Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Greetings, on behalf of the entire Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) executive of 2014-2015, 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 team has been working to continue to develop the rising graduate culture and tackle issues, that we feel, affect the majority of graduate students. I am excited to present the evolution outlook for the GSA this year.
1) Graduate Student Culture
Being a graduate student is a very unique endeavor. It is a prestigious undertaking that requires substantial time, effort, and focus. It is our goal to help provide the best possible environment for graduate students. We want to bring graduate students together, so that we can create a common discourse and learn from one another. By banding closer together as graduate students we can maintain a stimulating academic environment, and meanwhile take part in events and activities in order to relieve stress and have fun, and get the best out of our graduate experience.
2) Graduate Student Housing
Graduate Students are distinctly different from undergraduate students, and oftentimes prefer different lifestyles. For the most part graduate students are older, more studious, more mature, and have more responsibilities. It is for these reasons that graduate students would prefer to live on their own, with their families, or with other graduate students. We are currently working to give graduate students this choice. Ongoing efforts are looking to provide a dedicated graduate student residence, and to create an online forum where, among other things, graduate students can find likeminded roommates.
3) 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. The past executive teams have successfully had a new graduate student rights and responsibilities policy passed through Senate, and we want to continue to create an equitable system for both students and supervisors.
4) Professional Development
It is becoming increasingly important to develop our professional skills in order to succeed after grad school. Knowing how to write a resume, take an interview, manage a team, run a business etc. are essential skills that one should learn. The GSA is working with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and BioLink on professional development programs. Keep an eye out for upcoming professional development opportunities throughout the year!
5) 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.
6) 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 MC C302. Have a great year, we hope to see you.