Update from GSA President – 22nd July 2022

To all of those graduate students who will be able to participate in person for University this semester, we would like to say welcome back to campus! Campus life is an integral part of the University experience and has been sorely missed over the last few years. Graduate students in particular have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns, with many of us having completed our undergraduate studies in lockdown, or having graduate research communities fractured. With the return to campus, also comes the return to the 1888 building for graduate students. Our heritage home has ample study spaces for all graduate students 24/7 and is a quiet and safe place for those intensive weeks.

It has been a busy July for the GSA team. We have been busy advocating for students who may be overseas or immunocompromised, where the return to campus is not possible. GSA’s advocacy has helped shape the Universities policy on online delivery of classes, to support students that are still overseas, or want certainty before they feel safe to return to campus. Moreover, we have been advocating for improved accessibility for RATS and masks for graduate students who are often interspersed around the campus.

Faculty Council Elections

Since the introduction of our new representation model a year ago, it has been clear that there is an appetite for graduate students to be involved in student representation.

The Faculty Council is an exciting new initiative from the GSA. It includes one coursework and one research representative from each faculty, who help advocate for student concerns and needs at monthly faculty meetings.

The Faculty Council will be essential to creating a positive and efficient advocacy loop between the GSA, the students and the faculties, allowing us to catch and resolve issues earlier in the pipeline, in a constructive manner. As with all elected positions, your time is renumerated appropriately.

Stay tuned for more information around the nominations and elections!

Mid-Year Orientation

It has been an absolute pleasure to see so many faces throughout the Orientation events. In order to better cultivate the graduate community, the GSA has redeveloped our Orientation and semester 2 schedule to take advantage of the increasing number of students on campus.

Our staple events such as therapy dogs and the petting zoo always generate a huge buzz. However, we have seen a huge response to our other events including our GSA Comedy Night and our off-site events such as bowling and mini golf. We are always trying to develop tailored experiences to help build graduate student connections and with almost all our events fully booked out, there is clearly the demand from graduates for more social events throughout the semester!

Graduate Art Prize

Part of our re-developed events includes the expansion of our popular Graduate Art Prize, to include a scaled-up ceremony for all graduate students. Promoting events which can include students from every faculty and provide unforgettable experiences is something graduates have been missing for two years. We have listened to students who have asked for the return of the GSA ball and are developing this event in a way which would deliver on the premise of the ball but celebrate student made art.

Contact details: president@gsa.unimelb.edu.au