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Graduate School Council plans orientation activities

The Graduate Student Council and student group members gathered Wednesday evening at the council’s first meeting of fall quarter to discuss community-building measures and budget-oriented considerations.

Andy Hernandez, assistant dean of the Graduate Life Office (GLO), started the evening off by reminding officers of the opportunities and resources available to students and their families. In response to the 300 families and some 400 children currently living in Escondido Village, the GLO is working to provide family-friendly programming for young families, especially international families coming to the United States for the first time. Weekend activities for kids as well as a pumpkin carving slated for Oct. 23 were among the ideas the GLO has planned for the upcoming academic year, and Hernandez promised these events would have something for everyone.

“For those of you who don’t have kids, it’s a great opportunity for you to see kids and see if you want them,” Hernandez said. The council approved GLO’s request for $2,000 in funding.

Opinions flared briefly when the question of whether or not to fund a measure presented by the Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS) arose. The group was hoping to offer a workshop focusing primarily on the logistics of applying for the Dare Fellowship, a prestigious scholarship awarded to some 12 Ph.D. students every year. An annual event, the workshop raised eyebrows among the council members who felt the minority student group’s role as host of the event presented a conflict of interest.

“It is an exclusive fellowship,” said Justin Brown, council co-chair and graduate student in geophysics. The group explored the many angles of such funding and its possible sources, and ultimately came to a consensus that funding for all the items requested by BioAIMS would be honored except for the workshop.

The council ended the meeting on a somber note as members discussed the issue of bike safety. Aside from encouraging those present to wear bike helmets and use bike lights, the group also brainstormed ideas for increasing awareness and respect for the road and its riders. One member even suggested that athletes should be required to wear protective headgear while riding their bikes to foster a sense of cultural conversation and a feeling of “cool.”

The council meets next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Graduate Community Center.

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