The Graduate and Professional Student Council of Duke University (GPSC–pronounced ‘gypsy’) is the umbrella student government organization for Duke’s graduate and professional schools. GPSC meets biweekly to address student concerns and issues raised by the administration. These meetings are open to all students and are led by the GPSC Executive Board (see sidebar). Daniel Griffin (PhD. Candidate, Classics), the newly elected GPSC President for 2010-2011, shares the following set of priorities for this year.
Mental Health and Wellness
One my goals as GPSC president is to increase awareness of mental health and wellness issues among the Graduate and Professional population. These issues are by no means confined to undergraduates: roughly half the patients who consult Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are Graduate and Professional students. Unfortunately, many times the stigma attached to these problems hinders one from seeking help until it is too late. Our hope is that if students know of the various difficulties they may face when entering a graduate program they will be more likely to be proactive in finding solutions.
Involvement Across Schools
A continuing focus this year is to solidify inroads among the various Graduate and Professional Schools on campus. This year, we will see events targeting involvement by particular schools to introduce them to fellow Dukies they otherwise may not have met. Furthermore, we are looking to create networks and archives between the disparate student governments on campus; that way, when one student government leader has an issue, they have a ready group of compatriots from whom to solicit information and aid.
GPSC is interested in increasing its fiscal responsibility, not only as an executive board but also among our student groups. Internally, we are introducing a much more strict cataloging and tracking system for our expenditures, streamlining the process and eliminating unnecessary paperwork. In coordination with Office of Student Activities and Facilities (OSAF), student groups will be more accountable for their spending: the number of authorized signers has been limited and random audits on spending will help us ensure that money we give to student groups will be spent as it was intended.
We are continuing our commitment to providing transparent communications between our members and the community at large. Our Web site redesign facilitates this goal in three ways. First, the redesigned navigation will make it easy for users to find the information they are looking for quickly with no hassle. Second, we are integrating our calendar and classified ads with already existing Duke Web services (Buzz and DukeList) to provide more focused content. Finally, we are integrating social web services into the GPSC experience through our Student Life Facebook account and @GPSC_President Twitter account.
GPSC, under the leadership of Daniel Griffin, is off to a strong start for 2010; visit the recently redesigned and released GPSC Web site at gpsc.duke.edu for additional information. For a chronology of GPSC’s leadership and accomplishments, and a sense of the many ways in which it successfully advocates for policies, programs, and services that enhance graduate and professional student life, visit http://gradschool.duke.edu/student/student_gov_groups/gpsc_accomplishments.php.