Guest Column: Letter from GSC president
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 00:09
I am honored and privileged to serve as this year’s Graduate Student Council President. Although I, like many graduate students, am not a native Texan, I have fierce pride in my University.
In years past, the graduate students may have been seen as a type of second-class citizen: second-class to the faculty and second-class to the “true” Aggies (undergrads). I am working to bring graduate students up to their aspired level of pride within this University and work against the negative stereotype of the grad student as a “two-percenter.”
This will require a strengthening of the leadership and voice of both the GSC and graduate students through all channels available to us, including University committees, undergraduate leaders and offices on campus like the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Through the teamwork of both graduate and undergraduate leaders, we can begin to heal the divisions between the two student bodies and ensure the graduate voice is heard.
We also have planned the inaugural Texas A&M Graduate Student Bill of Rights. We have researched our Vision 2020 peers and have found that many of them have an operable document that we would like to replicate. By bringing forth established University policies already in place, and procedures already followed, we can improve transparency in the University and allow graduate students to feel comfortable in their role. We are always reminded of our responsibilities, but it is time for us to know our rights as well.
The GSC is also emphasizing community building, both within the graduate body and undergraduates. With a marketing team and a new Nth Degree Newsletter, we have been able to communicate better with the graduate students about social events and professional development workshops. We have established better channels through the GSC president’s roundtable to collaborate with other organizations to reach a wider audience and enrich our student experience. We also foresee the ability to work with undergraduates to revive a sense of unity on campus and provide opportunities for graduate students to serve as mentors.
Last, but not least, we will continue the fight for fairness on campus with research funding for graduate students. We will continue to provide travel awards for conferences, but hope to recognize and share other available resources of funding.
This year, the University celebrates “50 Years of Inclusiveness,” a momentous decade that enabled students to find their voice on campus. The legacy of those student protesters was the expansion of student pride in their universities because they, for the first time, had the ability to have a say in campus affairs. In the same way, we graduate students are finding our own voice to express the pride we have as being graduate students, as well as Aggies.
Thanks and Gig ‘Em!
Contributed by Brittany Bounds, president of Graduate Student Council and a doctorate student in history