SGA Election Guide: Kathy Schnure

Kathy Schnure

The population of graduate students continues to grow (in both number and ratio) at Georgia Tech. As this group’s presence and influence becomes stronger on campus, the presence and influence of its representatives needs to become stronger as well. Georgia Tech is fortunate to have an invested, diverse group of graduate students who choose to devote time to representing their peers. After serving three years as a Graduate Senator, and two years as a member of the executive committee, I will be seeking election as the Vice President of Graduate Student Government for the 2010-2011 school year. Graduate Student Government and the Graduate Student Senate have made great strides in the past several years, and, if elected, I will strive to continue to make the voice and needs of graduate students more easily and openly heard. Achieving this goal will require the new administration to focus on several initiatives.

First, increasing the communication between graduate students and their representatives. Some departments and schools are extraordinarily skilled at doing this, while other groups have no idea whether they even have a representative or not. It will be important to even the playing field for those without representation. The creation of the new SGA website has been the first step in making communication with GSG more straightforward and simple for all graduate students. Continuing to implement the site and ensuring that it is utilized to its full potential will be extremely important in the next administration.

Additionally, continuing to create new relationships and reinforce existing relationships with the administration, faculty, staff, and undergraduates will serve to increase the visibility of Graduate Student Government on campus, and hence continue to encourage graduate students to be heard. Having solid resources from which to solicit advice in some situations, and to which to offer the graduate perspective in other situations can only serve to help graduate students in the long run.

During the past couple of years, concerns about health insurance and professional development opportunities have been expressed. In making the graduate voice heard, the next administration needs to ensure that issues that come up repeatedly are thoroughly addressed. Next year will bring the opportunity to select a health insurance provider, which will be of huge importance to graduate students. Making sure that all avenues are explored and that a diverse group of voices are heard will be essential in making that decision. Last week, the first Graduate Career Fair was held, and feedback from that event will need to be reviewed so that the event will continue to grow, and so that new ideas or events for professional development can be implemented to benefit even more students.

For the last two years, as Director of the Graduate Conference Fund, I have seen firsthand how valuable an asset GSG is to graduate students. As Vice President, I hope to find new ways to provide value to students that goes beyond monetary support. I appreciate your support in undertaking this exciting endeavor.