Gradvocacy Update – April 2014 (2013-2014 Recap)
This academic year was an incredibly busy and productive one for GPSA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of and with over 14,000 ASU graduate and professional students. Following an advocacy agenda created and approved by our legislative and executive branches (composed of graduate student leaders from across disciplines and campuses) we brought the ASU graduate voice to a new degree of engagement at the university, state, and national levels.
Our collective accomplishments this year include creating the first GPSA Advocacy Awards program, placing an emphasis on health & wellness advocacy, developing student leadership at the state level, standing up against local discriminatory bills, and continuing to voice our concerns about federal legislation that impacts ASU graduate and professional students. Thank you to the ASU graduate community for being part of GPSA’s advocacy by reading our newsletter and taking action.
GPSA Arijit Guha Graduate Student Advocacy Awards Winners
Alicia Dinsmore was born in Phoenix, Arizona and has spent her whole life in the Southwest. She is currently working with No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes in Nogales, Sonora to recover money and belongings migrants lose upon deportation and document the numerous ways the prison industrial complex profits from this dispossession.
Jaclyn Raymond is creator of I ALWAYS Get Consent.
Davier Rodriguez serves as Program Coordinator for TRIO Student Support Services, a federally funded educational opportunity program that serves lower-income, first-generation, and students with disabilities. Davier is also currently pursuing a concurrent Master of Public Administration and a Master of Education in Higher Education at Arizona State University. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida.
In 2012, Davier co-founded DREAMzone, a comprehensive professional development workshop that provides student leaders, staff, and faculty with the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to effectively respond to the presence and needs of undocumented college students and ensure they persist through graduation. Over the last decade, Davier has devoted his life to advocating for queer people, immigrants, women, and other historically disenfranchised people.
Megan Hartman is a third year MFA student in the Theatre for Youth program at Arizona State University, with a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Megan attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and graduated with degrees in Theatre and French in 2007. Megan spent two years as a Tour Actor/Director for Missoula Children’s Theatre, in which she was able to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada helping children develop life skills through the performing arts. Megan has worked with youth in various settings, such as group homes, homeless shelters, treatment centers, hospitals, schools, and after-school programs. Her aim is to make quality artistic opportunities accessible to all young people. Two particular efforts include overseeing a digital storytelling program at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and devising a theatre curriculum with Free Arts of AZ to use with teen girls in a group home. Megan looks forward to continuing to find ways to use the arts as a tool for creative expression, civic dialogue, and social justice.
Open Education Resources (OER) Week
GPSA partnered with ASU Libraries to celebrate Open Education Week 2014 on March 17-21. ASU Libraries has compiled a number of Open Educational Resources that can be used for free by any student. Resources include information about Open Access, Copyrights, Author Rights, Open Textbooks, among many others. We tabled with ASU Libraries at all four campuses to make this information available to students and raise awareness about Open Access.
BoxWELL – Community Supported Agriculture
We listened to your concerns about finding healthy, affordable, convenient places to find nourishment on campus. We partnered with the WELL Juice Bar to address those concerns and to provide you with a subscription service for getting organic, locally-grown produce delivered right to campus for pick-up. A special thanks to Laura Pich and her team for listening to what graduate students wanted and creating this BoxWELL program just for us!
Here is the first graduate student, Claudio Santos de Almeida, enjoying his fresh, local produce!
Beat Cancer Campaign
This year we raised awareness about cancer and how it impacts our graduate community. We heard and featured stories from many of you during our BEAT CANCER campaign. We invited the American Cancer Society and the Young Breast Cancer Survivor Support Initiative to come educate us on campus and collaborated with the SDFC to bring you an entire week of cancer events. That week ended with us raising over $1500 for cancer research and many of us representing team FORK CANCER in the American Cancer Society’s walk in Tempe in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Mental Health Week
THANK YOU to all the organizations who collaborated with us and made graduate student health, in all its form, as a top priority. Thank you to all the volunteers throughout the year that made our events possible! Thank you for all who have continued to connect with us about ways to make this campus and the communities we live in a healthier place to live. Here’s to your mental, physical, and emotional health!
Arizona Students’ Association
Want to help ASA decide on campaigns and represent graduate students in the statewide student movement of ASA? There are 2 available seats in the House of Representatives for ASU graduate or professional students. If you are interested in filling one of these seats, please contact Adam Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
In a historic effort, ASA held the first Arizona statewide student Congress this past weekend when a new set of bylaws were ratified by the 23 university and community college students who gathered in Tempe for this purpose. This event was the culmination of months of work for ASA and was supported by the tireless work of several leaders from GPSA. A President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and 4 other members of the board of directors were elected during this Congress.
The Association will begin operating exclusively under its new bylaws and structure on June 1st of this year.
Legislative Updates and Reflections
As of September of last year, more than 146,000 signatures had been collected and submitted to put HB 2305 on the ballot in 2014. A summary and brief discussion of the bill may be found here.
The bill has now been repealed, and the need for statewide referendum is removed. Until the second legislative session had adjourned on April 24th, it was unclear whether any of its provisions would be introduced with other bills. Future legislative sessions may see the return of these provisions, so stay tuned for future Gradvocacy updates.
SB 1062 / HB 2153
Before being vetoed by Governor Brewer on February 26th, this controversial bill made international headlines as it passed the state legislature and the governor considered signing it into law.
GPSA passed a resolution in opposition to the bill on February 21st. The press release can be foundhere, and State Press coverage of the rally which took place on ASU campus can be found here. GPSA is committed to promoting a learning environment where all aspects of students’ diversity are welcomed and appreciated.
If SB 1062 had been signed into law, it certainly would have changed the lives of graduate and professional students and their loved ones. But it was vetoed by the Governor. Why does it matter now?
Let’s first consider how it affected our graduate student communities on campus. The bill gained media attention just as many prospective graduate and professional students got their acceptance letters and considered continuing their educations at ASU. GPSA’s officers received reports that some of these students told recruiters that they would not be attending graduate school in a state where this sort of legislation can make it to the Governor’s desk.
The legislation also drew criticism from some very large companies like Apple, AT&T, and American Airlines. The NFL hinted that it would consider moving the 2015 Super Bowl if the bill became law.
This kind of press is bad for students and programs because it shrinks applicant pools and discourages diversity. This kind of press is bad for business because it makes some people less than excited about moving to Arizona for work.
Please remember where this legislation comes from, take the election of your state legislators seriously this November, and tell your friends registered to vote in Arizona to do the same.
As always, feel free to contact your legislators to have your voice considered.
…and… never forget to register to vote!
New to Arizona? Haven’t updated your voter registration since your last move? If you intend to vote in Arizona, you need to register to vote, which you can quickly do online through GPSA!
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- Recent felonies may delay or prevent registration today.
GPSA Talked to Congress
This past year GPSA ensured that the voice of Graduate and Professional Students at ASU reached our elected officials in Congress. Additionally, we collaborated with the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) in order to provide advocacy training to ASU graduate student leaders.
We attended town halls, participated in roundtable discussions, and visited with the local and Washington, DC offices of our elected officials. Additionally, we mobilized fellow students through action alerts to urge them to call and message our elected officials on issues that impact our ASU community. Among other things, we lobbied for solutions to the graduate student debt problem, for open access to make research and educational resources more accessible, for higher research funding and lower budget cuts to research agencies, and in support of comprehensive immigration reform.