Yisu Zheng / Sun Staff Photographer

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly reinstated an ad hoc committee on Monday to address the goals of the Graduate and Professional Community Initiative.

September 10, 2018

GPSA Reinstates Ad Hoc Committee on Five-Year Community Initiative, Introduces Internal Budget

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The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is planning a revision of the Graduate and Professional Community Initiative, a five-year plan to tackle graduate and professional issues, taking a step toward that end at Monday’s meeting by reinstating an ad hoc committee tasked with brainstorming the priorities of the new initiative.

The GPCI is “a vision and a strategic plan presented to the University and the broader Ithaca community … as a way to identify and address critical issues in graduate and professional student life at Cornell University,” according to the most recent GPCI document, produced in 2013.

Several recent improvements and initiatives, including the $1.2 million renovation of the Big Red Barn, the Maplewood housing project and the creation of the English Language Support Office to provide language support to international graduate and professional students, have been undertaken with the GPCI as a basis, according to webpage on the initiative.

Ekarina Winarto grad, GPSA president, told The Sun at the last GPSA meeting on Aug. 27 that while the GPCI is “really hard work” where “the payoff is not immediate,” it has had an impact in the long term.

“It’s really one of the most impactful ways that we have actually made a difference in, you know, University policies,” Winarto said, calling the document a “top priority.”

The newly-reinstated GPCI Ad Hoc Committee “will review the current GPCI and plan for the upcoming re-do of the GPCI,” according to the committee’s webpage.

A similar committee, the Ad Hoc Committee to Assess the Progress On and Update the Recommendations of the Graduate Community Initiative, was created in August 2012, according to the 2013 GPCI. This committee helped create the document in 2013 and then was subsequently disbanded, as its sole purpose was to draft the 2013 GPCI. The Assembly’s decision today to move forward in the planning process for a new GPCI prompted the revival of the committee.

Also at the Monday meeting, Cassandra Stambuk grad, chair of the GPSA Appropriations Committee, introduced a resolution approving the assembly’s 2018-19 internal budget.

The resolution details GPSA funding for Anabel’s Grocery, noting that the Appropriations Committee plans to meet with leaders of the store and decide by the end of the semester whether to continue monetary contributions to the store.

The assembly has so far provided Anabel’s with a total of $40,000 as part of a decision made in 2015 by GPSA that the assembly would “financially support” the store by giving an annual contribution of $20,000 for up to four years, according to the resolution.

Stambuk told The Sun that in relation to any changes between this year’s internal budget and last year’s, “nothing is … major.” The projected 2018-19 budget would see the assembly spend a total of $37,150, with the largest expense of $20,000 going to Anabel’s if GPSA continues to support the store.

The budgeting process, however, was not without its surprises.

According to Stambuk, Gina Giambattista, director of the Office of the Assemblies, discovered an additional assembly account, the GPSA Reserve Account, which contained $3,000.

“It was made in 2012 and then never touched,” Stambuk told The Sun. “So, yeah, we kind of like just found money.”

Stambuk noted that the assembly’s rollover funds, totaling over $27,000, have be placed in the Reserve Account along with the extra $3,000.