GPSA prepares for future with COVID-19 implications

Leftover S&A funds might be used to provide for graduate students in need



Matthew Sutherland, vice president of legislative affairs, said his hope is for GPSA to donate money to Dissmore’s to help graduate students pay for groceries.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

The WSU Graduate School dean addressed questions from GPSA senators about operations affected by Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. 

Dean Lisa Gloss said the graduate school will extend deadlines and create alternatives to address the developing COVID-19 situation. 

There will not be automatic extensions for individualized degree plans because the school has to manually input information for 4,000 graduate students, Gloss said.

“We’re trying to walk a middle ground and be sensitive to what graduate students need,” she said.

Gloss also said summer school will still be offered, but it is up to each department what classes will be offered. Some of the classes will be online while others are still being decided on.

The deadline to have dissertation cotton pages signed has been extended to May 8th, she said.

Those who are living overseas still need to mail their signed pages, Gloss said. The graduate school will not pay for the cost of shipping or the material. 

Plans for student financial support

During other discussions, senators debated using leftover S&A funds from the GPSA account to provide a way for students in need to purchase groceries.  

Matthew Sutherland, vice president of legislative affairs, said the hope is to donate $5,000 to Dissmore’s IGA so graduate students who apply for help can get 50 percent off their groceries. ASWSU also is talking about helping the fund.

The tentative plan would be to allow students to spend up to $80 per week on groceries for six weeks, he said.

Senators also asked about donating to food pantries.

Sutherland said by donating to Dissmore’s, students would be able to pick out their own food with a larger selection. 

“This is something graduate students are more likely to be able to access,” he said.

Other senators asked if this would benefit those who already have left Pullman. Sutherland said it makes it difficult to provide food for those who are not in Pullman, but that has been in discussion with administrators. 

GPSA Cancellations 

In-person Professional Development Initiative (PDI) events are canceled for the rest of the semester. There will be three workshops on stress relief and mindfulness via Zoom on April 7 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., as well as on April 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. and April 23 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Past PDI events are recorded and can be accessed here. 

GPSA programming events are canceled for the semester, which includes Mental Health First Aid Training. 

GPSA Vice President Veneice Guillory-Lacy said graduate students can be reimbursed for unused travel grants, which includes flights that were not taken and conferences that were canceled due to COVID-19.