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The Computer Science Graduate Organization, or CSGO, is the field organization for the Computer Science department representing Computer Science graduate students to other entities in Cornell. It also helps plan, organize, and fund events for the department. The constitution may be found here.

Notes for the E-board

There are some standard tasks that the CSGO E-board undertakes regularly. Below are some operational notes on how to perform them.


CSGO mostly revolves around regular meetings, plus a few more rare meetings that occur once a semester or so. Below are some notes, mostly targeted at the President and Secretary, on how to conduct those meetings.

Standard CSGO Meetings

Meetings for the CSGO E-board typically happen every other week and last one hour. Once elections are done, the President coordinates with the officers to find which times would work for these meetings. Ideally, other students should also be consulted in scheduling; in particular, it is good to make sure the Czar Czar and interested previous officers can attend if possible. A regular meeting room can then be booked by the Secretary.

The President and/or Secretary should assemble an agenda in Google Drive sometime a few days before the meeting, sending messages to the CSGO slack channel and listserv to mention the meeting and provide the agenda for suggestions. The agenda is usually assembled informally. As of this past year, the agenda has traditionally opened with a review of the previous minutes and one-minute updates from each officer, and has concluded with open forum for issues not on the agenda.

Quorum is very lenient according to the CSGO constitution; only two of the President, Secretary, and Treasurer need to be present. We don't really worry about making quorum before starting meetings, nor do we have policies about removing officers who do not have excused absences from meetings. We don't use Robert's Rules, and we're pretty informal about discussion, but the President should ensure that discussion moves through all the agenda items in a timely manner.

The Secretary should take minutes during these meetings, including maintaining a list of action items for officers before the next meeting. After meetings, the Secretary can send out minutes right away (no approval required).

Department Town Hall

Department town halls should happen once a semester with ideally both the Chair and DGS. Most town halls include soliciting topics for discussion on an agenda. We also experimented with a special topics one addressing diversity in the department.

For a typical town hall, it is a good idea to circulate an agenda roughly two weeks before the town hall to the grad-students CS listserv. These include instructions to fully specify agenda items and to verify that they are not quickly resolvable by emailing someone or filing a ticket. An example agenda with these instructions can be found here.

The secretary or some other officer should take notes during the town hall. After checking these minutes with another officer, the Chair, and anyone being quoted, these notes should be sent to the csgo Cornell listserv.

Meetings with the Chair

The current protocol is to meet with the Chair and the DGS once a semester. At the time of writing, this involves emailing the Chair (Fred Schneider), the DGS (Bart Selman), and their respective administrative leads (Tammy Gardner and Becky Stewart) to set up a meeting. It's a good idea to do this some time in advance, or to schedule it at the end of the previous meeting, as the Chair and DGS both have packed schedules.

We try to send out an agenda as a Google doc two weeks before the meeting to the meeting guests, allowing them to suggest additions or request more information before the meeting. We usually draft these up during the CSGO meeting 2-3 weeks before the meeting. Most topics covered in these meetings are focused on issues students are having that the Chair might be able to help resolve.

During the meeting, one of the student attendees will take notes. After the meeting, the officers get together and rewrite the notes in clearer English summaries. These notes get sent out to the non-CSGO attendees for approval. Once they have been approved, they are sent to the csgo Cornell listserv.

Event planning

While many regular events are organized by czars, the CSGO also helps throw some events, as well as helping schedule and organize other events.

Event funding

CSGO obtains funding through several channels, including the CS department, CIS, and the GPSA FC.

  • For funding from the CS department, the E-board members/czars organizing the event should email the GA (Becky) about what the event is, how much it should cost, and what the money will be used for. For larger events, it may also make sense to follow this up with a more organized budget. Becky can approve and will help with reimbursement given an attendee list and an itemized receipt. Examples of events funded like this include mentorship events, fellowship workshops, etc.
  • For funding from CIS, the E-board members/czars organizing the event should contact the Dean (Greg Morrisett) directly to pitch the event. As with CS, for larger events, this should be followed up by a budget. Reimbursement should go through the Dean's assistant (Lindsay Welsh) with an itemized receipt. An example event is the Staff Appreciation Event held each year.
  • For funding from the GPSA FC, items should be approved by a vote at a CSGO meeting by the E-board members. The budget from the GPSA FC splits funding into two categories: social funding and field funding. In either case, the President and Treasurer should help the organizers submit their reimbursement with attached itemized receipts, advertising materials, and attendee list via the OrgSync forms and the Dean of Students office in Willard Straight Hall.
    • If 'social funding' is used, then the event must be open to the whole Cornell graduate student community. All advertising material must include the line "This event is funded by the GPSA FC. Open to the graduate community."
    • If field funding is used, then the event may be limited to only CS graduate students, but must be open to all CS graduate students, and they must be contacted through the CS grad-students listserv. Again, all materials 'must' state that "This event is funded by the GPSA FC."

Events may also be cosponsored by other organizations. For instance, a mixer with AEP at the Big Red Barn was co-sponsored by EGSA and the AEP department student organization. These reimbursement processes can get a little tricky; working with student officers in other fields will help work through what your advertising should say and how to submit reimbursements.


Several options exist for spaces for CSGO events.

  • The easiest option is typically to reserve a space in the building. For some rooms, this can be done through a student with reservation privileges (e.g. Eston or Matthew). For others, contacting Jessie White or Becky Stewart can help secure a space. Note that depending on the location of the room and the time of the event, access may be limited. It is also good to specify which events might have alcohol, as events like Social Hour require a student monitor to check ID.
  • For workshops, sometimes it may be useful to reserve a space in another building. Spaces for the School of Engineering can be reserved here. It is a good idea to make these reservations early, as spaces fill up and sometimes reservations take a while to process.
  • For events open to the graduate community, using the Big Red Barn can be excellent to get more space and to handle bartending through their staff with pre-purchased drink tickets. However, food options become very limited, as the BRB does not allow events to serve outside food outside of approved catering/delivery strategies. Also, if you use this space, you will need to provide an advertisement for the event to the BRB in advance so that they can include it in their weekly email.