The president and vice president share the responsibility of being the voice of the physics graduate students to the faculty, but particularly to the department chair and the advisory committee (ADCOM). Both the PGO president and vice-president sit in on ADCOM meetings, where they and a few faculty members bring up topics of interest and voice opinions to the department chair. Other duties of the president and vice-president include organizing a graduate panel to speak at orientation, sending out PGO surveys, hosting elections, and generally being the grad student point-of-contact for the department secretary and faculty. The most successful president and vice-president will color outside the lines. Their main goal is to improve the life of MSU physics graduate students.
The responsibilities of the PGO Seminar Organizer are, unsurprisingly, related to the organization of PGO seminars. However, there is a fair bit of freedom in both how these responsibilities are interpreted and how they are addressed them. Research seminars, workshops, panels, meet-the-speakers--all of these can fall under the purview of the Seminar Organizer if they only believe in themself and their ability to enact change. Ultimately, the PGO Seminar Organizer is a position about change. The PGO Seminar Organizer has the power to influence the way future scientists communicate, how speakers treat their audiences, and the extent to which audience members think "this is boring" about things their peers are saying. Will the Organizer command that power? Or will the power command them?
The Graduate Recruitment Chair organizes visit weekends for graduate recruits. The majority of the work is done in the spring semester before and during the visit weekend(s). No work is currently done in reading or reviewing any applications, though the Graduate Recruitment Chair can attend faculty meetings that discuss the review process if they likes. There are very few meetings, maybe just two or three in total that they attend. Organizing the visit weekends involves reserving dinner and bowling for recruits and some current grad students, and making sure the recruits get from A to B during their visit. On occasion a recruit will arrive outside of the standard visit weekends, and in this case the Graduate Recruitment Chair would also coordinate lunch and dinner with the recruit. They sometimes get to go to conferences to recruit as well. Lastly, the Recruitment Representative is the go-to person for questions the recruits may have about coming to MSU.
The social chair's responsibility is to plan Happy Hour every week, which is Friday after work. They also get to plan a barbeque for grad students at the beginning/end of the summer. Generally speaking, the social chair's responsibility is to facilitate recreation and community building amongst graduate students.
The Shop and Space Committee (SS) Rep largely serves as the liaison between the Physics & Astronomy Machine Shop and the graduate students. The SS Rep is responsible for coordinating with the machine shop when the Student Shop class will be offered, conveying this information to the graduate students, and maintaining an up-to-date list of graduate students wanting to take the shop class.
Representatives of the graduate curriculum committee get to sit in on graduate program and curriculum meetings and provide graduate student input. As an example, this past year they discussed changes to the subject exams and graduate responsible conduct in research (RCR) training.
The PGO webmaster is tasked with the noble and heroic pursuit of maintaining the PGO website. This includes updating the officer position photos and contact information, keeping a current list of upcoming talks, and--further--the webmaster serves as the student representative to the physics department computer committee. They meet only when there is something to do... which is not often.
The Council of Graduate Students (COGS) Representative has the ability to make real change on campus and support their fellow graduate students. COGS is the collective voice of all graduate and professional students on campus, and as such has a genuine measure of power. In addition to monthly meetings where larger policy can be set, and where free dinner is provided, the COGS Representative can also sit on a number of important university and COGS committees. These include committees on everything from naming buildings to healthcare to racial equality to fighting for cheaper entry at the dining halls!
The Dean's SAC Representative attends monthly meetings to advise the Dean on issues concerning students within the College of Natural Science and promote the interests of Physics Graduate students.
The treasurer's job is to handle none of the money! (Physically that is.) Instead, the treasurer collects receipts from those who spend money on PGO events, turns them into Kim, and keeps a record of how much of the budget has been spent (for whenever the president or seminar organizer ask). Most often, reimbursements are for PGO Seminars but can also include the BBQs, meet-the-speaker events, and the occasional survey gift card. Perks include becoming friends with Kim - and we all know the graduate secretary is the best person to know!
The Inclusivity Director is the main individual working to improve the diversity of the physics department. The Director will lead a small group of individuals representing the different physics subfields in actions such as working with faculty allies, collecting data about the current departmental climate, organizing large-scale meetings of the entire physics department, and making both short- and long-term goals and plans to improve representation and inclusion within the department.
The GEU Representatives (also called Stewards) are GEU members who function as union member representatives in their MSU departments. They stand up for their fellow graduate students both within the department and across the larger university. They have the opportunity to shape the direction that the GEU takes in the future. Meetings are biweekly and include free dinner.
Representatives on the colloquium committee solicit recommendations for colloquium speakers from the graduate students, and attend the (few) meetings of the colloquium committee.