Committee descriptions



Faculty Meeting Representative: Meetings generally take place several times every semester at somewhat regular intervals, i.e. always at 3 pm on a set day of the week. At each meeting the rep should take notes on the announcements, discussion and any decisions that faculty vote on. After the meeting, the rep should compile these notes into an email (usually 1-2 pages) that succinctly summarizes the major points from the meeting, and highlight those that in some way affect the graduate students (e.g. course curriculum, new hires, TA-ships, etc.). Note that the grad rep works with the chair to determine what can and can’t be shared from the faculty meeting. The grad rep thus has some responsibility to advocate for graduate students before, during, and after the meeting.

Graduate & Professional Student Assembly Representative: The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meets bi-monthly on Monday evenings, with dinner provided (~16 meetings per year). The GPSA seeks to improve graduate student life, by advocating for things like health insurance, and supporting social activities on campus. At the minimum, the EEB representative should attend as many of these meetings as possible, and report back to EEB grads on any issues of importance that arise. The representative can miss a maximum of two meetings, or GSA funding may be withdrawn. However, the representative can send a substitute to the meeting with no penalty. The representative is encouraged get more actively involved in the GPSA governing structure and other University Committees, (e.g., Student Advocacy, Campus Welfare, Diversity and International Students).

President: Two co-presidents will lead the GSA: at minimum, this role involves overseeing all other committees and running one general body meeting per semester which all grads are expected to attend. Presidents should evaluate the function of our GSA at the end of each academic year, and spearhead any necessary changes. Co-presidents will each serve a term of two years to pass on institutional memory. Incoming second-years choose one person among themselves by July (before they start their second academic year); whomever is chosen will then serve as co-president for the subsequent two years.


Treasurer: The outgoing president will serve as Treasurer during their fourth year, managing all budgets, collecting receipts from events, submitting reimbursements, and passing on their financial knowledge to the senior co-president. The treasurer will stay up-to-date on funding guidelines from the GPSA Finance Commission (which funds nearly all the GSA’s events outlined here).




Lunch Bunch: Lunch bunch meets 1-2 times a month to share skills and/or peer review proposals, manuscripts, or fellowship applications. This group is designed for grad students, and as such, should be advertised and utilized by all grads. Peer review groups are an opportunity for graduate students to share written work and get feedback from peers. Skill share events have included things such as Github tutorials, GRFP workshops, and conversations with faculty about job searches: EEB grads are encouraged to lead workshops or discussions on any topic relevant to their peers.

Equity: This committee works to increase equality and inclusion in EEB, and to reduce implicit bias in our community. Equality committee members serve as liaisons among graduate students, faculty, administration and other groups on campus such as The Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, The Office of Global Learning International Services, etc. This committee will organize and facilitate at least one annual equity-oriented workshop. Additionally, it will invite leaders from other groups on campus to facilitate equity-oriented workshops for EEB. Finally, this committee will perform a climate survey every three years to assess the wellbeing of our community, analyze and compile results, and facilitate focus groups to discuss the results and next steps.

Diversity Recruitment: This recruitment weekend is entirely organized by graduate students. Advertising and fundraising begins in the spring of the preceding year, and as such, the leaders of this committee are chosen in the spring to serve two-year terms. If interested in helping, contact previous leaders.




Fall Welcome Picnic: Near the beginning of the academic year, the department hosts a picnic to welcome new graduate students as well as returning department members. The department pays for, and the committee buys, ingredients for grilling and some beverages. The committee is also responsible for coordinating potluck for senior students to bring side dishes, desserts, and beverage, as well as renting, setting up and cleaning up the pavilion at Taughannock where this event takes place. As this event is the first time to welcome new students, the co-presidents and the first-year liaisons will work with this committee to arrange an informal mini-orientation. Committee should also help coordinate carpools/rides to ensure incoming students are able to get to the picnic.


Tea: This committee member organizes an afternoon tea roughly once every two weeks. Baked goods are usually donated by whomever is hosting, while tea and coffee funded by the GSA budget. At the beginning of each semester, tea coordinator should send out a sign-up sheet for other people to bring in cookies and host tea. Each week, the host will help the tea coordinator to set up tea and send email reminders to the grad list.  

SNEEB: The committee helps with the 5-6 SNEEBs EEB hosts per semester. The work includes convincing faculty to sponsor a week of SNEEB, helping their lab set up and clean up, and ordering pizza. Meet with and/or email previous organizers to transition responsibilities and institutional knowledge.


Holiday Party: The party usually happens in the first or second week of December in Corson-Mudd Atrium. Ask for volunteers to cook the food. For the main dishes, the committee provides the pans and ingredients for: 4 turkeys, 2 meat lasagnas, 2 veggie lasagnas, and some years have also done a ham. Also put another sign-up sheet for side dishes: appetizers/salads/sides or however you want to break it down. Talk to EEB administration (who?)  about the dessert competition. She is in charge of that but we help her run it however she decides. Judges for the competition are chosen by the Holiday Part Committee. Alcohol person harasses all the grads and faculty for money (asking students for at least $5). Committee needs to decide and plan any activities beyond the dessert competition and the cohort video. In past years, we have done raffles and trivia during dinner. After the party, the committee needs to stay and help clean up until the place is spotless. We need to pack up and return all the stuff we brought. Meet with and/or email previous organizers as soon as possible in the fall to facilitate the transition.



Pizza Lunch: If the department seminar speaker is from another institution, the graduate students host a pizza lunch in the Cole Room after their talk. The committee is responsible for ordering delivery pizza, sending an email reminder to the grad list about lunch, attending lunch, and cleaning up. Committee members must be available between 1pm and 3pm on Mondays to set-up and clean up. Meet with and/or email previous organizers as soon as possible in the fall to facilitate the transition.


Richard B. Root Invited Speaker: The seminar occurs during the normal EEB seminar time in the Spring semester. Transportation and lodging arrangements should be made at least three months prior to the speaker’s arrival. About a month before the seminar, the committee should begin planning the speaker’s schedule while at Cornell. The committee must also coordinate a departmental potluck, usually held at a faculty member’s residence. While the speaker is in Ithaca, the committee is responsible for the speaker’s transportation to and from the airport, to and from campus, and to various other locations. Once the seminar is over, the committee is in charge of starting the nomination process for the next year, coordinating the voting process, and contacting the winning speaker. This selection process should be complete by April. Meet with previous organizers to transition responsibilities and institutional knowledge.

EEB Departmental Symposium: The graduate symposium is a two day mini-symposium of presentations by graduate students and post-docs in EEB and other departments held in December. The committee is in charge of scheduling the Morrison Room, compiling abstracts, and setting a schedule for the speakers as well as moderating the sessions and hosting a reception afterward. Meet with previous organizers to transition responsibilities and institutional knowledge.

Recruitment Weekend: This committee is in charge of planning most of the events for recruitment weekend including a “special” SNEEB and post-dinner talks on Friday, the dinner at the Lab of O on Saturday, and helping Jolene et al. all weekend.  Meet with and/or email previous organizers to transition responsibilities and institutional knowledge (Google docs exist for this committee).


Staff Appreciation: The event goes on in mid-May and should be scheduled at least by mid-April. A typical venue is the Corson-Mudd Atrium at 10:30-11:00. The committee recruits baked goods from grad students, creates thank you cards for the staff, and sets up and cleans up the event.



Webmaster: This responsibility entails upkeep of the website and keeping the EEB grad list-serve updated. Maintenance of the site includes cycling photos, adding photos from recent department events, and updating the directory and the EEB grad list for new students and removing those who’ve graduated.

Resources: (1) Pub Board: Three times each year, update the bulletin board near the second floor entrance with recent publications authored or co-authored by current grad students. Send an email to the grad list requesting copies of new publications to update the board around September, January, and May. (It’s most important to update the pub board before recruitment weekend!) (2) Grants Database: At the beginning of each fall semester, send out requests for new grants received by EEB grad students. Ask for the grant name, contact (website), keywords (eligibility, types of projects funded), approximate deadline, whether passing your a-exam was necessary, and students who have successfully been funded by this grant. Responsibilities include updating the site as needed. Coordinate with the webmaster to post these awards on the EEB grad website.