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wordmark-gradstudies640A team of graduate students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh are working to create a Graduate Student Association (GSA).

The organization is still in the works and nothing is set in stone, but the group’s acting president, Jason Herman, said a board of students is actively working to get the group off the ground for the fall 2013 semester.

The goal of the GSA is to guide new graduate students through campus and services based on their needs and to create a sense of community among students in graduate programs at UW Oshkosh. There are more than 30 programs offered by Graduate Studies at UW Oshkosh.

“Our overall goal is to help with that graduate transition process,” Herman said.

While some of UW Oshkosh’s graduate students also attended the University for their undergraduate degree, there are still some who are new to campus. Herman said the organization could be beneficial to both groups, orienting new students to the campus and informing both groups of students to the resources available to them as they pursue their graduate education.

Herman will be graduating in May 2013, at which time student Sudipto Sarkar will be filling the position of president for the organization.

The GSA is hoping to receive recognition from the Oshkosh Student Association in the near future. The Oshkosh Student Association allocates budgets to the University’s student organizations and has acted as the voice of the student body since 1959.

Graduate studies administration is supportive of the GSA initiative. Greg Wypiszynski, director of graduate services, said the organization “will be a major achievement for our graduate students when they are recognized with an official student organization status.” Wypiszynski gives credit to the student organizers as well as Marci Hoffman, student services coordinator in the Graduate Studies office, who has been appointed as the GSA adviser.

“Creating a new grass-roots organization can be difficult, particularly in the first year,” Hoffman said. “They’re a great group of students and our University should be proud of this accomplishment.”

Hoffman said the original idea for GSA began in the mid-’90s with another group of graduate students. She said that because graduate students typically spend two to three years in the program and are often busy with their professional careers or families, creating an organization proved to be difficult.

“A comprehensive graduate student organization is very rare,” she said. “Most are specific to a graduate discipline, and we’ll be one of the few UW System campuses that will have a GSA that supports all graduate students.”

The organization’s first recruitment event is planned for May 9 at 4 p.m. in Dempsey 311. Questions can be emailed to either Jason Herman or Marci Hoffman.

Herman said the group is still looking for individuals to get involved and that it is an opportunity for graduate students to “be that change and be that person who helps others.”

“This is an avenue to reach out to others… a way to kind of work a niche for graduate studies at UW Oshkosh,” Herman said.

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