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January 8, 2019

Grads Speak Up: Graduate Student Council Gives Students a Voice


Graduate Student Council

If you go into Room 216 of the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m, you’ll see a group of graduate students gathering to make their voices heard. This is the weekly meeting of the Graduate Student Council (GSC). Formed in 2016, GCS has attracted a growing number of members, all working together to make graduate school life easier.

“The council is important because it’s kind of a support system for graduate students,” said Master of Public Health student Natalie Madray, president of GSC. “People come to us about concerns with professors and courses.”

GSC is responsible for representing and uniting graduate students at Adelphi. Beginning with fewer than 20 people, it has nearly tripled in size and has more than 50 members this year. This is also the first year that there is representation from every school and academic program.

“It’s like a melting pot,” said the council’s vice president, Shayla Clarke, who received her B.A. from Adelphi in 2016 and expects to complete her M.S. in Emergency Management this spring. “People from different walks of life, different ages.”

All graduate students are welcome to join GSC, and no one hoping to join is turned away. Members also join other campus groups—including the Panther Pantry, the Ruth S. Harley University Center renovation advisory panel and even the Adelphi University Board of Trustees—to provide the graduate students’ perspective.

In addition to its weekly meetings, the council holds late-night biweekly meetings throughout the year that are open to all graduate students who have suggestions or concerns. It also convened its Fall Forum in November, bringing representatives from different departments to hear student concerns.

“The graduate student body feels like it has a voice,” Clarke said.

Graduate students don’t just talk. They dance, too—every May at the Spring Fling, the formal event marking the end of the academic year. At the ceremony, six students are awarded $1,000 scholarships for their outstanding academic work. GSC awards other scholarships, too, including $500 grants each semester to five students as part of the Conference Funding Scholarship. This money funds professional development and makes it possible for students to present their work at conferences.

The Council holds a number of social events throughout the year, including the Mix and Mingle fall festival, open houses and fairs, and collaborative events such as library research day and the March for Our LivesIt also provides graduate students with community service opportunities. In December 2018, GSC worked with the Student Government Association to sew and donate more than 180 hats to toddlers in need. It also sold pumpkins and raffle tickets as part of Adelphi Spirit Weekend, donating the money raised to the Panther Pantry. This spring, GSC will participate in Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients.

And GSC doesn’t take summers off. It is planning another summer retreat to build stronger relationships between students, complete with team-building exercises and meetings to plan for the upcoming year.

“The council is getting better every year,” Madray said. “We’re helping graduate students and building a home away from home.”


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