Summer 2007 Letter

Aloha Fellow Graduate Students,

Welcome to the fourth and final edition of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) President's Letter for 2006-2007. I hope you all are enjoying the summer! Here are some updates to bring you up to speed for the start of school.

First, congratulations and welcome to all new graduate students! Graduate Student Affairs and the GSA have plenty of orientation activities to help you get used to your new home. I am the Orientation Coordinator this year, and I look forward to meeting new students and lending a hand before school starts. You will receive orientation information and schedules soon, and if needed, you may contact me at or the Graduate Student Affairs Specialist Jessica Basile at ( for more information. Examples of events hosted by Graduate Student Affairs for new students are:

  • House-hunting weekend
  • Trips to the Arsenal Mall to buy things for your apartment
  • Walking tour of Boston
  • Lunchtime picnic at IBS (International Business School)
  • Dinner and a movie night

The GSA will host a Welcome Reception during Orientation Week. This will be new students' chance to meet the incoming Graduate Student Association Officers, be welcomed by the Assistant Provost for Graduate Student Affairs, Alwina Bennett, and eat and drink for free! You will also learn about the Graduate Student Senate, which will be holding elections in September and offers you a chance to get involved in our growing and lively graduate student government. The GSA will also kick off our first TGIF (Thank God it's Friday) social event for the 2007-2008 academic year on, you guessed it, Friday, September 7, from 4 to 6pm. It will be at the Stein, which is also located in Hassenfeld. It features more free food and drinks, and the good company of your fellow grad students. I hope that all of you new graduate students attend!

Second, welcome back to all returning students. I hope to see you at the first TGIF! This year should be an exciting one for us, given the big improvements to the infrastructure for serving grad students.

Third, Alwina Bennett, our newly minted Assistant Provost for Graduate Student Affairs, has been on the job since the spring. She brings years of experience working with the Brandeis community, a tremendous commitment to graduate students, and ineffable amount of energy and enthusiasm. Under her leadership and guidance, you can expect many new, stimulating, helpful, and fun activities and events.

And to top it all off, our first ever Graduate Student Center will be ready for use when school starts! There may be some finishing touches going on during the first month of school, but I am told construction is ahead of schedule. I walked through the space today, and it looks great! Located in Kutz at the top of the loop road, the Center will house Alwina and Jessica, and provide grad students with computers, lockers, a kitchenette, a huge TV, and space for meetings, groups, studying, or relaxing. Be sure to drop by and meet Alwina and Jessica and luxuriate in this space dedicated to grads.

Finally, I want to welcome in the new GSA President, Ijezie Nwokomah, and the rest of the new GSA Executive Committee (EC) Officers. I wish you all the best of luck during your term, and look forward to the new ideas and initiatives that you will bring to the Brandeis Graduate Student Community!

A final thanks to the outgoing GSA EC Officers: Elisabeth Moolenaar, Amanda Hemmesch, Eileen Kranz (and welcome back to the EC as well!), Alex Williamson, Dimitar Pachov, Maniola Sejrani, Iskender Dildaev, and Nikhil Bapna. And a final thanks to you, the Brandeis Graduate Student Community. I have enjoyed my opportunity to serve as your President. Aloha `Oe!

Taletha Derrington
2006-2007 GSA President
Doctoral Student, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management