We hope your semester is off to a great start and we are here to support you! Last Friday, we had our first Senate meeting for the semester. The union for graduate employees at UMass Amherst (GEO) announced that Turkish grad students are requesting support raising funds to donate to disaster relief funds and there is an issues survey to prioritize issues for bargaining our next contract. GSS staff announced the international student taxation workshop and a successful spring transit program with IPO and ISA. The GSS officers announced two (2) events: ice skating and board game night. GSS President Pereira announced the hiring information. The senate voted to endorse a letter to District Attorney Sullivan. The Provost's office presented about a proposed switch from Moodle/Blackboard to Canvas , as well as restructuring University Without Walls to UMass Flex. Senator Prather presented a letter of solidarity from the faculty (encourage faculty to sign!).
Calls to Action
1. Support Victims of the Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Graduate students from Turkey have created a letter to raise awareness of the situation in Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes earlier this week. Please share their letter widely with your network, and if you’re able, consider sending a donation to the organizations listed in their letter.
2. Fill out the issues survey
Members of GEO have developed this short survey to guide us in fighting for issues and in our next contract bargaining. This survey is anonymous and you may choose to answer as many questions or as few as you want. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the survey or if you would like to fill it out with in-person assistance.
GSO Budget deadline extended!
If your GSO wants funding from GSS for Fall 2023 - Spring 2024, you need to fill out the FY24 Line Item Budget Applications on Campus Pulse! The application deadline has been extended to February 24th, 2023. Information for GSOs is on our website!
International Student Taxation Workshop Reminder
UMass has teamed up with Sprintax to host two webinars for international students, scholars, researchers, faculty, and staff who are nonresident aliens for U.S. tax purposes on Feb 23, 2023 12:00 PM and Mar 7, 2023 12:00 PM. You must REGISTER for these webinars in advance - registration information here.
Reminder to Update Your Emergency Contact Information
Having accurate and up-to-date emergency contact information on file with the university allows us to quickly and effectively communicate with someone who can assist you in an emergency situation. To update your emergency contact information in SPIRE, follow these simple steps:
1. Log in to your SPIRE account
2. Click on the "Profile" tab
3. Select "Emergency Contacts under Personal Information" from the menu
4. Enter the appropriate information for your emergency contact(s)
5. Click the "Save" button to update your information
Free Ice Skating Social! Skates Provided!
Family friendly, free, and open to all! Lace up your ice skates, or rent a pair at the rink, for indoor ice skating at the Mullins Center on Sunday, February 19th at 12:30 pm. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and snacks will be provided. Please bring your partners and families! This event is paid for by GSS. Please RSVP so we have enough snacks.
Save the Date: Spring Fling Board Game Night!
Board Game Night will be coming to graduate students across the university (or more accurately, graduate students across the university will be coming to the Board Game Night). This event will be a part of the GSS First Friday series of free social events meant to bring graduate students from across campus together and build a cross-departmental graduate student community.
So mark your calendar for March 3rd, 6-11pm, and come to 162 in the Campus Center basement to gorge yourselves on pizza and snacks provided by UMass catering, including vegetarian food.