The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) presented a defined direction for its future to more than 100 graduate students at its annual general meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The Board of Directors of the GSA introduced three projects that occurred over the summer: a new logo designed by a university graduate student, the association’s first-ever annual report, and the newly revised mission, vision, commitments, and values for the three-year strategic plan.
A logo design competition, open to the entire university community, brought in 61 entries, which were narrowed down to five designs by a panel of judges. The panel consisted of communications professionals from the university campus, chosen by Andrew Smith, the GSA’s communications and marketing manager. The graduate student population then voted on the five designs.
Winning logo symbolizes connection between grad students and campus
The winning design, a minimalist image of the association’s acronym and a capitalized sans serif font, was created by Hilda Leon, a university graduate student and two of her friends, Carlos Ramirez and Vicky Hernandez. The group was awarded $1,000 for winning the contest.
“This logo incorporates bright and vibrant colours that represent the current graduate students of the University of Calgary,” says Leon and Ramirez in the written explanation of their design. “The letters overlap to symbolize the connection between the association with the graduate student and the campus community.”
Along with the change of logo, the GSA also introduced their annual report for the 2014-15 year. This is the first time the GSA compiled a formal report of activities and financials. The report can be found on the GSA website.
The report highlights some of the major accomplishments of the GSA including the hiring of a new executive director, the funding of several student-led Quality Money projects, and the transition of the graduate health and dental plan provider to StudentCare.
“It is important to show all the things that we do for graduate students and this annual report is a great way for us to do that,” says Mike Webster, president of the GSA.
Association develops statements related to three-year strategic plan
Another direction-setting project presented at the annual general meeting was the vision, mission, commitment, and value statements of the GSA in relation to its three-year strategic plan, titled Peer Beyond.
The GSA’s revised mission is to “provide a strong foundation for our members and community by offering valued services and programs that support and empower graduate students during and after their academic endeavours. We create an environment built on fiscal sustainability, social engagement, and effective representation.”
Webster says, “these statements will have an impact on our future and help guide us to making smart decisions for our members.”
The GSA represents more than 6,000 University of Calgary graduate students and provides resources such as free career counselling, a mentorship program, awards and grants, and social events.