Forging Connections with the University Community

UT Austin is home to many graduate student resources that can often be overlooked due to a variety of factors. The GSA aims to promote cross-disciplinary resources while simultaneously connecting students that may benefit from peer-to-peer collaboration. We plan to do this by investigating resources available, compiling a list, and reflecting the information on our website in an accessible manner. Resources will be available on a broad range of topics, such as academic information, health and safety information, and navigating relationships with advisors. Another goal is to improve overall awareness of the GSA, especially in order to encourage students to use said resources. We aim to take part in both the general graduate student orientation and department-specific orientations and share our mission as well as helpful resources. The GSA also aims to reach graduate students beyond their first year at UT by promoting communications within the university. The GSA will also continue to maintain close relationships with university administrators and leadership, including the President’s Office and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Graduate Student Engagement

Before university operations were reduced due to the pandemic, GSA hosted many social events, in addition to regular General Assembly meetings, that encouraged students to interact with both the GSA leadership team and other fellow graduate students. General Assembly meetings will continue to be held in a hybrid format to ensure participation from interested and willing individuals. Voices of graduate student organizations will be amplified throughout campus and collaborative events will be encouraged and supported. We intend to further engage students by maintaining a monthly newsletter and strong social media presence. This will allow us to maintain continuous streams of communication, which will help identify and address the wide variety of needs. We also aim to bring back popular events and introduce new social gatherings both on-campus and throughout the greater Austin area. In addition, we will encourage our agencies to reach out to on-campus student organizations to create collaborative events that bring in a range of students. These events will be supported by the Longhorn community, such as local sponsors and nonprofits, which will help foster new relationships and opportunities for graduate students. The GSA is an important line of communication between the Graduate School and graduate students. We aim to create and encourage conversation through engaging graduate students in a variety of ways. Ideally, the GSA will become a more widely recognized and utilized voice of representation for the graduate student body.

Continuity in GSA Advocacy

Previous GSA administrations have begun a variety of important projects which we plan to continue working toward in the 2023-2024 school year. During the 2021-2022 session, the GSA passed some pieces of legislation related to assisting graduate students with dependents. We will continue to work toward greater support for graduate students with dependents by working with campus and departmental groups to develop a list of issues and recommendations to be passed as future legislation. In addition, we are seeking to establish a scholarship for graduate students with dependents to provide financial support for childcare. We also plan to continue the GSA’s previous commitment to increasing representation in the graduate student body as a whole, as well as within the GSA. This goal ranges from increasing the number of departments represented in the Assembly to advocating for University policies which will allow departments to recruit students from a wider variety of backgrounds. The GSA is also planning to improve access to registration by working with departments and advisors to identify and solve issues within the process. Finally, as we continue to transition back to mostly in-person operations, we will work toward greater publicity of resources offered by the GSA itself, such as the GSA travel awards and GSA appropriations to fund events planned by other student organizations.