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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

GPSA discusses top issues for fall semester

Food insecurity, housing, and campus safety among top issues for GPSA
Executive vice president and budget chair Marwa Aly speaking during a GPSA meeting.

The Graduate and Professional Student Alliance hopes to focus mainly on food insecurity, transportation and childcare this coming semester.

Sam Edgerton, PhD candidate in the department of history, said GPSA’s mission as to provide the most supportive environment possible for graduate and professional students.

“GPSA is essentially an administrative body for the entire graduate student community. This includes Pullman and our four research and extension centers,” she said. “Advocacy is for things like constant housing, higher stipends and at the local regional and state level legislature. A big part of GPSA is legislative affairs and going to Olympia during Coug Day to see what our constituents think is most important.”

Edgerton said she first became involved with GPSA when she started her master’s program during the 2017–18 school year, where she also served on the community affairs committee which was fairly new at the time.

President Ajay Barman said this will be his third year with GPSA, having started as a college representative for the graduate school.

“GPSA is a bridge between the WSU administration who makes the policy decisions and the students,” Barman said. “It’s really important to advocate for graduate students when the policymakers are making decisions that affect students.”

Barman said GPSA will be focusing on issues such as food insecurity, mental health, campus safety, housing and transportation, mainly the bus system.

“We want to highly advertise the referendum for a $5 increase in fees for students, which will go to the food pantry, but to do that, it has to be approved by the student election process,” Barman said. “We want to highly advertise that campaign.”

During her time with GPSA, Edgerton said one of the most important issues that they focused on was food insecurity among graduate students. It became obvious to her that it is a major concern near the beginning of the pandemic.

“GPSA had a special program reimbursing people up to $25 for groceries. The program was so popular that when it ended in the fall of 2020 people were seriously disappointed,” Edgerton said. “That was an eye opener for me that we had a real situation on our campuses as well as on our extension centers.”

Marwa Aly, vice president and budget chair, has also been involved with GPSA for three years, having served as vice president since the beginning.

“When I joined GPSA I found that it takes care of everything related to students at WSU,” Aly said. “Leadership is a skill that those who join GPSA learn very quickly.”

In addition to the previous issues mentioned, child care will be a focus of GPSA this coming semester, Aly said. GPSA plans to invite a few members of WSU administration to discuss the important issues, which students are welcome to attend.

“They all are welcome to ask questions or raise issues that they have,” she said. “GPSA’s structure is that there are three officers, eight college reps and 60 senators. We all are serving the same target for the year.”

GPSA will be hearing from various groups, such as WSU transportation, during their meetings to discuss the most important issues further, Barman said. Students at WSU should pay attention to GPSA because GPSA is a wide-reaching organization not exclusive to graduate students.

“We serve the bigger community at WSU, not just necessarily the graduate and professional students,” Barman said. “I want to spread the message that anyone can be here and be a leader.”

The first meeting of GPSA members will be senate orientation on Aug. 21, but this will be an exclusive meeting for new senators to learn their duties, Aly said. The first public meeting will be Aug. 28 and it will be in-person in the CUB senior ballroom from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

“Each two weeks we will have a meeting online, 5:30–7:30, until the last meeting on Dec. 4, which will be in person again,” Aly said. “The schedule should be posted on our website soon with all the guest speakers.”

Edgerton said students should watch GPSA’s social media accounts for different announcements for special elections for filling senate positions throughout the fall. The next GPSA general election will be in March.

For students who are interested in running for a position in GPSA, the next general election should be sometime in February, Aly said. More information will be posted on their website.

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JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.
ISABELLA DA SILVA, Evergreen Photographer
Isabella Da Silva is a photographer for the 2021-2022 school year. Isabella is a junior animal management major from Olympia, Washington. Isabella started working with the Daily Evergreen in the fall of 2021.