The recent departure of an overworked graduate Student Association senator means the Senate must once again search for a graduate student interested in the position.
Finding graduate students to fill Senate seats has become an annual battle in the SA and the current search already has been on for several months.
The resignation of former Sen. Barbara Mosseau – who represented the Graduate School of Education and Human Development – opened the spot last fall. Mosseau said she tried to persuade GSEHD students to apply for the position after she resigned, but no one applied. Most cited conflicts with classes and other activities, she said.
“It was not because there was a lack of desire,” Mosseau said.
Mosseau, a doctoral student writing her dissertation, said her experience exemplifies the conflicts between working, studying and participation in the SA and other activities. She said she precariously balanced her Senate responsibilities – including membership on the Academic Affairs Committee – with the demands of earning a degree and working as a full-time teacher.
In the end, she said, she chose to sacrifice her Senate seat.
“As an adult professional, it’s almost impossible to fulfill your SA responsibilities,” Mosseau said.
Like many GSEHD students, Mosseau taught all day before attending evening Senate meetings or graduate school night classes. She said she often would return home at midnight, only to wake up at 5:30 the next morning.
Since no students from GSEHD expressed interest in the seat, the Senate voted earlier this month to open the seat to applicants from any graduate program.
Rules Committee Chair Sen. Frank Vitolo (Law) has advertised the open seat, posting signs and fliers in areas graduate students frequent, but the open graduate seat has generated little enthusiasm.
SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar acknowledges the problem Mosseau’s situation highlights. Working and earning a degree is a graduate student’s top priority, he said.
“Community involvement is not a major thrust in graduate life,” Golparvar said.
But graduate Sen. Emily Cummins (CSAS) said she believes the apparent lack of graduate student interest in the SA is not the result of an excessive workload or simple apathy. She said it reflects a lack of SA programs that focus on graduate students.
“Why get people interested in things that don’t affect their school?” Cummins said.
She pointed out that many graduate students participated in this month’s SA Book Exchange, a program that benefits both graduate students and undergraduates.
Mosseau said she enjoyed working with all members of the SA and said she hopes to see many of them in future political offices.
“I have nothing but admiration for them,” Mosseau said.