Greg Callaghan, the next president of Graduate and Professional Students Assembly, will focus on restructuring GAPSA in response to the organization's growth.
By restructuring GAPSA, Callaghan, a sixth-year ancient history Ph.D. candidate, hopes to improve communication in response to the organization's expansion in recent years. GAPSA serves more than the 10,890 graduate students at Penn, according to Penn's website. In the last three years, GAPSA has added three executive board positions, and last year, GAPSA established a standing subcommittee on a sexual harassment reform.
Callaghan has been involved in student government for the past five years. He was elected president in April after being the president of SASgov, GAPSA general assembly representative and finance deputy, SASgov Vice President for Financial Operations, and GAPSA Research Council chair.
"We [now] manage a lot more events, funds, and policies than we really ever have," Callaghan said. "The problem is, as we’ve grown we haven’t really evaluated how we operate."
The structural changes aim to fix problems hindering communication and collaboration among the different branches of GAPSA, he said. Increased communication between the branches of GAPSA will also solve various issues, such as two branches working on similar projects at the same time.
GAPSA's executive board has 14 members from 12 different schools who are at different stages in their graduate programs, so collaboration among the members of the board is difficult, he said.
Callaghan said a major role of the GAPSA president is to help other members of the organization.
"It’s not just about whatever my policy initiatives are," he said. "It’s about me providing an environment and atmosphere where everyone else can accomplish their policy initiatives.”
Fourth-year nursing student Matthew Lee will serve as GAPSA's vice president this year. Lee was previously Student Life chair at GAPSA. In his tenure, Lee helped compile graduate mental health survey results and launch the peer support group Penn Franklins.
In January 2019, Callaghan, Lee, and the GAPSA Research Council helped develop an online feedback form in conjunction with the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, where students in graduate groups that are being reviewed can submit their feedback anonymously.
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