As part of our Curious Cornhuskers initiative, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “What is the graduate student assembly? What can they do to enact change?”
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Graduate Student Assembly falls under the umbrella of the Association of the Students of the University of Nebraska and is the student government representing graduate students at UNL.
The assembly, which consists of around 50 members, meets once a month to draft and review legislation specifically pertaining to graduate students, and every academic department is eligible to send a representative to vote on its behalf, according to GSA vice president Anthony Juritsch.
“The assembly really provides a holistic view of how current issues and events impact graduate students,” he said. “That allows the executive team to make informed decisions and introduce legislation to best meet the needs of the graduate student community.”
GSA’s executive committee members attend university-wide meetings, such as those of the Faculty Senate, to represent the interests of graduate students.
“As many students are also paid by the university, and act alongside or in similar capacities to faculty, decisions made at these meetings also affect us,” Juritsch said. “It’s important that grad students’ voices be heard at these meetings to be sure our input is duly considered.”
The other core duties of the GSA include organizing scholarship opportunities and social events. The main scholarships the GSA obtains funding for are the Travel Awards Program, which helps graduate students travel to academic conferences, and Special Projects Grants Program, which assists students in hosting academic workshops of their own.
The GSA is not currently planning any social events, Juritsch said, but it does have a social events committee which plans two to three events per semester, in addition to regular appearances at university events and HuskerOut, an ongoing campaign that promotes social activism on campus.
In the past, these events have included board game nights at Crescent Moon Coffee and trivia nights at HopCat, as well as a week of events during “graduate student appreciation week.”