Graduate and professional students advocate for addition to SSF application

University student government members requested to add a question that would prompt more thought about how graduate and professional students are reached.

Kait Ecker

In an effort to improve Student Services Fee recipients’ inclusion of professional and graduate students, student governments have requested a question be added to the SSF application.

Professional Student Government and the Council of Graduate Students submitted the request to the Office of Student Affairs, asking that a question be added to the application to ensure graduate and professional students are considered in the design of these services for review on Tuesday, said COGS speaker Scott Petty. 

Often, graduate and professional students are not aware University services exist or that they serve them as well as undergraduate students, said Alanna Pawlowski, the president of PSG. 

The question is intended to make SSF applicants like Boynton Health, Student Legal Service, the Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education and Student Unions and Activities think about graduate and professional students and how they’re being served, Petty said. 

“This is coming from a place of wanting to make sure that the needs of students are met, that the needs of professional students and the needs of graduate students are met,” Pawlowski said. 

Petty and Pawlowski said they know graduate and professional students have different needs than undergraduate students.

“If you reach out successfully, but then you don’t have the services that match the needs, then it’s all for naught,” Pawlowski said.

In the feedback the SSF committee gave to the administrative units this year, the committee recommended increased outreach and education to the Aurora Center, SUA, the Student Conflict Resolution Center and University Recreation and Wellness.

Adura Lasode, chair of the committee, said the question would be beneficial if added to the application, but it would also create the need for additional questions about every other subgroup on campus.

“I really believe that information is power,” Lasode said. “And the more you hear about something, the more you think about it. So I think that is a first step is ensuring the information is going into the channels that reach the students.”

While undergraduate students hear of these services in orientation or in large lecture courses, graduate and professional students don’t go through those same types of experiences, said Tommy Keller, the incoming president of COGS.

However, Pawlowski said it shouldn’t be up to the different schools and departments to do all of the outreach.

If the request for an additional question on the SSF application is denied, Petty said he will still be pursuing further action on the issue.

“Something to keep in mind where our ask, and the work around this, is coming from, is that graduate and professional students do make up a sizeable portion of the total student body — about one-third,” Pawlowski said.