Dear Graduate and Professional Students,
As we come to the end of the 2019-2020 school year, I want to write to you about the Senate’s accomplishments in the past year and our ongoing efforts. It has been an unusual year, but through the hardship, I saw tremendous resilience in our community and the great care we have for each other. It has been an honor to serve you all as the President of the Senate this year and to work alongside my amazing colleagues on the Executive Board and Senate.
COVID-19 responses: The Senate has passed a resolution to express our support for multiple advocacy projects across the G&P schools and to express our firm stand on urging the University to incorporate G&P students’ input into the decision making process. In addition, the Senate is leading two advocacy efforts to extend software services and healthcare insurance for the graduating class. Please contact me or Kelly Backes if you want to get involved. With help from the community, the Senate has compiled a list of online resources to assist you in coping with the pandemic. Please visit the Resources page on our website for more information. As always, the Senate is here to support you. If you want to host a virtual event for the G&P community and need funding, please visit the funding committee website to apply.
Advocating for the expansion of UPASS program: Working closely with the Graduate Student Assembly, the Senate is advocating for the expansion of the CT UPASS program to private institutions and to G&P students. We testified along with GSA leaders in front of the Transportation Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly in support of a recent bill for these expansions. You can read our full testimony here.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) advocacy: DEI is the heart of our work. Working closely with the Work Life and the Human Resources department at Yale, the Senate has led the effort to create a more inclusive space for student and staff mothers. The specific accomplishments include an online electronic map of all lactation rooms on campus and an online reservation system for some of the existing lactation rooms. A new online system is underway to incorporate all lactation rooms on campus. Please stay tuned! Additionally, since the publication of Prof. Reese’s report on the institutional responses and resources on racial discrimination and harassment, the Senate has continued to push for policy changes and to ensure students’ voices are heard. We hosted our first University-wide town hall on DEI on December 6th, 2019 to provide a platform for students’ voices. Notes and comments from the town hall along with discussions within the Senate have been communicated to the Dean of each School.
Library resources for all graduate and professional students: Students from professional schools voiced their wish to access the New York Times and other subscriptions, and we heard you! The Senate advocated for the expansion of the New York Times subscription to the wider Yale community through the University Librarian hiring committee. Now students at all professional schools can access NYT content through the Yale Library subscription.
Community Engagement: We believe that the prosperity of the University relies on both the community within Yale and outside of Yale. The events hosted by the Social Committee and Professional Development Committee have fostered relationships and collaborations among students across the University. Through various initiatives led by our Community Engagement Committee, Yale G&P students are more involved in the local community than ever. More than 40 G&P students are volunteering at New Haven public schools, various churches, and non-profit organizations through our tutoring program. We raised more than $1800 to support the local community via toy and clothing drives. Additionally, the Senate has formally expressed our support for the Yale Prison Education Initiative in a letter addressed to the Administration.
Many Senate initiatives will continue into the next academic year, including:
- Expanding access to menstrual hygiene products
- Continuing UPASS advocacy
- Continuing advocacy for wellness mapping, programming, and resources
- Continuing relationship building across all schools and between students and the administration
If you are passionate about topics affecting G&P student life at Yale, I encourage you to (1) look out for and fill out our annual survey due to release within the next month. This survey helps guide our efforts and priorities for the future, and (2) consider joining the Senate in the fall! Look out for information about elections at the beginning of the fall semester.
Finally, I want to congratulate graduates of the class of 2020! The tremendous work and time you have put into your degrees has finally paid off. The skills you learned, the knowledge you acquired, and the people you have met at Yale are going to accompany you into you future endeavors. Admittedly, you are graduating into an unusual job market. We recognize the difficulty that many of you might experience in the job search. The Senate wants to advertise two Yale resources that offer training and networking opportunities: The Office of Career Strategy continues to offer online workshops and office hours to answer your questions related to the job search. Graduates can also join the newly launched Cross-Campus by the Yale Alumni Association. The platform offers great opportunities to connect with alumni in your industry or those who share common interests.
Below you will find contact information for the incoming Senate executive board. I have great confidence that this team will do an excellent job continuing our work to improve the graduate and professional student experience at Yale.
President | Graduate and Professional Student Senate
2020-2021 Executive Board
President: Patrice Collins
Vice President: Mary Gilstad
Treasurer: Alex Thew
Secretary: Molly Murphy
Advocacy Chair: Brianna Jackson
Diversity & Inclusion Chair: JaQuan Beachem
Funding Chair: Nick Fisk
Professional Development Chair: Marc Ibáñez Díaz
Public Relations Chair: Ph. Laurence Gaillard
Social Co-Chair: Dustin Gavin
Social Co-Chair: Brady Rowe
2019-2020 Executive Board
President: Hao Xing
Vice President: Dillon Tjiptamustika
Treasurer: Chris Wilson
Secretary: Mary Gilstad
Advocacy Chair: Kelly Backes
Community Engagement Chair: Patrice Collins
Diversity & Inclusion Chair: Christian Bradley
Funding Chair: Jaime Totti
Professional Development Chair: Kaicheng Li
Public Relations Chair: Will Thompson
Social Co-Chair: Dustin Gavin
Social Co-Chair: JaQuan Beachem