Graduate Student Senate plans to reach out, be ‘sounding board’

Campus Editor and Campus Editor

When Lingxiao Ge came to Bowling Green from her hometown in China, she was surprised by how friendly everyone was.

Now, as Graduate Student Senate president, she tries to return the friendliness by advocating for students.

“If someone wants to be involved, we want to incorporate them,” Ge said. “We are that sounding board, we want to hear your concerns and if we can help, we want to try.”

Graduate Student Senate is an organization that represents and advocates for the interests of graduate students, said Michael Salitrynski, GSS treasurer.

This year, the executive board is focusing on hosting forums, a professional development day and the Shanklin Colloquium and Awards, said Martha Schaffer GSS vice president.

The organization is also working to reach out to a population they haven’t in the recent past.

“Our goal is to make sure we are doing outreach to the online graduate population,” Schaffer said. “[Online graduate students] have their own issues … We want to make sure that communication is flowing both ways, but also know they can come to use if they have an issue.”

The senate is starting to communicate with these and all graduate students more this year.

“There are lots of solutions to lots of problems if you can just get the right people in the right situation,” Shaffer said.

The organization is also looking into professional development funding.

Salitrynski is conducting research on how students receive the funds, which can go to trips to conferences and colloqia.

The research is in the information collecting stage, he said, but he’s finding that some departments differ in the funds they have and the funds they give out.

“I want to try to find some ways to create balance,” he said. “Culturally there’s just different perspectives, in some departments there is a very real financial tension where students are struggling to find funding.”

Salitrynski encourages students to come talk to GSS if they have questions or problems.

“I think really in GSS over the past couple of years we’ve seen a number of funding changes,” he said.

For Ge, GSS is an opportunity to speak with more students and talk to University administrators.

“It’s a really enjoyable experience for me,” she said.

At first, Ge was uncertain about being GSS president, but she soon gained confidence from her peers.

“I thought about it for several days and then I thought, yeah, I can give it a try,” she said. “I think I can, I think I’m a natural leader.”

Ge said students should come to GSS with questions and issues and the senate will do their best to help.

“If we don’t know the answer ourselves, we might be able to connect you with the person who knows,” she said. “We can be points of contact for issues students have.”