Proceedings of the February 27th, 2008 GSC meeting
1) 5:45 FOOD (thanks Anwei!)
2) 6:00 Welcome with introductions (Kristina)
3) 6:05 Announcements (Kristina)
i. Please be aware that all meetings are recorded and will be made available on the GSC website.
ii. Approve minutes from the last meeting (2/20/07).
iii. Happy birthday Euan!
4) 6:10 Funding (Polina)
ii. Stanford Street Law
iii. Stanford India Association
iv. Undergraduate Product Design Student Association
5) 6:25 Swearing in new Law rep (Kristina)
6) 6:30 Elections Oversight (Adam B.)
7) 6:35 Face painters for Easter Egg Roll (Kristina)
8) 6:40 Graduate Student Elections (Ivette)
9) 6:55 ASSU Update (Mondaire)
10) 7:00 Programming update (Adam S. and Justin)
11) 7:05 Stipend update (Adam B.)
12) 7:10 Health Care Updates (Kristina)
13) 7:15 New Business
Voting members present:
At large 1: Maxim Afanasyev
At large 2: Hanna Muenke
At large 3: Kristina Keating
At large 5: Polina Segalova
Business: Rhyan Uy
Earth Sciences: Kyle Anderson
Engineering 1: Melahn Parker
Engineering 2: Zeng Fan
Humanities: George Bloom
Law: Andrew Park
Medicine: Yana Hoy (proxy Donna Winston present)
Natural Sciences: Fen Zhao
Social Sciences: Euan Robertson
Voting members not present:
At large 4: Lan Wei
Education: Michelle Brown
Others in attendance: Rachel Velcoff, Adam Beberg, Adam Sciambi, Justin Brown, Divya Bhangara, Alia Naim, Akshat Gupta, Tanmay Mishra, Nikhil Ravi, Khanthi Kode, Susana Montes, Anwei Chai, Tom Sze, Maria Spletter,
1) 5:45 FOOD (thanks Anwei!)
2) 6:01 Welcome with introductions (Kristina)
We add which department we’re in, and why we’re here today.
3) 6:03 Announcements (Kristina)
i. Please be aware that all meetings are recorded and will be made available on the GSC website.
ii. Approved minutes from the last meeting (2/20/08) by consensus.
iii. Happy birthday Euan!
4) 6:04 Funding (Polina)
i. Spicmacay – Having a music festival in May, with two artists. Last year had troupe of dancers, this year inviting two musicians representing different kinds of classical music. Recommending $3570, somewhat lower than their requested amount, due to the expected size of the event. Giving $3570 passes by consensus.
ii. Stanford Street Law – One of our service groups on campus. Teach classes at Juvenile Hall, Community School (kids on probation), Girls Camp (also juvi) on different aspects of the law. Teach kids about their rights and responsibilities under the law. Go 9 times each semester. Recommended $2095. Giving $2095 passes by consensus.
iii. Stanford India Association – SIA cultural events. Had intended to have a sports event, but were unable to get fields due to a Frisbee tournament, so will have lower key social event instead. Will be around Lake Lag. Recommended $1000. Giving $1000 passes by consensus.
iv. Undergraduate Product Design Student Association – Not here
v. Special Fees – One of the Club Sports groups forgot a line item for the budget that we voted on last week, so would like us to modify their budget to add $4000. This increase would still be within their 10% increase. $202,070.80 would be new total. Requires role call vote.
10 for, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining. Passes.
5) 6:14 Swearing in new Law rep (Euan)
Andrew Park is sworn in as new law rep, and can now vote.
6) 6:15 Elections Oversight (Adam B.)
Original issue at hand about enforcing petitioning period was resolved, so Adam B. gives an update instead. For Grad students running for GSC, basically need to sign-up by March 29th, and then we’d be on the ballot. Some issues of behavior during campaign week that sometimes lead to disqualifications, but not usually from the grad students. Need to be careful in that there are many more rules and earlier deadlines for Undergrads running for positions, and want to make sure that grad students know that these don’t apply to them.
7) 6:20 Face painters for Easter Egg Roll (Kristina)
Andy would like to hire two face painters for a total cost of $700, $350 from us, rest from GLO. Plan to use extra money from Thanksgiving dinner to cover that. This is all they’re asking us to contribute to the Easter Egg Roll, which is otherwise funded by the Provost’s office. Questions about why face painters should cost that much, no one really knows. Kristina will check with Andy, but recommends that we vote on it anyway. 1 objection to consensus, so we vote.
11 for, 2 opposed, 0 abstaining. Passes.
8) 6:24 Graduate Student Elections (Ivette)
Has created a plan of attack for graduate student elections, focusing on graduate candidate recruitment and graduate voter recruitment.
i. Graduate Candidate Recruitment
Major focus will be on recruiting GSC candidates, though grad students can also run for ASSU president/vice president, which would have earlier deadline.
a. Advertise with the goal of making people aware of the positions available. Counting on GSC members to recruit peers. Will also get in touch with leaders of student groups. Polina has a list of Financial Officers, Fen has a list of presidents (though it might be outdated), and Nanci Howe of OSA should have a list of contacts for student groups as well. Ryan will put an obvious link on the elections website for graduate students interested in running, because it is a different process with different deadlines than the Undergrads. Right now, the link will just be a link to email Ivette. However, more information about how Graduate students can sign up will also be posted, so that students can declare candidacy online.
b. Hold independent candidate information session geared toward GSC candidates, with the goal of providing specific information about the elections process for Graduate students. Suggestion to have this before March 14th, since after that will be finals, and spring break, followed quickly by elections.
Will also create a separate Candidate and Voter Guide for Graduate Students, which will outline the important information for running and voting.
ii. Graduate Voter Recruitment
Will be focused on a number of events:
a. Meet the candidates pub night
Have each GSC candidate give a brief presentation, followed by a brief Q & A, followed by social time in the pub, potentially with drink tickets. Thinking of Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7-9pm. Donna reports that one year, they had the candidates available, and if people came and talked to some of them, then they got a drink bracelet, which got them deals at downtown bars.
b. Rock the Vote! (organized by entire Elections Commission)
Big concert in White Plaza, open to everyone, to promote the vote. Will be on Friday, April 4th @ 5pm
c. Vote and Dine
General idea is to catch students and make it easy for them to vote, even if the students might not have made the effort to do so on their own. Plan to have a social event with music, food/drink, and computers with access to online ballot. Probably hold them in Rains, EV and/or Lyman Wed and/or Thurs, April 9th and 10th, @ 7pm-9pm, when election poles are open. Might also be possible to do this during the day at on-campus eateries, or at least, do targeted advertising at lunch time, but would need more volunteers for that (possibly non-returning GSC members, or a couple hired people).
Suggestion to ask folks at gym to set up a computer so that people can vote there.
Suggestion to ask CAs if they’d be interested in organizing the social events for voting, but elections commission would chip in for that.
iii. General Advertisement Techniques
- Flyers in graduate eateries, graduate school buildings, graduate residences. Probably get GSC members to help distribute these, as we are, by definition, from a variety of schools.
- Grad Events (via GSC), sent out each Monday morning
- Grad Announce (via Graduate Life Office), send out monthly. See if Ken will send it out during voting time that month.
- Target student groups.
- Signs in Marguerite
iv. Proposed Graduate Elections Events Timeline
mid-March GSC candidate information session (pending)
before campaign week Candidate Handbook Statements due
Wed, April 2nd Campaign Week Begins, 12:01am
Thurs, April 3rd Meet the Candidates Pub Night, 7-9pm
Fri, April 4th Rock the Vote!, 5pm
Wed & Thur, April 9th & 10th Election poles open, Vote & Dine, 7-9pm
Took break for a programming update around 6:40, come back at 6:48, finished this discussion at 6:58. However, all notes are written in one piece above.
9) 6:40 Programming update (Adam S. and Justin)
Yay to to the two of them on a very successful grad formal! Had 1203 people in attendance, somewhat lower than the ticket office’s initial report. Cheeseballs were the band (80s and 90s cover). There was lots of fun space for dancing, got the floor shaking! Many thanks to Melahn, Fen and Euan for helping out with set-up and/or clean-up.
Among other expenses, went through 50 handles of alcohol in 45 minutes, and then had to leave to buy 50 more, 1 ambulance… Spent $48,429.26 total, GSC put in $16000, GSPB gave us $2000. Ticket sales netted $26,890. We think we’ll get venue deposit back (despite gross floor), and we’ll lose a couple of hundred for ticket office taking their percentage, and will probably end up about $3500 over budget, which is a big improvement over last year. Many of the tickets were sold at the $30+ rate, so it might be possible to raise prices next year, though there were about 500 tickets sold at $20 rate, which started getting the word out, which probably helped build it up to such a successful event. They think there should be a bigger budget for the formal next year, especially given how many people it reached, and the things that they had to cut back on this year to meet the budget, such as cleaning up with only three people, because hiring help would have cost an additional $1000.
At some point will vote to cover the rest of the cost, but will wait until they have a more exact figure.
At 6:48 back to elections. Notes above.
10) 6:58 ASSU Update (Mondaire) – not here
11) 6:59 Stipend update (Adam B.)
They have been talking to financial aid people, and talked to the VPGE today about their concerns for stipends. The Provost also has numbers in his hands. Nothing definite, but hoping for decent increase in stipends minimum.
The new Grad student guide has estimated costs for new graduate students. They’re saying 300 a month total for all personal things, and also have lower estimated transportation costs than might be the case, and even with that, come up with an estimated cost for a single student of $7289 per quarter total. If you take taxes into account (giving a stipend such that the after tax amount would be $7289 per quarter), then that would already be a decent stipend increase.
Adam surveyed about 20 people with some financial questions, which included GSC members, other Engineers, and some random people. He broke the data down into approximate quintiles, roughly reflected by Families, Couples, Engineers, Scientists, Humanities, and considered the three middle groups for his averages.
Based on the averages from Adam’s survey, University’s housing estimate is accurate, as is health insurance (not hard, given that the University provides those things), but transportation and travel/entertainment/other are higher than University thinks. Leaving off the extremes, respondents to the survey reported spending about $3050 average a month. Of that middle group, only 20% live off their stipend + grant + health insurance – taxes subsidy alone. Most others get an average of $1300 per month in other income, whether through loans or through work. 40% work outside jobs, including some substantial ones, based on incomes reported for those jobs. While the survey is small n, it’s consistent with what we were thinking anyway, based on ideas gathered from the larger scale survey last year, and is allowing us to see those trends at a more specific level. Reported worry level was 5.5/10 average, though this was very bimodal, with people tending to be very worried, or not worried, with fewer people in between. Many respondents reported having stipends that were already over the minimum stipend, and were still having a hard time, offering further evidence that those at minimum stipends are challenged.
International students in general probably have a harder time with finances, because it’s more difficult getting jobs outside the University, getting loans, and they may have spouses who are unable work to in this country.
There is some financial aid available for graduate students, though primarily related to emergencies, such as unexpected medical costs.
Adam B. would like to continue to work on this survey, getting some more respondents, and doing some refining of the questions. Will also do this again in the fall potentially.
There’s the question of how random the sample is for the survey so far, and that those who feel most motivated to get higher stipends (i.e. are having the hardest time) would be the most likely to fill out the survey, leading to a biased sample. Euan would like to see an event, and then force everyone there to fill out the survey, in order to get a random sample. However, given the sensitive nature of finances, and the fact that people might need to look at their financial records to fill out the survey accurately, this might not work so well.
Justin questions the high transportation costs, with the point that it’s a bit of a luxury to have a car. However, the fact remains that many students do have cars, and that it is part of their expenses. Adam’s survey brings transportation costs somewhat higher perhaps, because it adds an amount for car depreciation, which grad students probably don’t think about in a typical month, since it doesn’t affect their month expenses directly.
12) 7:20 Health Care Updates (Kristina)
Working on another survey, small-scale, being targeted at grad students with dependents, focusing on health care and finances. Also asking about family life issues (child care, events, etc). If you have ideas for questions, let Kristina know. Will go out to everyone, but targeting those with dependents. Follow-up to big survey before, with some things that we realized were missing. Looking to get the survey finished by the Easter Egg Roll (March 22nd), so that we can advertise there.
13) 7:23 New Business
i. Polina – Special Fees request actually needs to be $203,070.80 for Club Sports, $5000 increase since last week, $1000 more than vote earlier today. Club Sports forgot to include Tae Kwan Do in their line items.
10 for, 1 opposed, 1 abstaining. Passes
ii. GSC Retreat in South Lake, Tahoe, including eating, bowling, etc. Either weekend of March 6, or 13, including some variation of Thursday-Monday. Probably 3 days 2 nights. Melahn found a cabin that was finished in 2008, has 6 BR, sleeps 20, which costs $1300 to rent for the weekend, so if we can pick dates, he will look into whether that is still available.
We do usually have a spring retreat, though it’s often earlier in the quarter, but this will be a good chance to wrap up what we’ve done this year, as we prepare for the new GSC.
Melahn will send out an email as soon as the meeting adjourns, such that we can all check our calendars and get back to him about when works or doesn’t work, and then he will make plans.
iii. Melahn would like to be on GCC operations committee as well. Thought there were two spots on committee, there seems to be actually only one spot, though sometimes a second person would show up. Melahn uses the GCC a lot, would like the chance to have more direct communication with the administrators. Justin feels that the committee runs in a very particular style, feels it would not be conducive to that style to have Melahn attend. Melahn would like to receive the minutes from the meeting at least. Melahn would like to communicate desire to have more events in the GCC at that meeting, but Kristina doesn’t feel that’s the role of the meeting, which generally focuses on building use and maintenance, rather then activities. Instead, would recommend setting up a separate meeting with Ken or others instead, which could be more effective. Reminder that Justin goes to these meetings as a representative of the GSC, so we can bring concerns to him. The committee did approve putting up the requested stage lights.
Suggestion to table this discussion to next week’s agenda.
Meeting Adjourned 7:43