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Monday August 15th

Bhardwaj to strive for efficiency in presidency

GPSF President Kiran Bhardwaj
Buy Photos GPSF President Kiran Bhardwaj

Winning is inevitable for Kiran Bhardwaj.

She is running unopposed for Graduate and Professional Student Federation president, but she said an efficient presidency might be her most intimidating opponent.

The planned resignations of Chancellor Holden Thorp and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney, as well as a change in the state legislature, all hold uncertainty for Bhardwaj’s presidency, she said.

Bhardwaj, who has plans to improve affordability for graduate students, said the next GPSF president will have to be cautious.

“We are going to have to be really sensitive to the priorities of this new group of people, who we can’t quite predict,” said Bhardwaj, a third-year philosophy graduate student.

Michael Bertucci, current GPSF president, said the current administration is conscientious about graduate students and in order to continue this effective rapport, Bhardwaj needs to have a strong presence.

“Kiran and I, during this transition period, will have to have a loud voice.”

Despite these changes, Bhardwaj has an extensive list of goals she hopes to accomplish during her term.

These goals include increasing the minimum stipend for teaching and research assistants, continuing student fee audits, implementing an emergency fund for graduate students and developing a mentor program.

Bertucci said that working closely with Bhardwaj, who currently serves as vice president of external affairs, has demonstrated her leadership potential.

“She started out as a TA and (research assistant) advocate, planning a survey in order to find what graduate students really wanted,” he said.

Julie Lauffenburger, vice president of internal affairs for GPSF, said Bhardwaj’s extensive involvement in extra-curricular activities — including involvement in the Royster fellowship program and the symphonic orchestra — qualifies her for the position.

“Somehow she manages to fit so many things into her day,” she said. “To be GPSF president and a graduate student can be really challenging. She is one of the few who can manage to do it. I cannot imagine anyone else as president.”

Jan Boxill, professor of philosophy and chairwoman of the faculty at UNC, said that among being knowledgeable, respectful and enthusiastic, Bhardwaj is a natural leader.

“She is fearlessly energetic. She has such a personality that she engages everybody, one that engages everyone to be enthusiastic about what they’re doing,” she said.

“She knows how to bring people together. It’s just natural for her to be president.”

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