Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Greetings, on behalf of the entire Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) executive of 2013-2014, I would like to welcome you to the new school year. If you are new to Brock University you are especially welcomed. You have decided to join a vibrant and growing graduate community nestled in the beautiful Niagara Region. The GSA is dedicated to making your time at Brock as fruitful and enjoyable as possible through our advocacy, social events, programming and community outreach. The executive has developed a strategic approach to tackle issues, that we feel, affect the majority of graduate students. I am excited to unveil our major touchstones that we will focus on during this year.
1) Community Outreach
The number of graduate students has rapidly increased at Brock University and we want to show the community and Niagara region that we care. To achieve this we are planning two fund raising initiatives: a fall formal with all proceeds going to a local charity and a second event to raise funds for a worthy international cause. For the holiday season, a Christmas shoebox drive is planned to give needy children a gift to open during the holiday season. If anybody has any ideas or charities they are passionate about please feel free to bring it up at our council meetings or contact a GSA executive member.
2) Student Supervisor Relations
The relationship that a graduate student has with her/his supervisor is a major defining feature of their academic life. For most of us, the mentorship role played by our supervisor is excellent and develops without any issues. In the unfortunate cases when it doesn’t, students often find it difficult to address the situation and feel trapped. We want to continue with the excellent work done by last year’s executive to create an equitable system for both students and supervisors.
3) Professional Development
During our studies, the major focus is our research which is the fundamental reason we have decided to pursue graduate studies. That being said, in today’s job market employers are looking for more than just an academic background. More than ever, recent graduates are required to have finely honed professional skills involving resumes, interviews, conflict resolution, delegation skills, entrepreneurial, etc. In addition, many graduate students are not sure what to do when they’re finished with their education. The GSA would like to help! We are working with Faculty of Graduate Studies on professional development programs. Near the end of the year we are planning a day where professionals from different backgrounds will give talks and answer questions about their background and how they achieved professional success.
4) Graduate Space
If you have spent time on campus it is not hard to see that space is an issue for everybody. With the increases in graduate student numbers it is important to find a long term solution to our space issues. Grads need space to hang out, unwind and engage one another in order to build a true collegial atmosphere for us at Brock. The GSA will be actively working the Faculty of Graduate Studies and senior administration to address our space needs.
5) Student Health
Let’s face it, it’s stressful being a grad student. We have to balance being a student, researcher, TA and possibly a parent. On top of this we need to find time to do the things outside of university life that make us happy. It is a very delicate balance. When this balance is upset it is important to have the support you need whether it be friends, family or a counselor. The GSA is putting together events to relax such as socials, pub nights and movie nights. In addition, we want to advocate for stronger support for graduate students living with mental health issues.
Last but not least, we want you to know that we are here for you! You are encouraged to come out and get involved by coming to our events, sitting on council, joining committees and volunteering in our outreach programs. If you have any issues or ideas you want to share with us feel free to contact an executive member or the GSA office. If you find yourself around C block come in and drop by the office MCC 302. Have a great year, we hope to see you.