2019 Council Retreat 28–30 June

By Cookie Xu and Madeleine Johnson

New experiences: Cookie’s perspective as a new Councillor

It was such a good memory sharing a big weekend with GSA councillors and staff in this beautiful village in Lancefield.

As a new councillor, I was nervous when I first looked at the intensive agenda from 7am in the morning to late 10pm in the night. I was a bit of terrified at the first council meeting and didn’t know how to behave. Thanks for all lovely people being so kind and patient to me. Thanks for all the fantastic presentations and all the work prepared by GSA staff. This retreat was such a wonderful start of my journey in GSA. I learned a lot about my responsibility as a councilor as well as a student representative.

I feel so lucky to become a part of the GSA. Everyone was so actively engaged and motivated. We come from different countries with different academic backgrounds and personal characteristics. We share different opinions and sometimes conflicts. But we all stand for the benefits of graduate students and aim to provide the best service to postgraduates.

I know there is much more to learn and a lot of work to do in the following six months in my term as a general councilllor, and now I am confident to say that I am prepared.

Accountability & big agendas: Madeleine’s perspective as a returning councillor

Although I’ve been on council for almost six months, this was my first ever GSA Retreat. We had a whole weekend of training about various aspects of governance, HR and leadership, as well as our very first council meeting for the year. It was great to really get to know the new council team and spend time together – we had indoor segue challenges due to heavy rain outside!

A big focus for us as a new council is setting a big agenda, and being accountable to it. We had sessions brainstorming our big goals and dreams for the year – as well as long conversations about how we can make sure we live up to the expectations students have of us. All in all, it’s going to be a big and exciting year for GSA!


Cookie Xu and Madeleine Johnson