The Graduate Students of Color Association (GSCA) kick-off mixer was, again, a smashing success. The organization’s biggest event of the year boasted an attendance of nearly 60 graduate students—both new and old. In addition to the food and drink, officers handed out GSCA swag and the Deans of the Graduate School and Inclusion and Engagement, Dr. Barbara Krauthamer and Dr. Funmi Ayobami, talked about the importance of “self-care” and the availability of various resources for support on campus.
President Subhalakshmi Gooptu reports that the event importantly helps new students “learn about resources in the UMass system” and helps new and returning students “build mentorship relationships across schools and departments.”
According to its constitution, GSCA formed in 2012 “in response to a call for a greater sense of community amongst graduate students of color at UMass Amherst.” “Just having a space where people look like you is important,” Gooptu says. At a predominately white institution like UMass, finding spaces where minority students can be around others who relate to their experiences and/or face similar challenges can be difficult. GSCA is one space for doing so, and the Graduate School’s support is paramount.