The Yale Graduate Student Assembly recently conducted two highly successful events and has moved forward on a number of initiatives based on feedback from its graduate student constituents.
The First Annual Yale Housing Fair for Graduate and Professional Students took place on February 20 and gave several hundred students the chance to receive information about potential housing opportunities from local apartment representatives along with a realty company and Yale Graduate Housing. The Fair was sponsored by the GSA and the Yale School of Medicine, and was spearheaded by Wendy Xiao (MD/PhD) and the GSA Facilities and Healthcare Committee.
The first ever GSA Ask-an-Accountant event also saw excellent attendance. On February 17, local tax experts from McGladrey gathered to discuss issues specific to graduate students. About 100 students attended a session on filing taxes for U.S. residents and about 50 students came to learn about tax information for international students. The event was organized by GSA Representative Chad Marion (Investigative Medicine) and the GSA Facilities and Healthcare Committee in response to graduate student feedback requesting information about taxes.
The GSA has a voice on the advisory committee that is helping choose the new deans for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and for Yale College. At the February 26 meeting, the GSA elected Brian Dunican (Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry) to the committee. Along with 12 faculty members and other student representatives, Brian will help recommend potential successors to departing deans Mary Miller and Tom Pollard. Brian is the current GSA chairperson.
The GSA voted to endorse a proposal to increase hours and accessibility for university libraries. The GSA Facilities and Healthcare Committee and the GPSS Advocacy Committee commissioned the joint proposal as a response to student feedback expressing dissatisfaction with the availability of study and meeting space, especially late at night, early in the morning, during the weekends, and over academic breaks. According to student input, graduate and professional students are highly impacted by library accessibility, as they do not consistently have 24/7 access to study spaces, unlike undergraduates who have study spaces in their residential colleges.
The proposal found that Yale library hours are the shortest among comparable institutions and suggests using Penn or MIT as a model. The plan recommends increasing accessibility in four phases: first, increasing Bass Library operating hours during the weekend; second, offering 24/7 study space in Bass; third, extending Spring Break and summer hours; and fourth, extending Sterling Memorial Library hours. After being approved by the GSA and by the GPSS, the proposal was sent to University and Library administration.
— Submitted by the GSA Publicity Committee