GPSS hears from Graduate Student Voices, supports Türkiye and Syria


Biong Biong

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate meet on the last Monday of the month.

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) received a report from Graduate Student Voices that they could secure funding and legal support if they voted to unionize. Graduate Student Voices is a group of graduate students who are organizing unionization efforts.

Annabelle Lolinco, a graduate student in chemistry and a member of the group’s steering committee, said the group needs roughly 40 more members to vote in favor of unionizing.

“The University of Iowa’s own graduate union has a parent union, UE, the United Electrical Workers of America, and so for them, one of their promises here is that if there is a show of support to even vote to unionize– so saying yes to vote to unionize– there will be the support,” Lolinco said.

GPSS Vice President Caitlyn Campbell, a graduate student in natural resource ecology and management, reminded the senators that GPSS has not taken a formal stance on unionizing, but that they are responsible for relaying to their constitutions what was discussed during the meeting.

“So, as a GPSS, we cannot go to our constituents and say, ‘We as a group support [Graduate Student Voices], because there has been no legislation pushed forth that we have voted on to agree that this is something that we’re interested in,” Campbell said. “However, your role as a senator is to disseminate the information that is spoken and shared within our meetings, so you can bring this information to them, but you cannot say that GPSS has a stance on this.”

Lolinco said graduate students are at a pivotal point in unionization discussions.

“I’m sure as you’ve been paying attention to the news with the uptick of news stories about graduate unions, graduate strikes, retaliation, all of those sorts of things that are happening right now, because the zeitgeist moment of education kind of getting a rehaul […] or a reform, is kind of at this moment,” Lolinco said.

Students who would like to join Graduate Student Voices or keep up with updates can sign up on their form.

Support for the Republic of Türkiye and Syria

The senate passed a resolution in support for those impacted by the earthquake in the Republic of Türkiye and Syria Feb. 6.

Ceren Ordaş, a graduate student in and senator of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, said she would like to see more support from the university for those impacted by the earthquake.

“We want Iowa State University to announce its solidarity, support and condolences to the Republic of Türkiye and Syria instead of sending just one email to the Turkish and Syrian students,” Ordaş said.

The resolution asks the university to “announce its solidarity, support and condolences to

the Republic of Türkiye, and Syria,” and encourages the university to “support future student organization fundraisers that aim for Türkiye and Syria earthquake relief.”

Center of Communication Excellence

Kristin Terrill, a graduate student in English and a graduate student services specialist, gave a presentation detailing some of the programs and resources offered by the Center of Communication Excellence such as peer reviewing, tutoring, one-on-one feedback and Oral English Certification Tests.

“We’ve sort of moved around the organization of the graduate college in a way so that now that associate dean of professional development is now overseeing CCE [Center of Communication Excellence], career services and PFF [Preparing Future Faculty],” Terrill said.

Terrill shared with GPSS a competitive funding database she has been working on for graduate students.

“I really wanted to make more of an interactive tool that learns a little bit about who you are as a student, and what your […] demographic information is so that I can then give you more of a curated list of scholarships and fellowships that are actually more interesting to you and that you’re actually eligible for,” Terrill said.

Terrill also shared a few upcoming events with GPSS including:

  • An event focused on public speaking
  • An event focused on interpersonal communication
  • An event focused on job application materials.

The next GPSS meeting is scheduled for March 27 in the Memorial Union’s Sun Room.