Policy and Advocacy
- Development and use of a unified voice and consistent policy targets
- Completed Graduate Community Initiative (GCI) guiding document
- Consistently framed our policy recommendations and discussions with administrators
- Our message resonates, and administrators are buying in to GSG goals
- Hosted an unprecedented and well-attended special Assembly meeting to discuss the Lakeside delay (Sep 24, 2014)
- Achieved rent forgiveness eligibility for all affected students
- Improved quality and frequency of administrative communication
- Realized an improved graduate housing repairs procedure
- Secured promises for reasonable timing of the transition, both in terms of notice and move window flexibility
- Proposed and successfully lobbied for the Lakeside Hardship Fund
- Established the Lakeside Transitional Committee
- Official Statements and Communications
- Approved and published 2014 Statement on Graduate Housing
- Approved and published Statement Regarding the Lakeside Delays
- Approved Statement in Support of November 2014 USG Referendum re: Campus Pub
- Sent a letter to President Eisgruber that helped convince the University to carefully examine the flawed AAU sexual assault climate survey, which was ultimately rejected by the Committee on Sexual Misconduct
- Career Services
- After extended lobbying from GSG, Amy Pszczolkowski is now the University’s first full time employee providing graduate career services
- Established the Career Services Graduate Advisory Board in collaboration with Amy Pszczolkowski; some of the board’s accomplishments include:
- Starting many new graduate-targeted programs, including departmental programs to help students considering career transitions
- Providing input on career-oriented questions being considered by the Task Force on the Future of the Graduate School
- Recommended graduate student members for the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct
- Helped plan for the new Graduate Student Activities Funding Engine
- Improved the graduate student check in-procedure for mental health services
Partnerships and Collaboration
- Inter-departmental GSG events (picnics and happy hours)
- USG (Campus Pub, AAU Survey action, visits to USG and from USG officers)
- GC House Committee: GSG pub nights are now held at the DBar
- Ongoing communication with Tigers with Cubs
- Campus Venue Services
- We can now borrow their PA systems free of charge
- We also have access to other CVS program and event support
- Large Events
- Attracted 315-350 attendees to our several parties
- Enchanted 520 attendees at the Wine and Cheese event
- Included post-docs at GSG events (e.g., ~30 Wine and Cheese attendees were post-docs)
- Expanded summer barbecue series at Frist to include nightly entertainment; higher-than-ever attendance; BBQ frequency to be doubled in 2016
- Drove unprecedented graduate student participation in Communiversity (4 science tables, 2 performing groups)
- Furniture Drive donated to community organizations and reduced waste
- Established a Lakeside Committee for social programming.
Communications and Data Collection
- Conducted Off-campus Housing Survey and Lakeside Survey
- Completed broad improvements to web site
- Provided responsive email communications (the GSG can fix problems)
- Gave welcome gifts to incoming students with information about the GSG
- Achieved excellent attendance at monthly Assembly meetings
- Set new guidelines for contributing to GSG endowment
- Procured purchasing cards for Treasurer, Special Events, and Social
- Procured new supplies and materials for future social programming
- New hand cart, drink jugs, rope lights, string lights, and black lights
- Large outdoor light strands and support structures
Internal GSG Policy
- Expansion of voting delegate positions
- Improved organization of Constitution, By-Laws, and Standing Rules
- Streamlining of Assembly meetings
- Collection and organization of all GSG documents using Google Drive
On the Horizon
- Work towards improving diversity through the Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion and the Graduate School’s new Associate Dean for Diversity
- Continue shaping Task Force discussion about the Graduate School’s future
More on Lakeside Advocacy
In Fall 2014, the Graduate Student Government was disappointed to learn about additional delays to the Lakeside apartments. While an earlier delay was accompanied by reasonable compensation, this latest delay came after 5 months of silence and offered reduced compensation for some students. In addition, students have encountered additional expenses as a result of the new delay, including higher rent at their temporary housing complexes, storage costs, and high winter heating bills. The Graduate Student Government collected feedback from many students and crafted a policy letter that describes in detail the changes that should be made as a result of the new Lakeside delay. We also believe that expanded graduate housing is the most significant step that can be taken to improve graduate student life on campus and enable graduate students to best contribute to the Princeton University community. In Spring 2014 we released an official policy letter, and many of the current Lakeside issues could have been avoided if there was sufficient graduate student housing capacity available. Particularly, this proposal calls for the construction of another housing development sufficient to extend University graduate housing capacity to 90% of regularly enrolled, or 80% of all enrolled, graduate students.
SUCCESSES RELATED TO NEW PROGRAMMING
- The GSG has worked together with University Services, the Graduate School, and Frist Campus Center to offer extended summer hours at Café Witherspoon, to organize new summer programming at Frist once a week in the summer months, and to launch a summer website that includes information about campus and local events during the summer.
- GSG Pub Nights at a local bar off-campus have become a monthly tradition.
- The GSG has added the NAMI Stomp out Stigma walk as an annual event to raise awareness that the stigma associated with mental illness is one of the greatest barriers that keeps people from seeking help.
GSG ADVOCACY / DIALOGUES WITH ADMINISTRATORS
- The GSG has connected better with administrators and created direct lines of communication by having bimonthly meetings with several Directors from University Services.
- The GSG has had frequent and timely meetings with the Housing Office, University Services, and the Graduate School about the move to Lakeside apartments. One example of successful advocacy was the creation of a hardship fund for families who move from Butler to Lakeside, provided by the Graduate School.
- The GSG has drafted a Housing Advocacy letter that will be sent out to senior administrators soon to advocate for an increase in graduate student housing.
- The GSG hosted fantastic guests at assembly meetings: a Q&A with President Eisgruber, Vice President of Campus Life Cynthia Cherrey, Amy Pszczolkowski and Pulin Sanghvi from Career Services, Keira Wilson from Pace Center, James Pool and Lisa DePaul from Housing, Marina Mitchel and Vanessa Silva from Annual Giving.
- The GSG was consulted in recommending potential graduate alumni hooding speakers. In addition, the GSG suggested a new option that graduate students can be hooded by their advisors – which might be implemented soon.
- The GSG was represented at an Executive Vice President senior administrators meeting.
- The GSG has started to advocate for a children- and family-friendly Princeton as a result of a childcare survey.
SUCCESSES OF TRADITIONAL GSG INITIATIVES
- At the annual Orientation event in September, the GSG was able to offer the highest number of welcome gifts for incoming first years ever thanks to the generous support by the Office of Sustainability.
- The GSG has organized the most successful annual furniture drive so far, resulting in more than $4000 that could be donated to local charities.
- The GSG has hosted four big parties that were very well attended (with a record high of 685 attendees at the Wine & Cheese party – and yet we did not run out of cheese).
- The GSG Events Board has sponsored 45 grad student- run events over this past term.
- The GSG has expanded Graduate Writing Days to the GC, making it more successful than ever by working together with the Graduate School, the Writing Center, and the Graduate College House Committee.
- The GSG website has been updated and improved in its functionality.
GSG COLLABORATIONS WITH OTHER GROUPS ON CAMPUS
- The GSG has worked together with the Pace Center to make their mission and events more easily accessible to graduate students.
- The GSG has worked together with graduate alumni (e.g., the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni) to connect graduate students with alums, for instance at the Many Minds Many Stripes Graduate Alumni conference.
- The GSG has collaborated with undergraduate students and the USG to offer additional interesting events to graduate students, such as Community Walk during Orientation, Restaurant Week in November, and Wintersession in January.
- For the first time, the GSG reached out to the organizers of Communiversity, was involved in its planning process and reached out to graduate students so that graduate students could actively be part of it.In addition, the GSG has started to raise more awareness for rights of departmental committees and has started to distribute more information about CPUC and USLC meetings. Lastly, the GSG has worked towards an improvement in knowledge transfer and transparency by making PriCom procedures known more broadly again and by starting to document processes within the GSG.