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Announcements and Events

Grad Wide Social Events

The GSC understands that graduate school can be a stressful and sometimes lonely time for all students and their families.  Throughout the year, the GSC throws and supports social events for graduate students to help them feel connected to Stanford's incredible community of graduate students.  In the past few years, the number of events for graduate students has expanded, with the help of the Stanford Alumni Association.  Volunteers for events are always welcome, and these opportunities will be emailed out to the graduate community.  The following are a sample of the social events that the GSC throws and supports:
 
Welcome Back Party at Rains Hacienda Commons (Fall Quarter)
De-Stress Day at Various Locations (Winter Quarter)
Grad Formal at the Alumni Center (Spring Quarter)
4th of July Barbecue (Summer Quarter)
Speed Friending with the Alumni Association (Winter Quarter)
Valentine's Day Party with the Community Associate program (Winter Quarter)
 
Feel free to email the GSC Social Chair, Gabby Badica, at gbadica@stanford.edu with any and all event ideas or if you have any questions.

Recommendations of the GSC Working Group on the Mental Health and Wellness

One of the major goals for the 2018-2019 GSC was to advocate for improvements in graduate student mental healthcare access and wellness. Following up on our town hall meeting on mental health in the fall of 2018, the GSC formed a working group on graduate student mental health and wellness. This working group brought together GSC members and graduate students from across the University to investigate the causes of and possible solutions to the graduate student mental health crisis. These efforts resulted in the Recommendations of the GSC Working Group on Mental Health and Wellness can be read here. In brief, the working group makes the following recommendations to the University:

1. To address the root causes of poor mental health and wellness by improving the academic environment at Stanford: 

The relationship between graduate students and their advisers is a major source of stress and poor mental health. We therefore ask Stanford to implement institution-wide training for advisers in managerial and mentorship skills. This training would teach advisers the skills to successfully manage and mentor graduate students from diverse backgrounds, and train advisers to recognize and address signs of poor mental health in their trainees.

Additionally, Stanford currently lacks any institution-wide policies that guarantee graduate students time off.  Because of this, many graduate students take very little time off and endure excessive workloads that may be damaging to their mental wellbeing. Therefore, we ask Stanford to develop University-wide policies guaranteeing graduate students four weeks of vacation per year, in addition to sick days and University holidays.

2. To expand mental healthcare access for graduate students:

While institutional changes to address the underlying structural issues of academia are the ultimate solution to the graduate mental health crisis, Stanford must meanwhile strive to increase mental healthcare access for graduate students. We are very cheered by the recent report from Susie Brubaker-Cole, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, which details several new initiatives to expand services at Stanford's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). These changes are strongly aligned with the recommendations of the working group, which include:

Hiring additional CAPS providers of diverse backgrounds,
Extending CAPS hours and availability for long-term care,
Streamlining and improving the process by which students are referred to off-campus providers, until such a time that CAPS can accommodate most students on-campus

We have also asked the University to provide subsidies to cover the cost of co-pays and travel for students receiving care from off-campus providers.

3. To increase funding for mental health services outside of CAPS:

Current peer counseling programs do not effectively address the needs of graduate students. We therefore ask that Stanford commit to creating a peer counseling support program within graduate housing, similar to the Peer Health Educator Program (PHEs) currently operating in undergraduate housing. We envision that, like the PHEs, graduate student peer mentors will be paid and extensively trained in providing one-on-one counseling and guiding students to on-campus or off-campus mental health resources.

We welcome you to read and share the full report widely with your peers, professors, and leadership in your department and school! We also welcome further feedback about the report, which can be submitted by emailing the GSC Chairs at gsc-chair@assu.stanford.edu.

Resources and Information Sessions

The GSC hosts information sessions and resources to help graduate students navigate difficult issues while they are at Stanford.  These information sessions help students connect with resources and speak with experts.  An example of meetings that have been hosted in the past include "How to Find Off-Campus Housing" and "Help with Filing Taxes".  If you feel that there needs to be more/additional information sessions, don't hesitate to reach out to the GSC chairs at gsc-chair@assu.stanford.edu.