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Outgoing Council a `Team Effort'

By Vipul Bhushan and Daniel C. Stevenson
Staff Reporters

The 1993-94 Graduate Student Council was characterized by "a big team effort," said outgoing GSC President Caryl B. Brown G. "What I could have done on my own is miniscule compared to what we were able to do as a team."

The GSC made significant headway on the issues of harassment and safety and pushed hard for MITnet in graduate dormitories and the grocery shuttle, Brown said.

Outgoing GSC Vice President Christopher M. Gittins G didn't see himself "as someone who was going to be a leader, but as one who had been around for awhile to lend support."

Brown said he "would define a successful GSC as one that makes quantifiable and qualifiable improvements in the quality of life of graduate students," and that by this definition they had been successful.

Gittins said the GSC is not a governing organization, adding that "graduate students have no need and no desire to be governed." The GSC is a lobbying group which provides structure for pushing for improvements in the graduate student quality of life. It also has an important role to play in bringing graduate students together and "facilitating social interactions," he said.

No one issue'

Progress was made despite the fact that there was no rallying call, Brown said. "There wasn't one issue that really brought the grad students to their feet," he said. "We had to be more proactive by looking outside and asking what can we make better."

As examples, Brown and Gittins mentioned recent GSC efforts in the areas of combatting harassment, improving personal safety, and the expansion of MIT's Ethernet into graduate dormitories as examples of successes.

They also highlighted student involvement as a key area to improve. "One of my personal goals was to try to increase people's participation in GSC events and awareness of the GSC and what we try to do," Brown said.

Participation in the GSC was up, Brown said, and many of those involved are first-year students. There is much room for improvement though, Gittins said, estimating that they only reached 10 to 20 percent of the graduate student body. They should also reach out more to married students, he said.

Brown had tried to create or strengthen department-level councils, he said, with only limited success. "Some of the departments have very active, high-quality organizations that have socials and bring in speakers," he said. They wanted to "learn from those [departments] that are successful and transfer those lessons to departments that don't have any [such councils] or aren't successful."

Gittins identified the GSC effort to have Ying Ying Li promoted from support staff to administrative staff as an unfinished task. The change would reflect and facilitate Li's involvement as an assistant to the officers, he said, rather than as a secretary.

Built on previous years

Gittins spoke highly of his fellow outgoing officers and committee chairmen. Brown built on the work of his predecessor Anand Mehta G in improving the GSC's image within the administration and "laying the groundwork for it to become a first rate organization." Gittins also lauded former treasurer Brett D. Granger G for his success with the books and John F. Olson G for his creative advertising and publicity efforts.

Gittins expressed confidence in the new officers, who took office earlier this month. President Roger Kermode G headed the Activities Committee and "can get people involved," he said. Vice President Stan Reiss G has also been involved in many ways, as has Secretary Susan L. Ipri G he said.

Gittins declined to give the new officers any advice, "because they're fully able to devise their own way of doing things," he said. He said he would only volunteer an opinion if it's solicited.

Citing the agreement to install MITnet in graduate dormitories, Brown's advice was "don't take no for an answer from the administrators."