Laura Blue’s excitement for becoming president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation is especially noteworthy when you look at her competition.
Although few graduates have expressed interest in the job — the last contested election was in 2006 — Blue said she thinks her enthusiasm and commitment to the job can provide a strong voice on a campus dominated by undergraduates.
Blue said she hopes to promote unity among graduate students, gain a larger student voice on University committees and eliminate inefficiencies.
“I feel like there’s always something to learn from other people, so I like to get input from everyone without wasting time,” said the third-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry.
If elected, she will represent graduate students within student government and in meetings with administrators.
Blue wasn’t involved in student government as an undergraduate at Ohio Northern University but quickly became involved at UNC, serving as treasurer and public service chairwoman for the GPSF.
Responsibilities of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation president
-Advise the student body president on graduate student issues.
-Preside over Graduate and Professional Student Federation meetings.
-Represent graduate student interests on various boards, including the tuition and fees advisory task force and administrative search committees.
-Represent graduate students in meetings with administrators.
Given the change in leadership from year to year, Blue said she hopes to solidify a relationship between the student body president and the GPSF.
“It varies from president to president what type of relationship is made, and it can really make or break graduate students’ voices,” Blue said.
Graduate student commitments, including doing research, teaching courses and taking care of families, sometimes make it difficult for students to get involved on campus.
“I want to raise awareness that it doesn’t take a huge amount of time to do little things,” she said.
Current GPSF President Keith Lee said it can be difficult for some students to balance academic and extracurricular activities.
“This is a job essentially, but you’re also a student,” he said. “For a lot of people, there’s just not as much time to devote to activities outside those core things.”
Emily Danforth, a representative in GPSF and Student Congress and a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, said many student government events occur during inconvenient times and when parking options are limited, which could limit graduate involvement.
Blue does an excellent job finding what people are good at and suggesting to them positions that fit their interests, Danforth said.
Lee noted Blue’s knowledge of financial issues students face after serving two years as treasurer.
“I’m very confident in her ability to carry forward the things that work and tweak the things that need to change,” he said.
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