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Welcome Back from the GSA President

September 14, 2020

Dear UC Merced Graduate Community, 

As the days grow shorter and coffee shops smell of pumpkin and nutmeg, the graduate students at UC Merced are back in the frantic swing of research, teaching, and study. Here at the Graduate Student Association, we spent the summer preparing to welcome you back with social events, community engagement opportunities, advocacy initiatives, and so much more! I would like to highlight some of the amazing things our officers have put together for you this semester.  

The calendar of events is here!! Our Public Relations officer Carlisha Hall has put together a fantastic collection of activities including monthly Zoom fitness classes and social mixers, weekly writing spaces, and a very special Harvest End Party to include pumpkin carving (over Zoom of course)! A full calendar is attached and will be up on our website shortly. The GSA officers hosting and attending these events are all looking forward to meeting you!  

The GSA has lots of opportunities for graduate students to get involved on important committees across campus. Our Academic Affairs officer Taylor Fugere has compiled an updated list of all available committee positions and developed an app to improve the application process. Be sure to check out this list and the link to the new app in the attached document.  

Last month, the GSA released a statement outlining our equity, diversity, and inclusion goals on campus this academic year. This statement, carefully drafted by our Climate, Diversity, and Equity officer Larisa Gavrilova, has already led to impressive results. We are very pleased to announce that, due to this letter, the Graduate Dean will provide stipends for members on the Graduate Dean's Advisory Council on Diversity! This is a very exciting opening to the academic year.  

Our Internal Communications officer and Interim Internal Vice President Jordan Collignon has worked with the delegate assembly to improve legislation in the GSA.  Some of this legislation is up for approval by the general membership in the current GSA election and more changes will be coming over the academic year.   

Finally, Ritwika VPS, our International Affairs officer, and Jordan Collignon have both created fabulous designs for our new GSA logo and you can vote for your favorite in the GSA election.  

The election is going on now through September 18th. Please be sure to vote by following the link  

As President of the Graduate Student Association, I have been honored to help such a talented group of officers bring you all this and so much more. I look forward to meeting and talking with each of your at our social events and monthly General Membership Meetings (dates and times coming next week), as we forge ahead into a strange and uncharted semester. Remember, the Graduate Student Association is here and ready to help however we can, so please reach out.   

Have a wonderful day,  


Shayna Bennett 

President, Graduate Student Association 2020-2021