Kristina Brezicha, Pennsylvania State University
This month the Graduate Student Council (GSC) will release its call for the new representatives. This blog post will note some of the reasons you should consider applying for these positions. As some of you know, the GSC was only created in 2011. Despite being a young organization, the council has hosted two Graduate Student Summits at the annual University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA) Convention, posted blogs, hosted a series of webinars, and work with many talented graduate students and faculty to help improve the graduate student experience.
So why join the GSC? First of all, it’s fun. Really it is! As a member of the GSC, I have gotten to work with 6 other really smart, funny, organized graduate students from across the country. As we work together to generate new ideas, improve on prior practices and plan the next series of GSC initiatives, we have a good time doing it.
Secondly, it helps pull me and, I suspect, you out of your graduate school bubble. There is another world outside of our own graduate school programs. While conferences help remind us of that, it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind of our programs and forget that we are working not only with others in our program but across graduate programs. Being a part of the GSC reminds me of that on a monthly basis, which brings perspective to my work within my own university.
Third, speaking of perspective, working across departments and programs, helps also show the commonalities that we share. Working with the other GSC members helps show that our experiences and the experiences of other graduate students are not as idiosyncratic as you might expect. Surely, each program has unique characteristics but many of the concerns and joys are similar across the graduate student life. This is a helpful perspective to have as working within our own program and on the GSC.
Fourth, you get to meet many great people. This is embedded in some of the previously mentioned reasons but beyond the other representatives that you get to work with; you also meet a host of individuals who help to run UCEA, as well as a diverse group of faculty and graduate students who participate in various GSC initiatives. At our last summit over 300 graduate students participated in various GSS presentations, roundtables and workshops, while I certainly didn’t meet everyone, I did meet and get to know many awesome faculty and grad students.
Lastly, working with the GSC has given me a unique perspective on the planning and working that goes into staging a conference or a summit. This is a very helpful perspective to have as we will move into leadership roles that involve the development of conference sessions, summits and conferences ourselves. So in addition to all the other benefits of joining the GSC, there is a lot that you learn.
While there are a lot of benefits to joining the GSC, there are also responsibilities. These responsibilities include attending a monthly GSC planning meeting. We meet via Google Hangout regularly. The meetings can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour. During that time, we get a report from our UCEA representative. Our various subcommittees will also share updates on the various projects that we are responsible for. These projects include graduate student development and the planning for the Graduate Student Summit. Each subcommittee typically also meets to discuss and work on their project. Those conversations can occur via email, Google Hangout, or a series of collaborative documents. These are the main responsibilities. However, the GSC is a young organization and there are many other initiatives in the pipeline. It is also a growing organization and your input and thoughts will help shape how the GSC looks in the years to come.
The call for the GSC representatives will be out in the end of January. We will conduct interview and notify applicants in late spring. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about becoming a GSC representative. I would be happy to answer any of those questions.