GPSG executives remain in position, strive to make group more present on campus

Graduate and Professional Student Government president and vice president will each serve a second term in their roles and hope to expand upon their work last year.


Jenna Galligan

GPSG Vice President Thomas Pak and President Dexter Golinghorst sit for an interview at Java House on Monday, August 19, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

As the campus community welcomes fresh faces this week, a familiar pair will continue to lead the Graduate and Professional Student Government into the new year. 

Public-health graduate student Dexter Golinghorst and neuroscience graduate student Thomas Pak will retain their roles as president and vice president of GPSG, respectively.

Because the two have already spent a year in their roles, they hope the knowledge of their positions will allow them to focus on assisting their fellow executives, strengthening their relationships with other groups on campus, and making GPSG more present at the University of Iowa. 

They hope to continue working to create an initiative to provide peer mentors to graduate students, Golinghorst said. The program will also allow interested undergraduate students to learn more about the graduate and professional programs the UI offers, he said. 

Alongside the emphasis on peer mentorship, Pak hopes to continue to increase interaction between the UI graduate and professional programs through networking events, he said. 

The College of Public Health will join GPSG as a member government this year, so Golinghorst, Pak, and their other executives will work to integrate the two groups, Golinghorst said. 

GPSG members to begin highlighting their work through progress reports, Pak said. He is also working on documenting the organization’s history. 

The two hope to continue communicating with the state Board of Regents on creating ways to make graduate- and professional-student tuition increases more predictable. 

“There’s people on campus who know about certain committee topics more than I do or Thomas does,” Golinghorst said. “It was really important to me to have it reset as to make sure that the people that are best for different positions are in those positions and also making them feel empowered to do the work that they wanted to do.” 

GPSG adviser Bill Nelson, GPSG adviser and IMU executive director, said he hopes to see GPSG continue to establish itself on campus and expand on relationships with the College of Public Health, he said. He also hopes to see the group members resolve any funding issues that come before them. 

“They have a really important understanding of shared governance,” Nelson said. “They were really able to get a handle on that in year one, so they can have a jump start on their second year now.” 

Having two executives returning to their positions allows them to skip the learning process for their roles, Nelson said. They also have previously established relationships with the UI administration, Faculty Senate, and Faculty Council, and bring a greater understanding of policies, he said. 

While GPSG members work on making their presence on campus known, Pak said they feel that their voices will be heard.

“A lot of the time I feel that we don’t really think that we have much of a voice, but I believe that at the University of Iowa, one of our greatest strengths is the diversity of our graduate and professional student program,” Pak said. “There’s a lot of power in having our voices unified.”

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