GSC tackles affordability issues and potential expansion of 5-SURE

Jan. 26, 2023, 10:19 p.m.

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) was optimistic about a potential increase in the graduate student stipend and explored options to expand 5-SURE during its Tuesday meeting.

Emily Schell, GSC co-chair and fifth-year Ph.D. student in developmental and psychological sciences, opened the meeting by sharing updates from her meeting with University Provost Persis Drell.

Schell said there was a promising development regarding an increase in the graduate student stipend. “It was very reassuring to hear [her] acknowledge that affordability is a big concern,” Schell said. Stanford Solidarity Network and Bioscience Affordability Group members will be attending next week’s GSC meeting for a more in-depth discussion of affordability issues.

The GSC discussed a pilot 5-SURE program that expands the existing one and offers services between the Palo Alto Caltrain station and Stanford. “I’ve delegated this to the Undergraduate Senate because…undergraduates have recently been concerned that there is no way to get around safely [at night], and that makes it difficult to have a social life,” Schell said.

Councilors said last Saturday’s CluedUp Alice in Wonderland Scavenger Hunt in San Jose was a success. According to Leslie Luaueno, social co-chair and third-year Ph.D. student in education, a total of 40 people attended the event and gave generally positive feedback.

Kavya Sreedhar, social co-chair and fourth-year Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, announced the Nominations Commission Student Rep Mixer will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at Green Library this Friday. Sreedhar described the event as a “good opportunity” for “getting to know graduate student representatives.”

Schell said the goal for the mixer is “to try and give feedback to specific communities and see what different committees are doing, and to see… how the Nominations Commission is working, [and] how we can improve [it].”

Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) representatives shared updates with the council. Due to lower attendance at the graduate student teaching kitchens, they said there were plans to open the classes to undergraduates.

Councilor and seventh-year mechanical engineering Ph.D. student Yiqing Ding asked whether there would be increased protection at public R&DE events following a series of mass shootings in California. R&DE representatives said they have no knowledge of any plans for increased protection and that related inquiries or suggestions could be directed to the Department of Public Safety.

Councilors explored the possibility of altering the policy around annual grant reapplication. In response to inflation in 2022, the Appropriations Committee sought the GSC’s input on allowing students reapplying for a grant to increase their funding by 7% from the original funding (rather than the current policy of 5%). The GSC plans to investigate whether there is a correlation between annual grant funding and student activity fees before voting on the proposition in their next meeting.

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