Graduate Student Association helps support 3,251 students
There are 3,251 graduate students at Grand Valley State University. So, where do they fit in with the 25,460 total students who attend the school?
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) gives these students a fuller sense of community while attending GVSU by bringing together a group of individuals at similar places in their lives.
According to the organization's page through the GVSU website, "GSA strives to promote interdisciplinary communication and collaboration in order to enhance a holistic graduate student experience. By fostering the development of the graduate student community at Grand Valley State University, graduate students will develop academically, intellectually, professionally, and socially."
Kelsey Stevenson, a member of GSA's elected executive board, found collaborating with GSA to be a great way to get involved.
"I work as a graduate assistant in the graduate school office, and I worked with another girl who was on the executive board last year,” Stevenson said. “She suggested it to me and told me a lot about GSA, and I also learned a lot about GSA in this office. (I) just thought it would be a good opportunity to work with graduate students outside of being a student and outside of my graduate assistantship."
One way the association plays a part in student life is through funding other graduate student organizations. Stevenson described it as the "umbrella organization over graduate registered student organizations."
However, GSA doesn't just help fund other organizations. It also hosts events giving graduate students many different opportunities.
"We organize graduate student events," Stevenson said. "We have PACES workshops all year that we cosponsor with the graduate school. Those are professional development workshops for graduate students and then the most upcoming event is our Graduate Student Association Fall Welcome, and that’s just sort of to welcome all the students back and to welcome some new students."
The Graduate Student Fall Welcome will take place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, in the L. William Seidman Center forum and courtyard. The event will allow students to socialize with faculty and each other while eating dinner and getting professional headshots taken to help further students' success in their future endeavors as they transition from a student life to a professional one.
Along with these events, GSA puts graduate students on GVSU committees in order to give a student perspective.
"There's all sorts of different standing committees at Grand Valley; they represent all different areas,” Stevenson said. “Graduate students are non-voting members on these committees, but they're able to give input where needed.”
Some of theses committees include the Campus Life Committee, University Assessment Committee and the University Academic Senate.
Every GVSU graduate student is considered a member of GSA, whether they formally sign up or not. Events, funding and other opportunities given to them are accessible either way.
These opportunities offered by GSA allow graduate students to network with peers and faculty, join other organizations and access a host of resources to help develop and further their futures.