A First Point of Entry: The Graduate Student Government's Orientation and Welcome Event
Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.
Graduate Student Government (GSG) is an essential campus organization that supports and advocates for the graduate student body. GSG connects students to campus resources, offers financial support through various research, conference, and excellence awards, and works with administrators on behalf of student interests. In addition to developing educational and professional opportunities to support students through their programs, they also advocate for proper representation of graduate student voices.
Meet the Executive Board
The current GSG executive board is comprised of members who are new to their roles this year; they bring with them a wealth of experience-based knowledge from prior leadership positions in student government, as well as other campus organizations. The GSG’s 2020 executive board is:
President – Parikshit Boregowda, a mechanical engineering PhD student who has served as president and committee chair of the mechanical engineering Graduate Student Association (GSA)
“We are constantly trying to find the best ways to reach graduate students. We want to make sure their voices are heard by the GSG. The more problems we know of the better we can fight and advocate for them.”
Vice President – E. “Chan” Chandler, a political science PhD student who has been involved in student government since high school, most recently as the president of the political science department’s GSA
“We want to make sure the GSG is known as a good first point of entry for grads and a good community for grads, whether it be in the mental health or social life aspects, or the research partnerships and collaborations.”
Treasurer – Andrea Baker, a bassoon music performance doctoral student and former executive board member of CCM’s GSA
“My main mission is to make sure that graduate students are aware of the options for funding that are available to them across all parts of the university.”
Campus Ambassador – Dominique Tanner, a biomedical engineering PhD student who is a member of the biomedical engineering GSA and current vice president of the Black Graduate & Professional Student Association
“I try to advocate for students and be a voice for their needs to make sure that overall we have a really good, healthy, successful journey while pursuing graduate degrees.”
The GSG’s executive board leads the monthly assembly meeting for college/departmental GSAs. At these meetings, GSAs convene to discuss topics related to the student experience. Every UC graduate student has student government represention through their local GSA as well as the university-wide GSG. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join these meetings; they need only reach out to the executive board or their department’s GSA to inquire about joining.
Learn the GSG’s Agenda for 2020-21
GSG has a lot in store for grad students. The executive board has been hard at work making programs that are useful, educational, and accessible for students wherever they are. Chan says, “We’re always cognizant that every event and initiative that we have – the ones we’ve taken over and the ones we’ve started to develop – all have to be formatted and refocused to address the reality that we’re all living under now.” The GSG, at least for the time being, is going virtual. So are many of the campus resources that they partner with and professional development resources that they promote.
One of the key forms of support that the GSG offers to grad students is conference travel funding, which helps remove financial barriers that may get in the way of professional development. Many conferences are be held virtually this year, but the cost of attendance can still be a hurdle that gets in the way. The GSG will continue to provide conference funding and support for those that want to virtually attend or present. “This COVID situation does not mean that grad students should have to stop seeking out those professional opportunities to attend and present at conferences,” says Andrea.
In addition to professional development opportunities, the executive board highlights mental health and wellbeing as a top priority on their agenda. Last spring, they held the STOP. TALK. GROW. workshop that focused on holistic wellness. Dominique says that when they spoke with attendees who shared their stories, “the impact of the conversations was, of course, very significant.” The GSG plans to continue hosting programs like this to bring grad students together to meet each other, network, and socialize. They are also focusing on creating open dialogue between the board, administrators, and graduate students. The “Talk to us” form is the easiest and most direct way to share your thoughts and concerns with the board. Another way to get involved is to attend the GSG’s orientation event, which starts this week.
Attend the GSG’s Virtual Orientation Event
This year, GSG is planning an orientation event that is sure to be a great educational experience for any graduate student, whether you’re just starting on the path to a master’s degree or you’re a doctoral student starting your final year of dissertation writing. The event will be split up into multiple sessions over the course of the first two weeks of fall semester, with different campus leaders and offices featured depending on the topic of the session. Chan says, “From the beginning we knew we needed to strengthen ties between the GSG and these different offices. We’ve worked on this since day one. The offices are very excited and want to speak to grads.” Each session will be hosted via WebEx.
The orientation event begins on Thursday, August 27th from 5-6:30p.m. with a welcome session featuring the GSG executive board, President Neville Pinto, the Graduate School’s interim dean Raj Mehta, and other important campus leaders. This welcome session will help kick off the rest of the orientation event. The campus resource information sessions that will follow are:
University Parking Services, Transportation, and Public Safety
Friday, August 28th; 3:30-4:30 p.m.
- Financial Literacy and Wellness
Monday, August 31st; 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Sexuality and Gender Identity
Monday, August 31st; 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Featured resources: LGBTQ Center, Women’s Center, Transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Tuesday, September 1st; 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Featured resources: African American Cultural and Resource Center, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, The Office of Ethnic Programs and Services, Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science
Wednesday, September 2nd; 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Mental Health and Self-Care
Wednesday, September 2nd; 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Check the GSG’s “Graduate Student Orientation and Welcome” webpage for more information about attending each session and visit their website or CampusLink page to learn about what other initiatives they are pushing for this year.