Thursday, August 4, 2011

GPSS Conference Travel Funds

All graduate students who go to a conference in their field to further their career can apply for funding from the Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund. This e-mail tells you how it works. And keep a heads-up for future changes. If you want to get involved in running the Fund, let me know right away!

If you are presenting research at a conference this year, you can apply to the department to give you money to cover travel expenses. If you are not presenting research, the department will not fund your travel. Either way, you will have the opportunity to request partial reimbursement of qualifying travel expenses by applying for the Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund.

1) Save your receipts!

2) When you return from your trip, you can enter a reimbursement request online.

On the form, you must declare if the department (or any other source) gave you money for the conference! Its unethical to request grad fee student funds to make a profit (duh). If you presented research at the meeting, you will give evidence such as an abstract.

You will itemize each expenditure for which you have legit documentation; rules and limitations will be on the website. Beware! Its kind of stingy; i.e. you can only ask for up to $15/day for food. But its better than $0/day! If they post the rules before you travel, check them out so you keep an eye on what's permissible to request.

3) Once all the requests from an entire semester have been received by the senate Finance Committee, and once that semester ends, then the funds will be allocated. This allows fair sharing of the money. It does mean that you'll have to wait until AFTER you travel to find out if you'll get any reimbursement or not.

4) First, funding will be allocated to grad students who presented original research at a conference. Next, funding will be allocated to grad students who attended a conference, but did not present.

What if they run out of money for a semester? Then the money will be divided evenly among the qualifying requests. For example, suppose they only have enough money to reimburse 80% of the funding that has been requested by attendees. Then they will give each attendee 80% of what they requested.

Last year the senate voted to extend the fund to people who attend, but do not present. This means hundreds more applications. Its the goal of the senate to see every dime of about $100,000 in the travel fund to go right into the pockets of traveling awesome grad students. It is likely that the money will all be spent; its likely that your attendee request will be partially funded for this reason. But that's pretty great, right? It used to be that there was leftover money, but that attendees couldn't get any of it. Now that's changed, but its such a new change that we can't yet predict exactly how much money a person will get.

5) Who is "They"? Why, its the Senate Finance Committee! And you can join them! Its kind of tough work making all these decisions, but its also fun. You get to see the inner workings of a big organization and become good friends with people from other departments. Plus, it will help you see how the Earth Sciences department can benefit from senate funding. If you want to join, write to during the new semester, and let me know too.

Please share this info with every grad student you know. Terms subject to change! There will be a new Finance Committee this year, and they have to oversee it. Check the Finance page of the website to find more. IF you have problems, let me, John Flemming, and the Finance Chair Dushyant Singh know, at Be patient and nice and you will get help!

Finally.) I have been Graduate and Professional Student Senator for our department during the past academic year. John Flemming will be the senator this year, and he will be given help by proxies Nick Kline and Christiann Boutwell. If you want to get involved, talk to John or me.

Kathleen Ritterbush
Bottjer Lab
ZHS 233

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