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Ice Cream Social Aims to Remedy GPSF's Slow Start

After two students raised questions Tuesday about the GPSF's plans for the year on the group listserv, GPSF President Mikisha Brown responded with an e-mail apologizing for being out of touch and announcing an ice cream social at the Bell Tower on Wednesday for all graduate and professional students.

Brown also set the date of the first GPSF Senate meeting for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11.

Brown said the lack of GPSF publicity and communication until this point is normal because the GPSF leadership transition usually takes place from late spring to early fall.

She also said the organization was delayed by a lack of interest in filling empty seats in the GPSF senate. "It was difficult in the spring to get positions filled, but now most of the positions are filled," Brown said. "The momentum has picked up a lot with the start of the new year."

But some students are concerned about the apparent absence of GPSF initiative. "I haven't heard anything about an agenda or what we're going to be concentrating on," said Dave Ruddell, a graduate student serving his fifth year on the GPSF senate. "I'm concerned about whether or not GPSF will be able to get anything done this year, because you really have to hit the ground running at the beginning of the semester."

GPSF Senator Thomas Pegelow said that the presidential position is quite a lot of work but that he's optimistic about what Brown will do. He said he hopes Brown will get the GPSF involved in issues that former GPSF leadership shied away from. Pegelow cited working with UE-150, a local labor union, as an example.

Pegelow also said he thinks women and minority issues are important and that he hopes Brown will address them.

Brown said Wednesday that the main issues she hopes to address are GPSF's benefits to students, enhancement of GPSF senate representation and quality of life for graduate and professional students. She is especially interested in how to enhance student experience for minorities in terms of recruitment and retention.

Ruddell said it's typical for GPSF activity to be low during the summer but that there has been more communication in the past, especially on the listserv. "Usually nothing happens until school starts, but usually it's more organized," he said.

Once activities finally kick into high gear, graduate and professional students said they will look to the group for connection to each other, utilizing events such as Wednesday's ice cream social.

LaTarsha Jones, a third-year graduate student in the School of Pharmacy, said, "We get so wrapped up in our research and what's going on in our department that we think it's not important to interact as a whole."

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