Grad students develop sense of community

Most graduate students find themselves totally immersed in their departments. While they know their colleagues well, they don’t often branch out into other departments.
Law School students, for instance, have “Bar Review” in which students congregate at a different bar each week to socialize, said Cheryl Jorgensen, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.
But Jorgensen said there isn’t one place for all graduate and professional students to congregate.
That is why GAPSA created “Thank God It’s Finally Thursday,” which will be held for the first time tonight at Sgt. Preston’s, a bar and restaurant in the Seven Corners area.
The monthly gathering was developed to create a sense of community among graduate students without cost to GAPSA, which doesn’t have a large budget, Jorgensen said.
“Sometimes it’s good to have connections outside of our disciplines and departments where often we’re encouraged to be competitive and autonomous,” said Barbara Van Drasek, executive vice president of the Council of Graduate Students.
For graduate students and professional programs everything a student needs is in their department so they tend to stay insulated within themselves, Jorgensen said.
“At the very least it will be a few hours away from school,” Van Drasek said.
Although Jorgensen is not sure how many people will attend on Thursday, she expects the program to grow throughout the year.
— Kelly Hildebrandt