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The GSC Column

GRADUATE STUDENT COUNCIL

This article marks the first installment of a bi-weekly piece sponsored by the Graduate Student Council (GSC) called the GSC Column, named after our logo. Its purpose will be to keep the student body up-to-date on the GSC’s activities and programs. The GSC is the representative student government for all graduate students and is composed of nearly a dozen boards and committees, and over 250 volunteers. It organizes more than 100 programs, initiatives, and events each year.

As part of its commitment to transparency and accountability to the graduate student body, the GSC has compiled a mid-year review of its major accomplishments since May 2003. As the timeline below only lists the highlights of our activities, we invite you to visit our website for more information about the Council or to find out how you can get involved at http://web.mit.edu/gsc.

If there are any issues that you would like to see addressed in future installments of the GSC Column, please visit our website and submit them via the online form. Remember, we’re here to work for you!

May/June -- Successfully worked with the administrators to reduce the net impact of a 60 percent increase in health insurance premiums to 20 percent for most graduate students. A process for monthly billing for health insurance premiums was also developed and implemented.

July -- Helped to found the student health advisory committee (SHAC), which will address issues related to health care at MIT, such as women’s health, electronic services, and health insurance.

July -- Was part of a group that successfully worked with administrators to get Z-Center hours extended to better serve student members.

July -- Hosted “Acoustic BBQ” series, featuring live music and tasty dishes, and served over a thousand students who came to hang out and enjoy the Boston summer.

August/September -- Hosted the most successful graduate orientation in MIT’s history, with a total attendance of over 4500 students for the nearly 30 separate activities.

September -- Co-sponsored MIT’s largest Career Fair with the Class of 2004 and the Society of Women Engineers.

September -- Completed the planning process for the GSC cost of living advisory board (GSC COLAB). GSC COLAB is a group that investigates graduate student income vs. expenses while formalizing student input into the decision-making related to on-campus housing rents, health insurance rates and stipends. The aim is to help ensure that graduate student expenses do not exceed their income.

October -- Celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the GSC with a three-day festival that included an alumni reunion, cherry tree dedication ceremony, banquet, Oktoberfest, and birthday party. Supported by Dean for Graduate Students Ike Colbert and Dean for Student Life Larry Benedict, GSC alumni spanning 47 years attended the events.

October -- The GSC Website/ShuttleTrack won the Best Electronic Services Program award, given by the National Association of Graduate Professional Students. Of the ten program categories, the MIT GSC has won awards in eight over the last five years.

October -- The GSC Grad Rat premiered, representing the first customized ring for graduate students. With individual designs available for every graduate department and program, the new ring reflects the diversity of graduate culture and embodies the collective experience at MIT. More detailed information is available at http://web.mit.edu/gsc/www/initiatives/ring.

November -- In conjunction with the Black Graduate Students Association, received funding from the Graduate Students Office for the proposal to support activities aimed at increasing the recruitment of underrepresented minorities in the graduate school. In January, the Office of the Provost also joined in sponsoring the initiative.

November -- The GSC general body drafted and adopted a statement calling on the U.S. government to implement student visa reforms that will make it less difficult for international students to study in the U.S.

December -- Worked with the MIT department of transportation and the Dean for Graduate Students to start the first ever daytime shuttle service between the graduate residence halls in the northwest area and main campus.

January -- In conjunction with the Undergraduate Association, the GSC organized the first ever student advisory group to the corporation committee on the Presidency. This group will collect input from the student body concerning qualities and experiences they wish to see in MIT’s next President. It will submit a report to the MIT Corporation outlining these traits and providing recommendations for possible candidates. We welcome input from the student body at http://web.mit.edu/gsc/www/initiatives/president/.

January -- Hosted its annual ski trip to Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont. This year’s much-anticipated trip saw nearly 400 participants and sold out in a record two days.

Currently -- Working via GSC COLAB to help ensure that graduate students’ cost of living is addressed. Nominations for GSC Committee chair positions are also open this month. If you’re interested in getting involved in the GSC, please visit http://web.mit.edu/gsc/www/about/getinvolved/ -- there’s something for everyone!