by Victoria Gray
Allison Sachs got involved with the UW Graduate Student Association to help advocate for students when they run into funding issues or problems with supervisors.
“Students do clash with their supervisors and there’s such a power differential between supervisors and grad students,” they said.
Sachs, the chair of the board of directors of the Graduate Student Association started out as a councillor for the physics department, but stepped up to chair the board a year ago because conflict management is one of their strong suits.
“A lot of people get involved with the GSA because they run into a problem and want to make sure it doesn’t happen to other people, so they come from a place of wanting to make change. I can take what might be anger and turn it into something productive,” Sachs said.
The board of directors shapes and guides the GSA by putting policies in place to define the organization, like putting limitations on what the president of the GSA can do, limiting income inequality within the organization, and making sure the president sets and meets their goals.
The board also ensures the organization has a clear vision for the future; that student fees are used properly and that the organization remains transparent and running in line with its mandate to advocate for grad students.
The board and council need volunteers and engagement from grad students to represent them effectively.
“We have a healthy organization,” Sachs said. “Grad students need to know what we offer. Without them we wouldn’t exist.”
The association also has part-time jobs for students.
For more information about the GSA’s board of directors, volunteering for council, or applying for a job visit https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-student-association/.