Students at the LBJ School have a lot to say about their program. From student body diversity to curriculum structure to kitchen supplies, many students have an opinion on how the school currently conducts itself and how it should conduct itself going forward. This week, students have the opportunity to take action and elect individuals who will represent the student body’s interests on the Graduate Public Affairs Council (GPAC) during the next school year. GPAC is the students’ official student government body at the LBJ School.
Elections will be open through Friday at 5 pm. Students will find the link to vote in an email GPAC sent out Wednesday.
Check out Baines’ coverage of the candidates’ speeches regarding their platforms at the last GPAC General Assembly meeting below.
GPAC VICE PRESIDENT
NKECHI CHARLES touched on three main objectives she plans to pursue if elected GPAC vice president:
- Diversity. Working with key stakeholders to pursue the school’s goal of increased diversity.
- First-Year Student Transition Support. Coordinating workshops to help first-year students think strategically about their classes and career goals.
- Feedback. Encouraging students to take their opinions and concerns to GPAC.
ROGER GONZALEZ said that he believes GPAC needs to be a more visible, approachable and diverse organization. He thinks that GPAC should work to increase participation in student activities and that how GPAC conducts itself is a large part of reaching that goal. Roger also stressed his personal approachability as a key strength in reaching out to his colleagues at the LBJ School.
The vice presidential candidates also answered several questions regarding their candidacies.
OUTREACH AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
MIRANDA HOFF said she plans to focus on creating career opportunity for students and tapping into the alumni base and identified three main goals:
- Interview Preparation. Creating opportunities for students to practice interviewing.
- Diversifying Career Opportunities. Determining students’ needs and leveraging the alumni network to help meet those needs.
- Career Mentorship. Connecting first-year students with their second-year peers to discuss internships and job opportunities.
ANDREW SCHWARTZ said that as OPD director, he would like to build upon the current committee’s work with brown bags and other OPD events. Andrew also discussed two main areas he would like to focus on as director:
- Recruitment. Schwartz believes GPAC can help market our school to prospective students here on the University of Texas’ campus and at current students’ alma maters.
- Alumni Outreach. He also said he would like to focus on fostering a stronger relationship between current students and alumni.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH DIRECTOR
JASMINE AYRES was unable to make the GPAC meeting because she was at work, but she had GPAC President Will Payne read her platform in which she discussed connecting students’ classroom learning to real action in the Austin community. She also described community service as an ongoing endeavor, rather than a series of individual events.
ELIZA BRENNAN said she wants to continue the current Community Outreach Committee’s work while also emphasizing long-term, ongoing service opportunities rather than just isolated events. She also said she would like to reach out to Austin’s more marginalized communities.
DANIEL ROBLES discussed four main areas he wants to focus on as GPAC president:
- Core Course Requirements. Starting a discussion around the core course requirements, such as what level of flexibility is desirable in both the Master of Public Affairs and Global Policy Studies programs.
- Policy Research Projects (PRP). Examining ways to adapt the PRP to the needs of current students.
- Diversity. Working to increase diversity at the LBJ School.
- Engaging Students. Increasing attendance at student activities.
PETER MOORE was unable to attend the GPAC meeting, but his platform notes that he hopes to support GPAC’s role in holding events and activities for students.
NOAH WRIGHT pulled his candidacy in order to allow Peter to run uncontested for finance director.
STUDENT LIFE DIRECTOR
DANIELLE “COACH” BARTZ said that, as a current Student Life Committee member, she plans to take the committee from where it leaves off this year and build off its successes. She stressed that she intends to focus on providing events that will draw a large attendance and also hopes to find new ways of communicating with the student body in an effort to limit listserv use.
GPAC elections will be open until Friday at 5:00 pm. Students will find the link to vote in an email GPAC sent out Wednesday.