Growing GAPSA involvement

The graduate student governing body continues to struggle with involvement.

by Daily Editorial Board

The three candidates currently running for Graduate and Professional Student Assembly president would essentially decide who becomes elected themselves, by having two of the students running drop out before elections, the Minnesota Daily reported  March 28.

Despite its honest and best intentions this year, GAPSA is still running into the tired issue of encouraging and maintaining valuable student involvement.

When the election for GAPSA president can be determined by the consensus of three people, when none of the candidates know for sure whether they will be able to fill the position, there is a clear need for a more worthwhile incentive to be put in place for students to get involved.

It’s likely that students and their advisers do not view student roles within GAPSA as particularly significant or beneficial for their academic careers, especially when there is research to be conducted and papers to be written.

While a bigger financial stipend might draw a smattering of additional students, a larger structural change appears to be necessary in order to encourage perennial involvement. For example, a role within GAPSA could be thought of more as a “service fellowship” for graduate students, and an administrative role could include benefits similar to those teaching assistants receive.

With advisers on board to encourage and recommend these types of positions, students might be more willing to make a greater effort to be involved with GAPSA and, thus, create practices and policies that will directly benefit themselves and their peers.