The Graduate School Council hosted Bryant Ford, the new director of Counseling and Psychological Services, in its first meeting of the semester Wednesday. During the meeting, the council discussed the fall budget and elected a new president and chair of communications.
The GSC elected former treasurer Joe Colleyshaw GS and Farha Mithila GS as the new president and chair of communications, respectively, replacing previous president Alex Jordon GS and Chair of Communications Mai Huynh GS.
Colleyshaw, who ran unopposed, emphasized the importance of cohesion within the Graduate School. “It's crucial (that) all of the concessions that we have gained apply to all graduate students,” Colleyshaw said.
Mithila ran against three other opponents and stressed the importance of community between all graduate students.
Graduate students have expressed a desire for more graduate-student-centered CAPS offerings, Ford said, adding that he recognized that some graduate students feel as if CAPS is prioritizing undergraduates. Ford stated that moving forward, CAPS will work to be as accommodating as possible to all graduate students and emphasize building community.
Ford also mentioned that CAPS is considering the possibility of creating an online portal to set up appointments instead of having students call.
“We are exploring the idea of being able to allow people to do first-time appointments in an online scheduling system,” Ford said.
“We're trying to do more publicity with graduate students to assure that they actually have access to our services,” Ford added.
After electing new positions and discussing CAPS changes, members approved a fall semester budget of $115,869, which was an increase of $34,676 from spring 2022’s budget.
Highlighted increases included $13,000 for large social events, $4,500 for conference funding and $5,000 for the distinguished speaker fee.
Additionally, in order to address food insecurity among graduate students, a food pantry was established in the GSC lounge. Chair of Social Life Abdullah Rashed GS said he hoped that the pantry would be restocked on a monthly basis.
Finally, members pitched nominations for the Finance, Social, Student Life, Master’s Advocacy and International committees. All graduate students are able to join committees without having to be elected.
“There are lots and lots of important ways that graduate students can get involved and have a say and input in how the University works,” Chair of Nominations Teressa Chambers GS said. She added that there are many committee positions available for graduate students to join.
The Social Committee then proposed plans for a Halloween social and a winter social this semester.
“It was a productive first meeting,” Vice President of Advocacy Beenish Pervaiz GS said. “We elected new members to the Executive Council and discussed some priorities for the semester.”