GESSS NSW Committee

This area is an online portal for GESSS NSW Committee Members to obtain resources to assist within planning, developing and delivering GESSS.


What is GESSS?

The GSA Earth Science Student Symposium (GESSS) is what you make of it! It’s a conference run by students, for students. It can be one or two days and will aim to highlight the research students in your state are doing.

Who should be on our Committee?

Organising a GESSS is a unique professional experience for early career researchers. Successfully running such a great event does take time and effort, but when everyone involved is keen and enthusiastic, you will realise that rather than being a daunting task, it is an exciting challenge. Each committee should have an executive made up of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.

The Executive will lead the broader Committee which will include specific people focusing on the details of sponsorship, programs and abstracts, logistics (i.e. event planning), advertisement and website/ social media. The Executive should meet regularly (once a fortnight) and the general Committee around once a month. You can always organise more meetings if needed. Generally, the full Committee should consist of 10 members.

NOTE: At a minimum all Executive Committee members must be GSA Members. This is to ensure that the committee and the events are covered by the GSA’s volunteer insurance policy. You divisional contact can help you to become a Member.

What does each person do?

The Chair and Vice-chair share responsibility for the conference. The lead the team during meetings and are the faces of the event on the day. In the event the Chair is unable to attend a meeting or even the event, the Vice-Chair should be willing and able to step up.

The Treasurer will handle your budget and work with the GSA Business Office to make sure everything is paid for. Importantly they should work closely or oversee your Sponsorship Team and make sure sponsors get the public recognition they deserve.

Your Secretary will handle all communications to and from the Committee. This really means minutes and agendas (Here’s a great article about minutes) but should be a port of call for the Division Committee or Governing Council contact, and delegates. This role requires good organisation, so those with messy desks need not apply.

Two charismatic people will be the boots on the ground for Sponsorship. This dynamic duo will work to attract and commit sponsors from all possible sectors. They will also work with the Treasurer to develop sponsorship packages (please see our sponsorship page) to ensure you have a range of options for the really big sponsors but also those who want to support you but can’t commit a lot. All sponsors are valuable so this role requires the ability to address concerns in a manner which builds the sponsor-conference relationship.

Programs and abstracts are the two people who will ensure your abstracts go from random submissions to an amazing on the day program. These legends will ensure the abstracts are of a high quality and decide who does a poster and who gets the coveted oral presentations slots. No need to reinvent the wheel GESSS Committee of years gone by have you covered on layouts and all the tricks you’ll need to succeed.

Your Logistics team will be focused on preparing the day itself. They should be working under the guidance of one of your Executive to ensure that a venue is secured, catering is ordered, AV systems work and that delegates have everything they needs (lanyards, name tags, gift bags etc.).

Promotion is a fine art and goes beyond the realm of a social media meme lord. The team undertaking advertising will have a flair for creation of flyers, brochures, online content and any other media (e.g. social media) you think is needed to promote your event (like these). These Committee Members will have to reach out to universities, businesses and govt. agencies to get people excited about your event. The social media, websites and emails have already been set up so no need to change them, just get the login and passwords from last year’s Committee.

The Website and social media person or people will have a certain style and finesse for attracting people with their daily posts. Social media is really important for engaging with your potential delegates. Most GESSS events have websites and social media followings so some of the work is done – your job is to get them re-engaged after the last event. In this role it is important to advertise important dates and registration or sponsorship so being creative can help entice people to register or sponsor your event.

How do we like, buy things?!

The GSA recommends you avoid using your personal cards but will of course reimburse you ASAP if you really need to. Each GESSS committee will be issued a credit card with a small limit. Please plan your spending accordingly. The business office also pays invoices directly so just send them along politely, with clear instructions. It is important to keep in mind processing times may mean you need to send the invoice up to a week in advance, especially for big payments (over $1,000). Just remember, any purchase you make for the GESSS, be sure to keep your receipts. If the receipt is on the EFTPOS paper, be sure to scan it straight away and save it in a receipts folder so that it is not lost and it is easy to email. Any receipt or payment of invoices has to be seconded by the Treasurer, or if the Treasurer is making the claim, the Chair or vice chair must second the approval. 

Who do we ask for help?

Previous Committees will have templates for all critical aspects of the symposium. Things like budgets, sponsorships letter, previous run sheets, advertising templates and swag. Make sure, as the Committee, you familiarise yourself with these documents. A lot of these you can re-use and update and it will save you a heap of time. Division contacts and mentors are always available to help you and the Governing Council is also heavily engaged in your success! Your GESSS Division Contacts and Mentors are below:

Jo Parr

Phil Gilmore 
02 4931 6533

Okay sounds cool, what do we do first?

You will need to write a proposal outlining the proposed date, venue, budget and Committee Members. We also suggest you try to think about what you will do to distinguish your event to make people interested in attending and how you will fund it. There is start-up seed funding from the GSA that’s roles over year to year, so you will have $1000 to get going with any early expenses. A more detailed outline can be found here

When and where should we hold it?

We suggest a date from late October to end of November, aiming to avoid other conferences (like AGU etc.) or exam periods. Universities or govt. facilities make great venues! They will be able to provide poster boards, AV systems and are usually able to be engaged free of charge.

So when it is done what happens?

The GSA hosts a dinner for the committee to express our gratitude and congratulations on what we are sure will be an amazing event! Make sure you put this on your CV.

Good luck!

Still need more information?

There is a comprehensive Operating Manual for GESSS committee’s to refer to that has a lot more information about all aspects of planning and running a GESSS Event.