and Copies Offered at GSO
by Tavonna Goodman
|Left to right: Atussa
Hatami, Gurinder Singh, Gottlieb Jicha III,
and Florencia Cornet
UAlbany’s Graduate Student Organization
(GSO) instituted many changes this spring semester.
The GSO is offering increased opportunities
for recognition and involvement to students, staff,
“I want to raise awareness about
the programs that are being initiated because,
with involvement from the incoming graduate students,
they have great potential to blossom,” said Florencia
Cornet, chair of the GSO Multicultural and Affirmative
Action committee (MCAA), and senator to the graduate
The MCAA seeks to educate people
about cultures different from their own by hosting
events that welcome people from all ethnicities
and backgrounds. The MCAA is also committed to
the elimination of discrimination based on age,
race, color, different abilities, religion or
creed, gender, sexual orientation, or national
May 1-2, the MCAA organized the
first annual Graduate Student Recognition Ceremony.
Eight graduate students researching topics related
to cultural diversity were honored. Each student
gave a synopsis of his or her research and was
then presented with a certificate of recognition
from the MCAA.
“This event provided an excellent
opportunity for students to get together and share
their research in a friendly environment,” said
Thely Lopez, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department
of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, who presented
her research on Brazilian transnational identities.
“Many universities already have
a graduate student recognition ceremony in place.
It is important that the University at Albany
recognizes the excellent work that is being done
by our graduate students,” said Cornet.
The MCAA also has a human relations
and social justice team.
“Next year the team hopes to go
out into the community and deal with people of
low socio-economic status, addressing issues of
race, class, and gender,” said Cornet.
The GSO also wants to strengthen
the honor of receiving an award from the organization.
In January 2004, GSO Grants Chair Derek Asoh enforced
stricter guidelines for IRB approval requirements,
making the awards more competitive and prestigious.
Aside from the changes taking place
within the GSO committees and administration,
the managers of the GSO office have also tried
to increase the resources available to students.
“We try to be attentive and helpful
to students in the office and via e-mail whenever
we can,” said Maria Diaz Montejo, GSO office manager.
Graduate students who visit the
GSO office, located at CC 165B, will notice a
cozier atmosphere. The chairs have been arranged
around a coffee table and pictures have been hung
on the once uninviting walls. During office hours
(Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) students
can place local calls for free. Students also
have free access to the fax machine, refrigerator,
and coffee machine. GSO President Daniel Farr
has implemented a copying system, granting free
Xeroxing accessibility of up to 125 pages per
“All graduate students pay the graduate
fee, which is included in tuition. They pay the
fee. However, many of them are unaware of the
services they are entitled to,” said GSO Assembly
Speaker Sophia Browne.
During the April 29-30 GSO elections,
graduate students voted to increase the student
activity fee, which funds the programs and services
offered by the GSO. The fee was increased from
$15 to $20 for full-time students and from $2.15
to $10 for part-time students. There are no definite
plans for how the extra money will be allocated
as of yet.
“After conducting several investigations,
it was found that even after the increase, UAlbany
still maintains the lowest graduate student fee
among the SUNY research universities,” said Gottlieb
Jicha, GSO office manager.
“I am very proud of the organization
and where we are heading. The GSO has done many
things to enhance the experience for graduate
students at the University at Albany. Faculty
and staff could help by informing their graduate
students of the resources available to them,”
For information about the GSO, visit the GSO