Seven Springs Shuttle
Update on Seven Springs Shuttle: As mentioned before Seven Springs has ended UMD shuttle service abruptly on the first day of classes, and the graduate student residents are dealing with hardship getting to campus. GSG is continuing working to advocate for residents and encouraging them to voice their concerns. In the past month, GSG organized a night walk from campus to the Seven Spring Apartments to emphasize that the student
residents have doubled commute time and an unsafe and dark path for walking or biking at night to their homes. You can read more about this walk in the Diamondback article link below "UMD students march wooded three-mile route to protest bus route cancellation". In discussions with the department of transportation, DOTS officials mentioned that they implemented a policy that does not allow for such abrupt endings of shuttles in the future. Furthermore, the possibility of providing a reduced schedule shuttle for the spring semester is being negotiated with this organization.
Making Sure Graduate Student Voices Count
GSG members sit on over 50 campus-wide committees that are dedicated to all parts of the campus community. In addition, GSG program representatives and executives have roles on city-university councils, and national coalitions that serve graduate student interests. Having graduate students engaged in the spaces where decisions are being made is a crucial role and it where many of our greatest achievements stem from. A couple examples include working with the graduate school and the city to have input on future graduate student housing, being active on the mental health task force, having input on services offered by the University Health Center, shaping what transportation services are offered, connecting constituents to information and resources to help with food insecurity and much more!
Institutionalizing Student Representation on Presidential and Upper-Level Administrative Search Committees
GSG and SGA brought concerns about shared governance to the University System Student Council in 2018. Through joint resolutions and a proposal at the system level and from approval from the Chancellor, it became institutionalized in 2019 that graduate and undergraduate representation will be included in presidential and upper administrative search committees.
Increased Consistency and Transparency of the Student Fee Advisory Process
GSG, SGA and RHA persist together in efforts to continually improve transparency and consistency across the mandatory fee and non-mandatory student fee process. Advocating every year to ensure each of the 13 university units is thinking through their financial responsibility to be stewards of fee money and listen to student voices to shape services. The groups also advocate, when it makes sense, for units to consider lowering their fee or even abolishing. In 2019 an ad hoc committee was formed that improved the information sharing processes for units and student groups to better understand the advisory process and to improve the timeline. There is still a lot to be done as we advocate for more affordability, but incremental progress is being made.
Airport Welcome Shuttle Program
GSG leads a collaboration with SGA, Yuva, CSSA, IGSU and additional student groups to welcome over 400 new students to campus. This program is a long-standing tradition and lets new grad terps have a safe first commute from Dulles Airport to their new homes. The shuttle program welcomes many new graduate students into the community and connects them quickly to a friendly face and helpful resources. This program is a collaboration with the Department of Transportation Services (DOTs), International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) and Graduate Student Life (GSL).
Advocating for Graduate Assistants
GSG Assembly has historically voted in favor of supporting improved labor policies for graduate student employees. These efforts are led by groups such as the Graduate Assistant Advisory Council (GAAC) and Fearless Student Employees (FSE). These efforts are multi-level and include participation in the current meet and confer process alongside benchmark research initiatives and state legislative advocacy to remove the current state prohibition preventing graduate students from having any options beyond the meet and confer process. This is unusual as Maryland remains the only state housing a Big Ten institution to have such a law in the books.