|Sheena Kauppila, GSO president|
GSO to GSG
This has been a great year for graduate students at Northern Arizona University, with the Graduate Student Organization’s quest for independent government; greater collaboration between students, faculty, and administrators; involvement with the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS); the formation of a statewide Graduate Affairs committee with the Arizona Students’ Association (ASA); and now the recognition of the hard work that graduate students do for the university.
100 PERCENT TUITION REMISSION! For many years, graduate students have struggled when making the choice to attend NAU because of lesser funding in comparison with other institutions. Students have decided to attend NAU for other reasons (programs, faculty, or location), but finances were a definite detractor in the decision. The decision to fund 100% tuition remission for graduate assistantships will now make the decision to attend NAU a much easier one.
Graduate students offered assistantships will be able to choose NAU with full confidence that they are valued by administrators and faculty. Programs will be able to compete with offers from other universities. This decision will greatly improve the quality of graduate assistants on campus, enticing excellent teaching, research, and service assistants to NAU.
INDEPENDENCE! The results are in. Graduate students voted on April 27th to support an independent government. The GSO is no more; we are now the Graduate Student Government (GSG)!
Early in the semester, our proposed constitution and bylaws were read and suggestions made by administrators, faculty, and students. The independence committee worked to implement changes and move forward in the process.
In late April, we held a university-wide graduate student election. Graduate students voted on new college representatives, executive officers, and a measure to approve the GSG constitution.
Independence will mean many things for graduate students. We will have an equally represented voice for graduate students on both an institutional and state level. We will have more freedom to decide the priorities of graduate students and make sure that our interests are being represented.
REPRESENTATION! With independence, though, comes responsibility. The burden of representing graduate students will now fall fully on the shoulders of graduate students. As students, you need to make sure that your voice is heard. Become active in the new government; hold your representatives accountable! The GSG can only be as powerful and influential as you allow it to be.
Thank you for the incredible and educational opportunity to be president of the GSO this year. I look forward to seeing the amazing things you accomplish as the GSG.
—Sheena Kauppila, M Ed Counseling–Student Affairs student and 2010-11 GSO president