For success: get back to basics

by Paul Freeman

As your president, I will put the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly on the sound footing that is necessary for success. For too long, GAPSA leaders have sought to command disparate college councils from the top down. GAPSA has not respected the independent needs of the councils and has failed to hear their concerns. In order for GAPSA to be relevant to your educational experience, we need to change course. My skills and experiences will yield leadership that will make GAPSA relevant to graduate and professional students at the University of Minnesota.
The largest, overarching problem with GAPSA is its failure to communicate effectively. Internally, the GAPSA president must lead by example and regularly meet face-to-face with assembly representatives and council leaders. Building personal relationships also builds trust, which is essential for the organization to be successful. My priority for GAPSA is to lay the initial groundwork for future cooperation.
Externally, GAPSA has not reached students this year. Problems with technology have inhibited our ability to stay in touch with students both in the Twin Cities and in Duluth. Our event attendance has suffered from lack of advertisement and is another example of GAPSAâÄôs failure to work directly with college councils to help promote events within individual departments. Simple, common sense reforms combined with an inherent expectation of attention to detail will fix most of GAPSAâÄôs communication problems.
GAPSA provides many services on campus, but its two most important functions are advocating on behalf of graduate and professional students and organizing opportunities for students to socialize with each other outside of their departments. Meeting other students in the graduate and professional community can greatly enhance oneâÄôs experience while at the University âÄî professional, academic and social. Similarly, having strong, organized, active representation working on behalf of student interests to bring concerns to the administration is essential for effective advocacy. As president, I will pursue a shared governance policy that does more than pay lip service to student concerns, but instead ensures student participation at all levels of University governance.
We canâÄôt achieve our advocacy or programming goals if we donâÄôt take the time to communicate effectively, first by changing our culture of top-down management and then by rebuilding essential council relationships. As president, I will fix these problems so that GAPSA can regain its footing and get back to being the student government that students truly deserve.
I hope to earn your vote April 4-6. For more specifics on my platform, please either see my Facebook page âÄî search for âÄúPaul Freeman for GAPSA PresidentâÄù âÄî or email me at [email protected]