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GPSA funds student social

The GPSA Council allocated $600 for an upcoming graduate social and discussed the status of its funds during a Saturday meeting in Zimmerman Library.

UNM Provost Brian Foster was a guest speaker at the meeting and encouraged graduate student representatives to ask questions about University issues.

Laura Boykin, a Graduate and Professional Student Association council member, told Foster that many undergraduate students are not academically prepared for college. Boykin teaches an introduction to biology laboratory at UNM and said that she spends a lot of her time teaching students how to write basic sentences.

"It's so frustrating," she said. "It's more work for the TAs."

Foster said a substantial number of students with low academic profiles have succeeded because UNM gave them a chance.

"We're a public institution, and we're committed to providing access to quality education to as many people as we can figure how to do it for," he said after the discussion.

Foster said UNM wants to provide an education to people from all backgrounds while making sure it does not set unprepared students up for failure.

During the same meeting, the Council allocated $600 from its discretionary funds to the Student Bar Association so it could throw a graduate social from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Sunshine Theatre on March 31.

Mary Theresa Avila, a GPSA member from the Art and Art History Department, said she thought the party was a good way to bring graduate students from different departments together.

"Someone could argue that we don't really have the time and the money to do this," she said. "But I do see it as a unifying tool for the campus."

Dathan Weems, a representative from the Student Bar Association, said the working title of the party is "Fools' Fest." He said the association will charge $5 at the door and the party will feature kegs of beer. Weems does not have a plan for keeping the party closed to graduate students, although he said the group might create one for checking Lobo identification cards.

GPSA President Brian Col¢n told the Council that attendance at mandatory budget workshops for student groups is up 25 percent this year. Organizations must attend a workshop and turn in funding request forms to receive a Council allocation. GPSA funds student organizations with graduate student fees that the University collects.

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The Student Resource Allocation Committee has received 84 applications, Col¢n said, and about $25,000 is now available. The Student Research Allocations Committee funds research and travel related to a student's degree and will send letters within the next few weeks to notify those who received awards.

GPSA Council Chairman Hector Balderas said a committee is now working on allocating $100,000 the Legislature gave last year to help UNM graduate students pay for research projects.

He said all graduate students who want to give input on how to allocate the money in the Graduate Research Development Fund and brainstorm ways of getting more funding are welcome to attend the committee's next meeting, March 23 at 10 a.m. in the GPSA offices, which are in the basement of the former bookstore.

GPSA is sponsoring a forum on graduate student financial aid issues on March 22 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Waters Conference Room at Zimmerman Library. Fianancial Aid Director Ron Martinez and other staff members will answer students' questions.


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