
  • Make bank deposits
  • Second signer on banking account
  • Responsible for debit card
  • Funding applications
  • General Accounting
  • Keeping spreadsheets up to date

Shared responsibilities

  • Costco
  • Chair and treasurer will be signers on Costco card
  • Two people go to restock snack bar every 3 weeks
  • Events
  • Making reservations
  • Collecting food
  • Setting up
  • Picnic
  • Fundraisers 

Committee Bylaws


  • Any graduate student can nominate themselves or be nominated by another graduate student. 
    • This includes all students who have an advisor in the chemistry and biochemistry department.
  • Elections will be announced via email prior to last winter social
  • Nominations will open the first Monday in March and close that Friday
    • Nominees must accept nomination by the second Monday in March
  • Election will be held the last Friday in March
    • Election will occur on a “donut/bagel morning”
    • Election will be by ballot voting
    • Board members count the votes
    • Majority vote of board members will break any ties
    • Winners will be announced that same day
  • New board members will begin attending meetings the first week of April
  • New board members will begin their term the first week in May
  • Members remain on GSA board for up to 2 years.
    • Members can only serve one term (this is for your own good!)
  • Board members must be PhD track.
  • The majority (4/5) of board members must be have attended graduate school in the chemistry department at Montana State University for at least 12 months.
  • No board may have more than two members in the same research group.
  • If a board member relinquishes their position or graduates while on the board, a nomination will be open to the graduate student body but will be voted in by majority vote of the board.



  • Any board member may be removed from office at any given time with at least a 3/1 vote.
  • All board members will have access to the Graduate Student Association email account.
  • Financial statements and meeting minutes will be readily provided to the members of the Graduate Student Association when requested.
  • Any bylaw may be amended or added via majority vote of the board.
  • Majority of the board members must approve any individual spending exceeding $50 (excluding Costco snack bar runs)


GSA Responsibilities

1. Snack Bar

The GSA snack bar is one of the services we provide, and is a well-loved contribution to the department. The snack bar is not a major fundraising stream for the club since we have kept the prices low. Additionally, since the bar runs on the honors system, there is inevitably some money loss.

To avoid over spending only the amount of money raised for that month will be spent for the next month


GSA has its own Costco card; the treasurer and chair will be the signers on the account (same as debit card) and one of the two must go on every Costco run.

Snack Bar IOUs

This is the responsibility of the communications officer. There are ‘I owe the GSA’ & ‘I paid the GSA’ slips in the snack bar. These are filled out whenever people owe money. Each week they are collected and emails are sent out to individuals who owe money. A spreadsheet is also maintained and the IOU slips are kept by the communications officer to keep track of who owes what. Once IOUs have been paid, individuals are removed from the spreadsheet and the IOU slips are thrown away. 

2. Annual Picnic

Traditionally, this has been held the Friday before school starts, refer to the Picnic folder in the GSA Drive for more information and details

  • Reserve the park early (February):  This is done at the parks and rec office (415 N Bozeman Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715) the park permit and alcohol permit will cost ~$75 total.
  • Get a keg.
  • Activities: Think of fun things to do then do it.
  • Desserts – Pick something yummy and buy them (cake, cookies, pies, etc.)
  • Summary – suggested timeline:
    • 3 months in advance – Reserve park/permits
    • 1 month to ~3 weeks in advance – line up the keg
    • Day of – purchase food, desserts, any necessary condiments or spices, any necessary miscellaneous items


3. Graduate Research Presentations (GRP)

During the fall and spring school semesters, the GRP is ideally held once a month, where 1-2 people may volunteer to give a short (~20 min) talk about their research. This is a good platform for people to practice for upcoming seminars, conferences, orals, defenses or just to get a chance to talk about their research. It is run by the graduate students, for graduate students- all students are welcome to attend but no faculty members. The GRP sessions are funded by the department, so GSA funds should not be used to subsidize any GRP activities, such as buying pizza, desserts, or coffee. Stay in touch with Dr. Mary Cloninger (or the acting department head) for funding.


4. Maintaining the Website

The GSA now has an official club site through montana.edu, and can be found at www.montana.edu/chembiochemgsa/. Any issues with the website can be deferred to CMS, they also provide training which the new communications officer will need to attend. More information can be found at: https://www.montana.edu/web/cms/


5. Travel Awards

Refer to the Travel Awards folder in the GSA Drive for more information and details

  • Any graduate student (not currently on the board) is eligible to apply. 
  • This includes all students who have an advisor in the chemistry and biochemistry department.
  • Applications open and are announced the first week in October and close the last Friday in October.
  • Applications will be submitted to Doreen
  • Criteria for Graduate Students: Select some criteria for graduate student proposals – we suggested they be no longer than 2 pages, and include: 1) where and when of travel 2) what you will present (oral or poster), 3) background on your project, 4) why you should be given a travel grant, 5) a budget or how you intend to use the $500, and 6) your name, year in graduate school, whether you have passed candidacy, and whether you have attended a conference as a graduate student at MSU.
  • Board members are the judges
  • Will vote based on a rubric
  • Majority vote breaks a tie
  • Winner will be announced at the holiday party
  • Winner will be required to give a seminar to fellow graduate students