The Graduate Student Government elected a new board of representatives after presenting an overview of last year’s achievements on March 12, former GSG president Friederike Funk said. Incoming president Sean Edington and vice president Mircea Davidescu will lead the new GSG board members.
The board consists of secretary Julia Wittes, treasurer Rachael Barry, communications director Tom Morrell, special events officer Mike Hepler, academic affairs chair Cagin Ararat, facilities chair Andrew Edwards, health and life chair Pam Mueller and social chair April Williams.
Edington, formerly a GSG representative from the chemistry department, said two of his major goals are to increase graduate student housing and foster a more integrated campus community.
Although the current graduate housing capacity is around 70 percent, Edington said he would like to see that value rise by 10 percentage points.
“It’s really tough for these students to really take part in the University community — to be engaged researchers, engaged preceptors, engaged mentors — when they have to deal with this commute,” Edington said, referring to graduate students who live off campus in neighboring towns.
The University is set to open Lakeside, a new housing development for graduate students, later this year. Edington said that although the graduate student community strongly appreciates the new development, especially because it’s within walking distance of the main campus, housing plans could still be improved.
“The administration’s current take on graduate housing is looking to maintain the current level of graduate housing as opposed to expanding it, and I would say that’s one thing that we would really like to try and change,” Edington said.
Regarding graduate student presence on campus, Edington said the GSG is investigating the possibility of a graduate student center. He also hopes to improve the connection between graduate and undergraduate students through an increased amount of collaborative efforts such as restaurant week and the furniture drive, a fundraising activity that raised more than $4,000 this year according to the GSG achievement report.
“I think that’s a great example of how undergrads and grads really work together to achieve greater good,” Funk said of the furniture drive.
Other GSG achievements listed in the report include collaborating with Housing Services over the Lakeside project, establishing a stronger connection with administrators and working with campus groups such as the Pace Center and USG.
“We strengthened our connections with the undergraduate student body and also to other groups on campus,” Funk explained, adding that the USG was a helpful partner in orchestrating campus events.
Another collaborative effort between the GSG and the USG was Mental Health Week, USG president Shawon Jackson ’15 said.
“Looking forward, I think it would be useful for people in the undergraduate student government to have more informal interactions with members of the graduate student government,” Jackson noted. “Right now I don’t think we know too much about graduate student life.”
Both Edington and Funk said that they were excited about future collaboration between the GSG and the new Dean of the Graduate School Sanjeev Kulkarni.
“We’re really looking forward to making a lot of progress with his help, and I think it’s a really exciting time to be a graduate student at Princeton and also to be a member of the GSG,” Edington said.