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Student Governance

order of the gavel pin
Photo credit: Christina Franusich

Commission on Student Affairs

The charge of the Commission on Student Affairs is to study, formulate, and recommend to University Council policies and procedures which affect graduate and undergraduate student life and morale. Areas which are considered by CSA include: student relations with peers, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and the community; student organizations, social life, and recreation; employment, placement, and counseling; residential life, health, safety, and quality of student related services; and other matters affecting student life.

The membership of CSA consists of representatives from the Student Affairs, Council of Academic Deans, Staff Senate, Faculty Senate, general administration, academic support, Extension/public service, and student organizations, both graduate and undergraduate.

Current members of CSA and minutes of past CSA meetings will be posted on the administrative governance webpage.

Order of the Gavel


The purpose of the Order of the Gavel is:

  • To promote student leadership development during and after the university life of its members;
  • To promote the intellectual and personal growth of its members and the general student body;
  • To work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to develop internal and external relationships that promote positive leadership development;
  • To assist in the development of student leadership programs and opportunities through Leadership Education Collaborative and the Division of Student Affairs; and
  • To serve in an advisory capacity to the vice presidentfor student affairs.


The Order of the Gavel was founded in 1984 by Dr. Sandra Sullivan, former vice president for student affairs. Dr. Sullivan believed that the division anduniversity should recognize the important contribution of the leaders of major student organizations by creatinga special honor society. There were originally 13 student organization leaders installed as charter members.

The order was founded as an undergraduate honor society, but as time passed and the influence of graduate student organizations grew, there was a groundswell of support to include graduate organizations. These were added in the mid-1990s. In fall of 2013, under the leadership of Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patricia A. Perillo, the Order of the Gavel once again revisited the constitution and by laws regarding organizational membership. Today, there are 28 undergraduate and graduate student members representing the major student organizations at Virginia Tech.