Instead of a town hall, Council of Graduate Students opts for happy hour

Concern over low turnout prompted COGS to combine its town hall with an already scheduled happy hour.

David Clarey

Council of Graduate Students sole presidential candidate, Lauren Mitchell shared drinks, salsa and her platform with grad students at a happy hour Wednesday night.

Concerns over low turnout for a town hall led COGS to cancel the event and add Mitchell to a regularly held happy hour. She said she wanted to discuss prominent graduate student issues such as supporting immigrant students, finding money for school and ensuring fair treatment of students by advisers.

About 25 people attended the happy hour at Bar Luchador.

“My concern was last year we didn’t have that strong of a turnout [at the town hall],” Mitchell said. “Something like this is part of the normal social life for a lot of people.”

She said she’ll need to reach out to other graduate students whose lifestyles don’t include alcohol but thought this would be more effective than a town hall.

“It seemed like a better start to me than getting up in front of six people,” she said.

Erin Evans, chief justice of COGS, said the originally planned town hall was scheduled for Feb. 20 but that the time wasn’t determined until Feb. 17. This led to concerns that the group wouldn’t have enough notice to advertise and garner interest.

She said a similar situation last year led to the low turnout for the town hall. COGS had fewer than 10 people attend last year’s town hall.

“By nature, [COGS] elections will be different than the undergrads simply because we have much more restrictive schedules,” Evans said in an email. “This is probably the best way to make sure that graduate students at least have a chance to interact with Lauren before the official election date.”