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GSC elects new Vice President of Advocacy

Board planning student-focused programming for new semester

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Graduate Student Council met for the first time this semester to elect a new vice president of advocacy. They also discussed improving access to mental health support for graduate students, and voted to approve several budget changes.

Entering the new semester, the Graduate Student Council elected a new vice president of advocacy and discussed programming to improve access to mental health support for graduate students.

At its first monthly meeting of the year, the GSC elected Malcolm Thompson GS as vice president of advocacy after he ran unopposed. This position plays a central role in voicing the perspectives of various graduate student communities to the GSC general body and maintaining relationships between the GSC and other advocacy groups, according to the GSC Constitution.

The GSC Executive Board discussed initiatives and upcoming programming focused on providing graduate students with resources for student well-being and financial awareness. These discussions included efforts to develop a position at Counseling and Psychological Services focused on graduate students, similar to the position that already exists for Alpert Medical School students.

A mental health week and events offering mental health support specifically for students of color were also discussed at the meeting. Kathryn Thompson GS, GSC president, said “It’s really hard being a grad student when you are taxed mentally and physically on a daily basis,” explaining the executive board’s increased focus on graduate students’ mental health. Thompson reiterated her hope that these efforts would “push (graduate student mental health) in the face of administration” and show that the executive board is “taking (graduate student mental health) seriously.”

The general body voted to approve several budget changes as well, including increased funding for conferences and projects, committee meetings and advocacy for master’s and international students.

The GSC also plans to further invest in its speaker series, which allows graduate students with relevant research to present at the Med School, bridging the gap between largely separated graduate and medical student populations.

Other GSC-led initiatives include tax workshops and discussions on health insurance. The executive board hopes that creating these programs will establish a precedent and lead to their renewal in future semesters, Thompson said. The GSC also discussed student-driven, professional development workshops specifically for master’s students, new events to help build the community of international graduate students and mini-lectures led by graduate students.

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