First Day on the Job
This is Chris Lizotte, the new President of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, logging in for the first time on the President's blog. Today, and for the next 364 days, I am committed to serving the graduate and professional students of the University of Washington. This blog will hopefully form one small aspect of that service - a tool for keeping students informed about vital issues that affect us all.
I'll just start off with a few thoughts about this enterprise I'm engaged in: graduate student government. Truth be told, I'm somewhat surprised to find myself in the President's seat at all: I didn't go in for student government in high school or college; I don't have designs on a political career; I'm not particularly charismatic or charming. Additionally, graduate student government seems like a strange idea to begin with: isn't this just a distraction from our degree programs? Student government is really just a club, right? Shouldn't we be focusing on "real" politics? Am I suffering from a strange case of arrested development where I need the attention that this position brings?
The answer to the last of those questions is probably "yes." But beyond that, I believe that, no, this is not just a distraction (though my committee members might disagree). No, this isn't a club (though we strive to foster community and social interaction among the often-sioled graduate and professional student body). We are focusing on real politics. In fact, the advocacy and service we try to provide through the GPSS is at the core of our experience as graduate and professional students. Our mission is, quite simply, to improve all aspects of the lives of students, in whatever form that might take. Many of these aspects have profound, material impacts: improving access to childcare; providing networking and career opportunities; advocating for student interests in Olympia; providing student input into the University budget process; and more.
This should be a space for information and, hopefully, reasoned discussion about important issues. So please tune in when you can and engage with me in helping ensure that the University of Washington live up to its promise as a truly public institution of higher education excellence.