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Graduate and professional student leaders kicked off this semester's activities with a graduate welcome reception last night outside Houston Hall and said graduate government will continue on the same trail forged last year. "Last year many more graduate students mobilized around issues of concern to them," Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Chairperson Susan Garfinkel said before the meeting. "This year, we would like to work with that momentum and build institutional structures to keep that going so that [the participation] is not dependent on an individual student leader." Garfinkel also said that although her personal leadership style will differ from that of last year's leaders, the organization will continue to work on issues such as increasing stipends and improving graduate counseling services. Amid the garrulous graduate crowd at the reception, Graduate Students Association Council President Michael Polgar also addressed the issue of professional counseling for graduates. "Last year we had problems with student suicides," Polgar said. "We would like to provide better and more accessible counseling." Emphasizing other quality of life issues, Polgar urged graduates to complete an upcoming survey which will examine student life and economic status. Garfinkel said GAPSA will press for equal services for all students, regardless of what school they attend. At the reception, Garfinkel urged the attending 350 students to participate in upcoming events and to challenge the University administration about its policies, especially about the harassment and open expression codes. She also encouraged the attending students to consider a newly available health plan that was created as a less expensive alternative to the package the University presently offers students. Provost Michael Aiken welcomed the students and on behalf of President Sheldon Hackney said that the administration wants to work with GASPA to better integrate graduate and professional students into the University community.

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