Creation of a campus graduate student center, the Graduate Student Commons, is an idea long in coming to fruition. With very little interaction between graduate students in different Departments, a Graduate Commons facility will provide a place for meetings, quiet study and informal gatherings, to bring all graduate students together in a sense of community. Graduate Student Commons (GSC) was completed in 2001, and was constructed in conjunction with the Baytree Bookstore building (located adjacent to the current Baytree Bookstore). Some preliminary work on building governance policies was done early in the process by the Grad Commons Programming Committee, loosely adopting the governance board model, with the Student Center Governance board as an illustrative example.
Mission of Graduate Student Commons
Our goal for this facility is to provide a comfortable and welcoming space that will attract a wide spectrum of graduate students and foster graduate student interaction and a sense of community. To that end, the Graduate Student Commons Governance Board utilizes the Graduate Student Commons and rental income to promote graduate student academic well-being, success, and camaraderie. The GSC offers a variety of spaces, including small study rooms, computer terminals, and a lounge for social interaction. Our aim is to make it a resource for graduate students to stop between classes where they may check email, hold office hours, attend or hold a meeting, or join a homework study group, for example.
The operating budget allows for full-time manager of the building, and several student employees for information and responsibility for the building and equipment during open hours. Beyond these positions for day-to-day operation, the facility requires oversight in matters of general policy and budget, which will be administered via a governing committee (Graduate Student Commons Governance Board, or GSCGB, hereafter). The GSCGB membership has a majority of graduate students, as well as representatives from the broader campus community. The responsibilities of the GSCGB will be to manage the budget, deal with general usage policies, and to be the liaison body for the vendor restaurant contract. General usage policies include long-term usage such as vendor space usage and study space allocation, short-term usage for special events, and normal, daily usage. More specific day-to-day operations (such as building upkeep and maintenance, distribution of building access codes, and scheduling of special events) will be under the purview of the facility manager. The yearly membership of the GSCGB will be under the charge of the Graduate Division. Administrative oversight and facility maintenance will be affiliated through the Graduate Division, who will also administer the restaurant contract.