Dear graduate community,
We are excited to share with you a new step forward for graduate student advocacy at WashU.
GPAC was founded in 2018 out of the need to bring awareness to graduate and professional student needs, especially around issues of equity and inclusion. In response, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) included graduate students in their mission and became a partner for our work. Since then, we have advocated for more representation in decision-making rooms on both campuses.
We continued our education by hosting events such as the Science in a Diverse Society speaker series, in which we dissected topics such as the school-to-prison pipeline and the genetic myths of race. During this past summer’s uprisings, we responded to community needs by hosting “white Allyship and beyond”, a workshop specifically designed for white members of the Washington University community. We gathered and built coalitions across the seven schools, departments, and degree programs. Last year, it was our initial gathering of graduate leaders that mobilized our collective graduate and professional student community around the lack of COVID testing for our community.
Our efforts have always been driven by YOU, our fellow students. Now, the work continues through the CDI’s Advisory Council.
Who is on the Council?
Any graduate & professional student is eligible to apply to be on the council. We are happy to report that two of our GPAC voting reps, Shafiq and Mia, will continue their work on the CDI’s council, allowing for continuation of GPAC’s work. For any questions about the council, feel free to reach out to Shafiq (email@example.com) or Mia (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly.
What does the Council do?
Advisory council members have been given three individual charges. First, they will be asked to provide feedback on programs, policy, and training that the CDI offers annually. Second, they will offer space for new ideas and approaches to student DEI Initiatives. Finally, members will be a sounding board for university response to critical incidents. This group has already been helpful in the redevelopment work that the office is undertaking with the Bias Report and Support System (BRSS).
What happens next?
GPAC was transformed into the CDI Advisory Council and will cease to operate independently. Graduate advocacy across all schools and departments continues. Thus, our advocacy efforts are still driven by our community and are now additionally supported by CDI staff through its advising of the CDI Advisory Council
How can I get involved?
Any inquiries about the Advisory Council can be sent to us through e-mail at DiversityAndInclusion@wustl.edu. A new website for the Advisory Council will soon be on the CDI main web page, which can be found on students.wustl.edu/center-diversity-inclusion/
We would like to thank the GPAC community for your input, advocacy, and joining us in increasing the focus on the needs of the graduate community. Our collective efforts were awarded with two leadership awards for Inclusive and Equitable Community Building and Cross-Cultural Competency and Communication. We won’t rest on the laurels and the work continues. Join us!
GPAC & CDI Leadership