The Graduate Student Council hosted Andrew Campbell, dean of the graduate school, and Zhichun Lin, assistant director of career counseling, in its general body meeting on Wednesday.
Campbell spoke about his hopes of establishing a graduate student center, as well as plans to increase educational access for graduate students. For instance, the University has started to subsidize rent for graduate and medical students at the University-owned River House rental apartments by an average of 33%, University spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.
“I often hear students say, ‘Well, it's nice that we have (access to) a house, but there's no way we can even begin to (afford) it,’” Campbell said.
Campbell also announced that Maija Hallsmith was appointed as the Assistant Director of Graduate Academic Diversity, a new position created to support diversity and community at the graduate school.
GSC President Alex Jordon GS then discussed the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on graduate student research, which he explained has caused some graduate students to lose time on their research projects or to delay their graduation dates.
In response, Campbell said that the Graduate School would prioritize supporting students in completing their degrees and finishing research.
After Campbell, Lin explained that, as a new member of the CareerLAB with a dedicated role to support graduate students, she will help graduate students find career placement in postgraduate programs. She described resources, such as the CareerLAB website, to help students find upcoming graduate student career events. She added that next week is the PhD & Master’s Virtual Career Expo, which will help pair graduate students with future career opportunities.
Discussions from last month’s meeting continued about the food program for graduate students in need. According to Jordon, this program continues to be a serious priority among GSC. He added that emergency gap funding applications were open for student applications. These funds provide resources to graduate students in need, such as short-term, interest-free loans, he said.
Chair of Nominations Teressa Chambers GS said that nominations are open for the Graduate School Bates-Clapp Award and Wilson DeBlois Award, which recognize staff members who have “made outstanding contributions” to graduate students.
Chair of Student Life Abdullah Rashed GS announced that new locks have been put on the cabinets in the Graduate Student Lounge for students to safely store their belongings. He added that a pantry will soon be installed and restocked monthly.
Jordon concluded the meeting by reaffirming the priorities of the GSC. These include creating a graduate student center, mitigating food insecurity, supporting mental health and implementing the Graduate Student Strategic Initiative, which according to its website is a “strategic vision for the GSC and all graduate students.”
Clarification: After the publication of this story, the University reached out to The Herald with an update to an incorrect statement made during the meeting. At the meeting, Dean Campbell said that the University hopes to subsidize 30% of rent for graduate and medical students at the University-owned River House rental apartments, though this has not yet been implemented. In fact, the University has already reduced the rent in River House for graduate and medical students by an average of 33%, University spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.