Walter Blair, the new Graduate Student Association (GSA) Treasurer, recently posted an update on the GSA Blog about all the hard work the GSA Executive Board has been up to this Summer. You can read that post below to catch up, and don’t forget to mark your calendar for the first GSA Meeting on September 3rd, and the Kickoff event on September 4th!
Dear Grad Students,
This has been a busy summer for the GSA, and we’re stoked to let you all know what we’ve been working on to prepare for the coming semester.
Though Emile, Jen, and I have accomplished a lot so far as a small team, we’re looking forward to filling several open positions in the fall that will be essential to our efforts this year. We requested nominations this past month from organization officers and program directors for the offices of Secretary and four committee chairs. The response has been outstanding, and we look forward to interviewing candidates throughout August. After a vote at our first meeting on September 3rd, the GSA will be ready to roll for the year.
The first project we’d like to tell you about is one that we think is vitally important if not terribly thrilling – a much needed update of the GSA’s two governing documents. We’ve completed a final revision of our Constitution that will encourage more efficient operations and better communication between officers, organization delegates, and the student body. This draft will be voted in or sent back for revisions at our September 3rd meeting. We are still working through a publication of the Office of Student Life called the Compass which details all of the rules and regulations for student organizations such as financial procedures and event planning. Both the Constitution and the Compass are foundational to everything we do and plan to do, so we are putting forth our best efforts to ensure that they are appropriate for graduate life at CofC.
Governmental fun aside, We’re starting a new community outreach program this year that we’re pumped about. Any of you who have attended a GSA social function around the holidays know that we’ve always supported charitable organizations in our community through donations. This year, the GSA is going to support a single local charity throughout the year in order to build momentum and compassion for a good cause. We’re in the process right now of contacting local organizations to come up with a few excellent options to discuss at our first meeting. If you’d like to look into local charitable organizations for yourself, http://www.sciway.net/org/community/charleston.html is a good place to start, and we’d appreciate any comments or questions you may have.
Though the GSA is committed to Charleston, our primary purpose is serving you all. Affordable downtown parking was the major student welfare issue pushed by the GSA in the past few years. The second will be improving student health insurance options. We’ve met with CofC Health Services and independent insurance brokers, and we’re optimistic about providing you guys with easier access to your current options in the near future, and we’re aiming to ultimately generate better options down the road. The first objective of the Student Welfare Committee this year will be to get a grasp of what CofC graduate students, who range from full-time employees with benefits to full-time students, are looking for and what you are willing to pay. The second objective is to get the ball rolling on the long process of acquiring a more comprehensive and affordable student plan. All that to say, we’re really excited to see what you guys want and what we’re able to accomplish this year.
To completely shift gears, I have one question for you all. What would be the point of graduate school if you’re not able to take some time every now and then to show off your incredibly impressive and esoteric knowledge to people who, knowing nothing of your field, can respond only with ooh’s and ahh’s? Alright, don’t answer that…but definitely take us up on the invitation to meet graduate students of all varieties at the GSA Kickoff on Saturday, September 4th. We’ll be out at Fort Johnson from 5-7pm enjoying catered food and live music as well as the chance to impress some unlikely history student with your understanding of barnacle feeding strategies. Not that I’ve ever tried to do that before… Anyway, you’ll get more info about this event in August, so for now just mark your calendars.
The last thing I want to emphasize is that our first Graduate Student Council meeting of the year will be on Friday, September 3rd at 5:30pm in the Stern Student Center, 4th floor. If you’re a voting member of the GSC representing your program’s organization, then you kind of have to be there. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you should come find out how the GSA works and what we do.
For now, enjoy all of the heat and hectic work/travel that August has in store, and look forward to a blog post from Jen in the coming weeks.
Graduate Student Association