Events celebrate graduate student appreciation

by Kelly Hildebrandt

Have you hugged your teaching assistant today?
Well, you should, because Gov. Jesse Ventura named this week “Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.”
This is the fourth year the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly has successfully petitioned the governor’s office to make a proclamation for a graduate student appreciation week. Cheryl Jorgensen, president of GAPSA, said the proclamation is intended to honor graduate and professional students at the University as well as throughout the state.
“Graduate students are a large part of the University,” Jorgensen said, adding that they make a lot of contributions around the state and in the community.
In honor of the week, GAPSA has planned an ice cream social to take place on Wednesday and distributed discount cards to all graduate students, Jorgensen said.
At the ice cream social, graduate and professional students can enter a raffle, with the grand prize a $100 gift certificate for University Bookstores.
The discount card can be used throughout the week at a number of campus area businesses including Sally’s bar and grill and Espresso 22.
As well as contributing to the community, Jorgensen said graduate students are important within the University. A number of classes, including composition and introductory math courses, are taught primarily by graduate students, she said.
Although many graduate students teach classes, a number also do research. When graduate students participate in research, that research gets spread to other universities and around the country when the students graduate and move on to other things, said Martin O’Hely, president of the Council of Graduate Students.
“They’re a very bright and very valuable group of people,” said George Green, associate dean of the Graduate School.
Green said graduate and professional students make a considerable impact at the University while they are here. This impact spans from music and arts performances to teaching courses and contributing to research projects at the University.