The More You Know: UMD Graduate Students and the Maryland General Assembly
Updated: Apr 29, 2022
Post By: Annie Rappeport
Graduate Student Government is a very active all year, every year, in state level advocacy to benefit the broader interests of the graduate student community at the University of Maryland.
Here is a guide to see some of the key perennial issues that UMD GSG works on year after year. Providing support through various means including oral and written testimony, work with the University System of Maryland Student Council, petitions, press conferences and rallies.
Graduate Student Government with SGA, MICA, Towson and MaryPIRG leaders at Student Voter Empowerment Act press conference and bill hearing
Some may wonder why graduate students care about bills being heard by the Maryland General Assembly. Well, as graduate students at a public, RI institution, the laws of the state directly impact the wellbeing of current graduate students. In actuality, the MGA sees and votes on bills that impact the access to UMD for future graduate students as well as legislation that impacts opportunities that graduate students have after earning their graduate degree.
Persistence is the Key
Change, more often than not, takes considerable time. That is why the issues are similar year to year from looking at graduate employee rights and protections to affordability in higher education, equity issues, environmental issues, metal health, affordable housing and shared governance have all come up (repeatedly) over the years. Here are just a few examples of bills GSG has worked on from 2020-2022.
Supporting Graduate Student Collective Bargaining Hearing 2022
Supporting Student and Military Voter Empowerment Bill Press Conference 2021
Supporting Amendment to Hate Crimes Act 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III's Law 2020
How can you get involved?
GSG thrives or withers based on the level of engagement. If you are a graduate students, you can participate. You can do this in a number of ways.
Become a Representative
Get in the room! Make sure your program has a representative. If there is a vacancy, help fill it! This happens over the entire year, but main elections are happening right now! Nominations are open for the next couple of weeks and you can self-nominate on the website.
Being a representative is a fun way to meet fellow graduate students from across the spectrum of colleges and programs. The time commitment consists of a monthly 2 hour assembly and commitment to at least one committee (there are a lot of choices including legislative action, international student affairs, academic affairs, DEI, community development, graduate research conference planning, rules and budget.)
GSG has other events as well that you are encouraged to participate in as a representative from town halls to celebrations or trips to advocate in Annapolis!
Joining a Committee
Get a taste of GSG experience by joining a committee. This does not require being a voting representative and can be a match to your exact interests and passions. Here is a list of current GSG committees.
Run or Apply to a Leadership Role
GSG is run entirely BY GRADS FOR GRADS. That means our Executive team is elected/hired graduates students. This includes the following:
GSG President (full time, 12 month assistantship)
GSG VP for Legislative Affairs and Speaker of the Assembly (part time assistantship)
GSG VP for Financial Affairs and Student Fee Matters (part time assistantship)
Director of Operations (full time, 12 month assistantship)
Chief of Staff (hourly)
Public Relations Coordinator (hourly)
Graduate Research Appreciation Day Coordinator (hourly)
Advocacy Day Coordinator (hourly)