Chances to improve grads’ experiences lie ahead

Let me welcome everyone to the fall semester and another academic year at Tech! This time of the year always brings a different atmosphere to Tech with orientations, campus events and a welcoming environment for all new and returning Jackets. This year will prove to be one filled with a myriad of events and activities within and sponsored by the SGA. From the graduate side of SGA, there will be a number of issues and activities that we plan to tackle in this academic year.

Communication amongst graduate students will be a main focus this year in Grad SGA. What is becoming increasingly important and also increasingly difficult is to communicate major campus initiatives focused on grad students to all those students across campus.

To facilitate communication across the departments and the campus, the Board of Governors was created this summer comprising graduate-focused student organization presidents that will relay information amongst the different graduate constituencies. Additionally, there will be initiatives to create graduate-specific communication resources and avenues that provide information on various events and resources.

I want to invite all graduate students to a time honored tradition at Tech, the graduate student picnic. The picnic gives grad students, their families and friends an opportunity to enjoy an evening of free food and entertainment as a welcome back and to Tech from Grad SGA. This year’s picnic will be Sept. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the IC Lawn with free T-shirts for grad students who attend.

Professional development has become a key initiative in the past few years as the job market continues to become tougher and grad students seek ways to become more competitive.

Teaming with Career Services and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, we will be hosting the Second Annual Career Symposium that will provide all graduate students with workshops and panels covering career topics ranging from job search to interviewing skills in all areas of employment including government, industry and academia. This year’s event will take place March 10, 2011 in the Student Center.

Partnering with the Provost’s Office, one of Graduate SGA’s greatest events has become the Georgia Tech Research and Innovation Conference (gtRIC). Last year’s conference was truly an accomplishment that showcased some of the best research and efforts of graduate students at Tech. This year will continue to develop the research symposium and expand it to include even more presenters. The event will take place on Feb. 8, 2011 in the Student Center.

It is also important to mention that the Graduate Communication Center will continue to offer writing development to all graduate students.

Another issue dear to graduate student’s hearts is the student health insurance. This year will be a significant year for the student health insurance in that Tech is able to select an insurance provider for the coming years in a significantly different system than we are in now. This will be a significant task for SGA and exploring all aspects and concerns as well as having a transparent process will be of the utmost importance.

As we look to this year, it will definitely be one filled with many things to accomplish. The items mentioned here constitute the most important issues and events this year but only represent the tip of the iceberg. I encourage everyone to look out for announcements on our many other initiatives throughout the year.

All of this can only be accomplished through the collective efforts of the graduate students who donate their time and efforts by serving within Grad SGA. This year, I am thankful to have recruited an exceptional executive cabinet that will work to accomplish all of the events and goals for this year.

Complementary to accomplishing these goals are the honorable grad students who serve in the GT Senate. With all of this, I want to extend an invitation to anyone interested in joining SGA to join us. We are always looking for people to join us in the Senate as well as the various committees within the executive cabinet. To explore more, be sure to visit www.sga.gatech.edu and also look out for important announcements here as well. I wish all of you the best for a fruitful academic year and most importantly, Go Jackets!