CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Graduate Students Office has funded nine proposals designed to enhance graduate student life at MIT outside the classroom and laboratory.
The proposals touched on many aspects of graduate life, including outreach to graduate constituencies, integrating academic and social activities, enhancing facilities and community building.
The process began last June when Dean for Graduate Students Isaac M. Colbert requested proposals for projects that would enhance the quality of life for graduate students. He appointed a panel of students and staff to review the proposals and make recommendations to him for funding. Twenty-eight proposals were submitted by students and staff.
The nine proposals received a total of $40,000 from student fees. Colbert said a request for a second round of proposals would be issued in November.
In awarding the grants at a reception on Sept. 12, Colbert said, "What was learned out of this process of evaluation sharpened our understanding of what might have real positive impact on improving the graduate experience." Also attending the reception were Chancellor Phillip Clay and Dean for Student Life Larry Benedict, who were recognized for the key roles they play in promoting student life.
The proposals are as follows.
David Collins of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) received funding for a broad effort to redesign the GSC's web site as a portal to Institute services for graduate students, and to improve communication with the graduate student body, especially those who live off campus and for whom the web site may be the most efficient way to exchange information and gather opinions.
David Freilach, administrative officer at the List Visual Arts Center, proposed a private reception for graduate students to view the student art collection. Held on Sept. 13, this event attracted more than 200 students.
Representing the MIT Muslim Students Association, Jessica Zaman, a sophomore in chemical engineering, plans to host four or five dinners, building on the successful "Ramadan@MIT," to which members of the MIT community will be invited.
Bhuwan Singh, a resident of Ashdown House, submitted plans for improving the first-year experience at the residence hall--a proposal for a dinner for all first-year graduate students at which hosts would encourage future participation in other social and cultural activities. Singh also received funding for benches in Ashdown's courtyard.
Brian Canavan, education administrator in the Department of Physics, plans to sponsor a "Physics Pride Campaign" for creating a vibrant and healthy physics community even though students and faculty are dispersed across campus.
Manish Jethwa of the GSC proposed that MIT create a conference-style venue where graduate students and undergraduates could showcase their research to the rest of the community. Seed funding was awarded for proof of concept for the Research Expo.
LaRuth McAfee, a graduate student in chemical engineering, recommended fostering collaborations among student groups as they plan group events. She is working on a mechanism for evaluating future requests for collaborative sponsorship.
Megan Hepler, a graduate student in nuclear engineering and former chair of the GSC Housing and Community Affairs Committee, received a grant to develop a system for addressing quality-of-life issues for students who live off campus, beginning with those in MIT-owned residences.