Grad student groups plan fun

Graduate Student Appreciation Week brings students together to socialize.

Emily Banks

Graduate student groups hope to relieve their peers of their usual work and stress by providing a week of appreciation, including a Twins game and free massages.

The intention of the events next week is to bring together students across the campus who usually don’t have the time or opportunity to socialize outside the classroom.

“It just allows us to take a little bit of time out of our study to do something more social and more fun,” said Meghan Warren, Council of Graduate Students vice president for internal relations.

Karen Buhr, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly president, said the week also is meant to increase awareness of graduate and professional students and make them feel appreciated.

“It’s just a week to say thank you for all the hard work that we contribute to the University,” Buhr said.

Graduate students often are challenged with balancing coursework and research, and don’t get to infuse fun into their programs, Warren said.

Saturday’s night at the Twins game is organized by the Graduate Students of Education and Human Development because often it is difficult for those graduate students to participate in GAPSA events during the day, said the group’s president, Carrie Jastram.

“It really allows graduate students who are busy working on their degrees – some of them are working full-time jobs, some of them are parents – to be able to treat their family and friends to an evening out,” she said.

The Twins game provides an equal opportunity to participate, she said.

“Half of our students aren’t even on campus during spring semester because they’re student-teaching,” she said.

The group bought 200 tickets and students reserved all of them. Buhr said she expects a “great turnout” throughout the week.

She also said graduate students sometimes get overlooked because they always are in labs, but they work closely with undergrads and faculty.

“We have a really unique role on campus that I think sometimes needs to be celebrated and brought to the public light,” she said.

The regular Council of Graduate Students general assembly meeting falls during the week and will include a reception and an awards presentation rather than its usual meeting, Warren said.

“We want to extend the social aspect and cut down on the hard meeting,” she said. “We’d like to get more people there.”

Other events during the week include a panel discussion, a speaker and contests to win an iPod.