Spring 2008 Presidential Letter

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Graduate Student Association Executive Committee I wish you a Happy New Year! I trust you all had a fun filled and restful winter break. To our colleagues who studied abroad and travelled out for internships, welcome back. To incoming exchange students, welcome to Brandeis - I wish you all a rewarding stay here.

The Graduate Student Association Executive Committee and Graduate Student Senate are working hard to present Graduate Student concerns to the University Administration. We are also working within our budget and limited resources and with support from fellow Graduate Students to meet Grad student needs. This semester, we have a number of activities and initiatives lined up for you and the community as a whole.

Increased awareness:

The GSA Senate, led by Jacinta Odhiambo has played an active role in increasing awareness of the Graduate Student community. Senators from the three graduate schools have increased awareness of the GSA, Senate and the roles and responsibilities of Senators. This semester, the Senators will go even a step further by launching a "Stop, Meet and Greet" campaign. The objective of this campaign is for Senators and the Executive Committee Officers to personally introduce themselves and answer any questions you might have about the GSA or resources at Brandeis.

In the spirit of increased awareness, Representative to The Board of Trustees, Carlos Yepez after a remarkable meeting with the Board, has been invited to meet with the Board this semseter. He will present Graduate Student concerns to the Board this semester and will provide feedback on issues already presented.

Easier access to online information:

Alexander Williamson, Web and Communications Coordinator, is working to update the brand new website with a "FAQ" section. This will enable everyone get easy answers to everyday questions. The new user friendly website presents potentials to be a favorite and a dependable resource to all graduate students.

Academic Events:

The Educational Programming Coordinator, Jane Harries has planned three academic events for the semester. In addition, she will work with the Office of Graduate Student Affairs to coordinate a Book club, ESL conversational sessions and other student led initiatives. Stay tuned for more information on these events and the schedule of the conversational meetings. It is our hope that everyone will take advantage of these sessions especially as they promise to be great hits.

Graduate Student Travel and Research Grants (TRG):

Olivia Wei, the Travel and Research Coordinator, working with the University Administration, has done a great job of streamlining the travel and research grants process. We will award grants to eligible graduate students. Students with academic related funding needs for the academic year (July 2007 - July

2008) can apply for stipends. You can find the forms and more information on the GSA website (www.brandeis.edu/gsa/trg/trg.htm)

Exciting social events:

Our dependable Social Coordinators, Eileen Kranz and Jordan Kerns, have a number of events planned for your relaxation this semester. These include: fancy TGIFs, Ski Trip, Movie Nights and other outdoor activities. Sign up on the GSA mailing list for more information.

Funding to Clubs:

Last semester, we acknowledged funding requests received from a couple of clubs. We encourage GSA chattered clubs to send in their application for funding for the semester. Vice President, Fuad Mahmood, will communicate deadlines and requirements to all club leaders. In addition, we encourage new clubs to fill out the chatter requests available on the GSA website.

Elections for the next GSAEC:

We will have elections for the next representatives to serve on the GSAEC. We encourage all Grad students who believe they have what it takes to serve selflessly and advocate for graduate student issues to meet with Senators or EC officers to find out how they can be a part of the Grad Student government.

While all these are going on, our indefatigable Treasurer, Asif Karimbux, will ensure that we stay within budget. He has promised to work with the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, the EC and the GSA Senate to keep us afloat.

Other Events:

In addition to the events and activities going on within Brandeis, there are a number of professional and academic events taking place in the Boston area:

  • MIT European Career Fair, February 1 - 3, 2008: We recorded success at the fair last year and we encourage every Grad student to take advantage of this fair to network, meet potential employers and find out what career options are available.
  • Brandeis (Heller and IBS) Career fair, February 14, 2008: Taking place at "home", this is a must attend event for all grad students. Look out for information regarding companies scheduled to attend the fair and how you can get involved to increase your chances of meeting potential recruiters.
  • Tufts Graduate Student Food/Nutrition Conference, March 29, 2008: I sent out communication on this conference. In addition, you will find flyers and information in your respective schools and at the Graduate Student Center.

Thank you for your attention. Please feel free to contact me, any member of the Executive Committee or members of the Graduate Student Senate in your respective Graduate Schools with any ideas or concerns you might have. I wish you all a rewarding and fun filled spring '08 semester. Remember to sign up for updates from your governing body at www.brandeis.edu/gsa

Best regards,
Ijezie Nwokomah MBA '08
President, Brandeis Graduate Student Association 2007 - '08